Have fun, be daring with style this season

Holiday party season is close and no one wants to appear in the office or family selfie as the Ghost of Christmas past. So, if you’re the guy who has busted out the same festive sweater since the invention of sliced bread, or the gal who buys three new daring dresses only to wear your reliable black shift every year, here are some tips from local style experts to stay on trend and in your comfort zone.

“Lots of texture and embellishments are popular right now,” said Claudia Knoglinger, from Bernstein and Gold boutique on Yates Street. Her clientele leans toward women over 35, professional, with a keen fashion sense and appreciation for quality garments. Diane von Furstenberg, Milly, Nicole Miller and Ted Baker are some of their most popular labels.

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“The modern cut is a higher neck and hemlines are longer, knee or mid-length,” said Knoglinger, adding women in Victoria appreciate cocktail dresses with sleeves. “It suits the weather here. You don’t need a jacket.”

Caitlin Ing is a stylist at Mayfair Shopping Centre, which offers a fashion coaching service for shoppers. “Typically, we see a lot of women 45-plus who want to look on-trend, but still age-appropriate for holiday parties,” said Ing. “It’s a time of year when you can have fun and be a bit more daring with your style. So go for it.”

Ing said women can update their look with faux fur, sparkled shoes, purses and accessories. She noted animal prints are still hot.

“For men, little things like matching fun socks to your tie can update a look. Every man needs a good blazer and wool is popular,” said Ing, noting slim-fitted tops and pants are a trendier look for men. “But the classic look will always be a wide leg and that’s fine, too.”

Men can incorporate textures and animal prints on ties and accessories.

Victorians love to mix a bit of eclectic counter-culture into their style, hitting the vintage shops and local designers for seasonal trends.

“Everyone’s coming in wanting plaid. Merino wool and fur are also in high demand,” said Ashley Tait, from Mavens Vintage Apparel on Herald Street. “Closer to Christmas and New Year’s, people get more formal. The Gatsby flapper look has been popular.”

Many local designers who don’t have storefronts take part in holiday fairs this time of year. Other businesses, such as the Makehouse on Fort Street, offer do-it-yourself workshops for cardigans and boxers for men and fascinators and French knickers for women.

Designer Laura Beamister said she started her line, Muse Clothing, six years ago to offer quality and comfortable classic dresses. Providing locally-designed and made clothing has been a bonus.

“The style of the garment comes first but the fact something is made and designed here is special to people,” said Beamister, who offers 20 dress styles in 16 gem tones made-to-order.

spetrescu@timescolonist.com

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