If you're anything like me, then after bleeding cash for offensively priced Thanksgiving flights you're likely very in need of some affordable new outfits to get you through the rest of this year. Armed with two croissants and a dangerously large coffee, I dove headfirst into the new-in Holiday section on H&M and put together seven A+ outfits for all the end-of-year events (from the fun to the fancy) I'm most certainly not ready for. Am I in denial that it's almost 2019? For sure! But at least I'll look cute without breaking the bank, so let's go ahead and chalk this up as a dramatic improvement on last year.
OCCASION #1: Martinis and a Home Alone viewing party with the inner circle.
TIME OF DAY: Possibly 2 p.m., possibly 11 p.m.—it's really hard to say.
PRE-REQS: Must be couch-friendly and slightly fabulous in case we end up venturing out for a late-night dinner.
THE OUTFIT: Luxe wide-leg pants (I assume you've already been introduced to my love of wearing pajama pants in disguise?) and an unapologetically festive knit, topped off with various Gossip Girl-inspired holiday bling.
OCCASION #2: An end-of-year cocktail party as the plus-one of someone with a very corporate grown-up job.
TIME OF DAY: 8 p.m. until the bar runs dry.
PRE-REQS: Must be ambiguous/formal/corporate dress code–friendly. Also, eating standing up (and with one hand) is not my strength, therefore must be forgiving of spilled hors d'œuvres.
OCCASION #3: Wandering far from my boyfriend's family's parked car to view a lit-up American festive thing that it's compulsory to take pictures next to this time of year.
TIME OF DAY: First thing in the morning when you're certain you'll beat the crowds (forgetting that people with children are always, always up earlier than you).
PRE-REQS: Timeless pieces that won't make you cringe when these photos are still on the fridge five years from now.
THE OUTFIT: Relaxed-fit denim and a relaxed-fit, embellished mock-neck sweater. Because if I wear enough relaxed-fit clothing, maybe I'll evolve into being both relaxed and fit (of which I am neither between December 20 and January 1).
OCCASION #4: My grand winter tradition of breaking away from SoHo's gift shopping madness and sitting alone at the bar at Balthazar, in the golden light, to enjoy my favorite French onion soup in peace.
TIME OF DAY: About 4:30 p.m., when it's suddenly dark out and I realize I didn't have lunch.
PRE-REQS: Footwear must be able to deal with potential sleet/downpours of rain, as this is inevitable on the day I decide to shop for gifts IRL.
THE OUTFIT: A skirt-and-boot combo, as this is likely the last time it can be worn before it gets properly cold out. Faux fur to make it winter-appropriate—and because it's arguably the number one trend to cozy up with this season.
THE OCCASION #5: Client lunch at a restaurant in TriBeCa that's totally pretentious but delicious enough for me to be okay with it.
TIME OF DAY: 1 p.m. until whenever they declare it over/my inbox explodes.
PRE-REQS: Must convince all present that I'm a Person Who Works in Fashion and Who Gets It.
OCCASION #6: Christmas Eve dinner with the Aussie/New Zealand holiday orphans of New York.
TIME OF DAY: 4 p.m. (or earlier if we want to help make the gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free desserts—so, you know, 4 p.m.).
PRE-REQS: There has been a specific request we all dress "festively," most likely to compensate for the same lack of a Christmas tree and decorations we dealt with last year, making all photos undistinguishable from any other Sunday night.
THE OUTFIT: A combo of pieces that are very wearable separately but decidedly on theme when worn together (especially with these excellent earrings, which I'm expecting will have a renaissance come summer).
OCCASION #7: Last dinner/drinks of the year with my work wife.
TIME OF DAY: Friday, December 21, at 5 p.m., and not one minute later.
PRE-REQS: Apparel must fulfill the age-old task of being business-friendly by day, with an evening accessories upgrade that says "See ya, work! I'm outta here till January."
THE OUTFIT: Paper-bag trousers with a gold stripe (because festive), a belt bag (you know, like they wore to travel home for the holidays in the '80s), and heels that say "Seriously, it never even snows in New York until January anymore." (These pants will potentially make a reappearance on New Year's Eve with the soon-to-drop matching blazer, should I be somehow talked into doing A Thing.)