From sequins to sparkles, ties to tuxedos, New Year's Eve usually unleashes the fancier and glitzier sides of personal styles. It doesn't matter if you're club-hopping until New Year's Day sunrise or laying low at a friend's house party--ringing in the new year means bringing in the big, fashionable guns. In order to establish what's in and what's out when kissing 2012 good- bye, we assembled a panel of local experts to fill you in on all things New Year's fashion.
fashion blogger for Chi City Fashion (chicityfashion.com)
fashion blogger for the Possessionista (possessionista.com)
owner of women's boutique Click Shoes in Lakeview
creative director of men's boutique Haberdash in River North
DON'T GO OVERBOARD
All four fashion authorities support the less-is-more mantra for New Year's wear. Too much skin, prints and embellishments can distract from what should be the main focus of the evening: you.
"Don't overembellish," Weiss said. "You don't need beads and sequins and feathers. Pick one." As for the glitz and gold, use the sparkles as a very subtle portion of the look. "Do [wear sequins] sparingly, otherwise you may be confused as a disco ball," Eisen said.
Men, Maier said, should opt for the darkest coat in their closet and steer clear of patterned shirts, sticking with the accessories as the statement-makers. "Socialize, don't spend time talking about your shirt," Maier said.
EMBRACE THE SEASON'S TRENDS
Leather and fabrics in deep burgundy, or "oxblood," made the transition from catwalk to sidewalk this season and are completely suitable to wear for New Year's, according to both Gambaccini and Weiss. Pants--real or faux leather--are a cool alternative to a fancy frock.
"I'm all about the more leather, the better," Gambaccini said. "A black fitted pant with a sequined top or metallic blazer looks great."
Leather has been making appearances as the primary material in tops and dresses, too, which can be tested in trendy silhouettes.
"The peplum [top] has been really hot," Weiss said. "With skinny jeans, it could be casual, or pair it with a skirt in your closet."
"Reds and greens are always big for the holidays," Weiss said. "[Oxblood] is a hot color I see translating a lot to New Year's dresses." There you have it, ladies: Trade your LBD for a LOD--little oxblood dress.
ADD-ONS ARE KEY
When you don't want your wardrobe to do the talking but still want to make a statement, use accessories to pump up the volume. For men, a scarf in a pop of color or fun pattern does the trick, as does the perfect footwear.
"The biggest thing [for men] is a nice shoe," Maier said. "A double-monk strap shoe is an Italian style and very bold, but not boisterous. It's almost guaranteed you'll get compliments."
Maier also suggests cuff links or other similarly small extras to stand out from the sea of suits.
For the ladies, Gambaccini and Weiss like the idea of a statement necklace added onto a simple dress, while Eisen gravitates toward a pair of heeled booties to give your go-to pumps a break.
"A high [ankle boot] with a big heel is really big right now," Eisen said.
SPLURGE A LITTLE, IF YOU CAN
While New Year's Eve is a one-night occasion, sometimes doling out a bit of extra cash can make a look worthwhile.
Men's nighttime fashion trends don't go out of style too often, so investing in a few key pieces is a good idea not just for New Year's, but for future occasions. Renting a tux seems like a good route for those who don't dress in black-tie outfits too often, but the fit can be sacrificed.
"The way the market has changed, it's less expensive to buy a suit rather than rent," Maier said. "$200 for [a rented] one looks terrible and feels terrible. If you're [about] 30 and older, you will find uses for a tux more often than not."
Eisen believes that investing in quality pieces will stand the test of time. Versatile pieces in style now that are worth breaking the bank for include a leather jacket, a sequined shell or an all-over lace dress.
A GOOD FIT IS ESSENTIAL
No matter how great the clothes look on the hanger, proportion is vital. For men, this means maybe making a trip to the tailor, said Maier. For women, it's all about balance.
"Short, tight dresses are not creative," Gambaccini said. "If you want to show leg, cover up on top with a higher neckline and sleeves. Everything should be in moderation."
Not only does a good fit mean the garment looks better in person, but also in photos.
"Everyone has that story where their dress ends up around their waist," Weiss said. "You know pictures will end up on Facebook and Instagram."
Before you head out for the night, take a photo of yourself with your phone to check for potential wardrobe malfunctions.
KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS
This may seem like a no-brainer, but dressing appropriately for your event is crucial. A warm coat to shield you from winter weather is a must, as is putting away the cleavage for a co-worker's shindig. For a black-tie event, men should traditionally wear a tuxedo and ladies should go for a long gown.
"Don't try to look like you're going to a rose ceremony [from 'The Bachelor'] or you're from 'Real Housewives of New Jersey,' " Weiss said. "This is Chicago. It's cold in December. Be sophisticated and sexy. Also, I don't want to see guys in Ed Hardy."