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December 8, 2014 at 8:37 PM

Holiday dressing: Special looks to light up your seasonal soirees

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By Allison Ellis / Special to Sunday Market

Party season is upon us, bringing festivities all month, to the ball drop and beyond.

In the midst of shopping for others, remember to pick up a new piece or two for yourself to add some shimmer, elegance or red-hot heat to your party style.

SHEER BEAUTY

Timeless and elegant, lace has made a serious comeback in a variety of fabrications and silhouettes. Look for tops and dresses with ladylike details such as peek-a-boo panels and demure translucency.

Sourced from a sixth-generation family-owned lace maker in Rhode Island, the J.Crew Natalia Dress in Leavers Lace  ($275), with a bateau neckline and a dramatic V-back, is both demure and alluring.

For more of a modern edginess, consider the H&M Long-Sleeve Lace Dress ($70), which has a geometric lace pattern and asymmetrical bell-shaped skirt.

Whimsical dots speckle the sheer-illusion bodice and sleeves of the Eliza J Dot Mesh Bodice Fit & Flare Dress ($158 at Nordstrom). A full, knee-length skirt makes it perfect for parties with a dance floor.

For a look that’ll flow easily from daytime to evening, the Melrose Lace Shutter Pleat Blouson Dress ($54 at JCPenney), with a blousy top and pleated lace skirt, is a creative mix of textures you’ll be able to wear long after the party’s over.

RED HOT

Since crimson is the hottest hue of the season, it’s particularly easy to create a look that is both festive and on-trend.

There’s no risk of going unnoticed in the body-contouring Ralph Lauren Cap Sleeve Satin Sheath Dress ($194 at Macy’s). Still, the boat neckline and side knife pleats add a layer of chic sophistication.

Draped in flowy silk and shirred detailing, the Ann Taylor Silk Georgette Flower One Shoulder Dress (on sale for $130 at anntaylor.com) offers a romantic look for a formal event. An inside bustier creates added shape.

The boxy Jarbo Silk ¾ Sleeve Dress ($255 at Jarbo, downtown and Bellevue) is simple in design, but high in dramatic effect. Pair it with leggings and booties for daytime, and then switch things up with bold jewelry and heels for evening festivities.

SHINE ON

Leather (or faux leather), metallics, jeweled embellishments, velvet and brocade are all surefire ways to light up a room.

Local designer Lisa Hunter’s vintage-inspired fashions at Vian Hunter House of Fashion are a great way to add shimmer to your outfit. Showstopper pieces include the shimmery Silver Jacket ($195 at Vian Hunter House of Fashion, Queen Anne) or Silver Sequin Skirt (on sale for $95 at shoptiques.com).

The metallic Blaire Brocade Dress ($135 at Frock Shop, Phinney Ridge) is a striking sleeveless flared dress with pleated waist detail, available in an enchanting blue or glimmery gold.

The perforated vegan leather on the sleeveless Susana Monaco Nina Leather Dress ($278 at Horseshoe Boutique, Ballard) is sleek and sporty, with just the right amount of urban edge to get the party started.

For maximum versatility, consider the F14 Alex Dress ($308 at Juniper, Madrona). With an elegant kimono-style sleeve and an original H. Fredriksson print on its blue silk fabric, this is an eye-catching dress you can wear year-round.

ACCESSORIES

What’s the easiest way to get your style in a holiday mood? Boost your basics with a few well-placed accessories.

A sparkly clutch is an easy way to add a statement to your outfit. Consider the Pearl Embellished Clutch Bag ($66 at asos.com), covered with luminous faux pearls and beads.

For men, it’s all about being festive without going too over the top. Small prints and well-placed color go a long way, as in the Brooks Brothers Signature Tartan Tie ($79.50), crafted from pure silk woven in England.

If you’re in the market for a stunning, one-of-a-kind conversation starter, head to Hitchock Madrona for a unique piece of jewelry. There you’ll find the Xenia Mara Designs Necklace ($350), designed by the West Seattle-based artist and featuring a vintage chain and Tibetan quartz.

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