Over the years I’ve hosted cookie swaps, dinner parties, cocktail parties, and holiday brunches. I enjoy hosting and I like to take the creativity and methodical ways of Martha Stewart, some recipes and the joie de vivre of Ina Garten, design and style from the world around me, my mother’s clever approach of making nothing too complicated and everything tasty, and tips, recipes and hints from all the fabulous blogs out there (DomestiKatedLife, A Thought for Food, The Garum Factory, We are not Martha, Style Me Pretty, Design Love Fest, Baked Bree, A Beautiful Bite, A Beautiful Mess, The Kitchn, and Eat Boutique -just to name a few.)
I enjoy it because I don’t take it too seriously. If I don’t have time to make one of the dishes there is always plenty of other food, so I don’t stress it. I useIf my house isn’t pristine, it’s not ideal, but spending quality time with friends and family trumps a pile of papers and magazines on my desk…ok, ok, in every room. Gatherings are about the people first, the food and drink next. As for my image or keeping up with the Joneses, I don’t have time or energy for that.
There is one little thing that does stress me out, whether I’m hosting, going out to dinner, or gathering at a friend’s house for brunch: figuring out what to wear. Even if I have the right outfit, I often won’t have the right shoes. I can think about cocktails and canapés from sunrise to sunset, but ask me to think about my wardrobe and I kind of freeze up.
One of these days I’ll have my own internal stylist voice, but for now I have to rely on others. Here are a few tips from ShoeBuy style expert Courtney Barry on how to look your best when hosting OR attending a holiday gathering!
Keep it simple! But simple doesn’t have to be boring – pair a solid colored dress with sparkly wedges or a bold patterned dress with metallic flats to feel collected, yet festive. A longer dress is more fitting for hosting, just in case you have to bend down to the oven or perch on the arm of a couch.
Be specific! Make sure to let your guests know what the dress code is ahead of time. This will avoid anyone feeling over or under-dressed (including you!) and will help to set the mood of the event in advance. Specify if you’re planning to get formal or keep it casual.
Keep it comfortable! You don’t want to be pulling at your dress or tugging at your tights all night. Wearing looser fitting clothing and breathable fabrics like cotton, linen or silk will help make sure you stay cool and collected – even when things heat up from cooking in the kitchen!
Accessorize! No outfit is complete without an amazing accessory to go with it. From hats and scarves to shoes and jewels, there are unlimited chances to spice up your look with that little extra something. Be careful not to over-accessorize, however, one statement piece is really all you need!
I received a pair of shoes from Shoebuy.com as compensation for this post. As always, all opinions are my own (except for the sage advice from ShoeBuy style expert Courtney Barry because she knows what she’s talking about.)