Resist the Sparkle.
The retail industry calls it “holiday attire,” “festive wear,” or “your party outfit.”
But I call it…a trap.
Walk into any women’s clothing store in the month of December, the sparkle is OUT OF CONTROL. Everywhere you look there are sequined dresses, glittery pumps, velvet tops, beaded skirts, metallic clutches, and over-the-top glitzy earrings that would make a disco ball jealous.
And it’s not just the physical stores, almost every day since mid-November I received an email in my inbox from a retailer telling me it was time to buy something sparkly. The image above I pieced together from actual visuals and verbiage from those emails.
It’s as if the retailers all got together and conspired to turn the season of giving into the season of sequins. And in fact, I suspect they did. Why? Because if they can blind us with sparkles in December, they know that we’ll have to come crawling back January 2nd for something a little less, well, ornamental.
I’ll admit it. I’m attracted to all this eye-catching eye-candy. Like a moth to the festive flame, I find myself drawn to the sparkly table of accessories or the rack of bead-trimmed blouses.
But this year, I’m saying no. When I see those festive frocks I’m running in the opposite direction. And I invite you to do the same.
Why you should resist the sparkle…
Festive items are seasonal to a fault: The more “festive” an item, the less versatile it is. I mean, who’s gonna wear sequins after New Year’s? When you buy something specifically for a holiday occasion, you are spending money on a clothing item that you can pretty much only wear from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, not even a span of 2 months.
Statement items are harder to wear on repeat: I love making a statement as much as the next girl! But eye-catching outfits, by their nature, are more memorable. Which makes it difficult to wear that same glittery garb to the office party, the friend shindig, and the New Year’s cocktail party. Suddenly you need three holiday party outfits! Exhausting.
“Fancy” fabrics aren’t exactly the practical choice: Does anyone know how to wash a sequin? I sure don’t. All I know is that wearing a sequin top is like wearing a bunch of tiny torture devices, whose purpose is to poke and stab me until I’m dying to get the garment OFF my body. Beads fall off, velvet gets dingy, glitter gets EVERYWHERE. It’s almost as if the items are designed to self-destruct, so that you are forced to replace them year after year.
How to resist the sparkle…
Don’t look at it too long! The more you look at anything, the more likely you are to buy it. I was in a store last week looking at a table of beautiful beaded clutches, when I realized what I was doing, turned to my husband and said “Get me out of here before I buy something sparkly!”
Satisfy the craving with an item that works double duty: So this year I very strategically chose a royal blue blazer as my “holiday item.” I chose it because the bright color feels dressy and like a statement piece, but ALSO because it works as part of my year round color palette, and will work just as easily as a casual blazer with jeans and a t-shirt in the spring as it will dressed up over a black turtleneck in the winter.
Indulge in just a little sparkle: Another option to satisfy the craving is a single jewelry item — a sparkly broach, a necklace with stars on it, some dangly earrings. You can pair this item with your regular wardrobe to make your classic clothing items instantly festive. Not only does this tiny item take up no closet space, but it’s easy to wear over and over again every holiday.
Sparkle itself is not bad. It’s all in how you use it.
I’m not trying to rain on your proverbial Christmas parade. I’m not saying to eliminate all sparkle from your life. Go ahead! Deck the halls with twinkle lights. Go crazy with the shiny wrapping paper. Bust out the sparklers at New Year’s! Maybe even dab on some glittery nail polish. Just while you’re doing so, please wear something sensible.