How To Dress For The Holidays & Stand Out From The Crowd, According To Joe Zee

Sure, sure — we all know this time of year from Thanksgiving to New Year's as "The Holiday Season," but IMHO we should be calling it something else: Sparkle season. Because when else can you get away with wearing head-to-toe glitter everywhere you go for a month? There is literally nothing more fun than getting dressed for a holiday party and considering it's almost December, it's time to blast "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and start pulling out all of the sequin-embellished clothing that's been hiding in the back of your closet since last New Year's Eve.

As much fun as it can be to pick out an outfit that makes you look like a walking disco ball to wear to your office cocktail party, it can also be a little daunting. I spoke to Joe Zee, Editor in Chief of Yahoo Style and former Creative Director of ELLE Magazine (aka Whitney and Olivia's boss on The City) about his tips for holiday dressing. “Feeling confident and having that sort of head turning look is important, especially during the holiday season,” Zee tells me. Here are his seven tips for putting together outfits that will make you look and feel good for all of your events from now until 2017 (and beyond)!

1. You Don't Have To Go Full Shine

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OK, OK, fine — not everyone loves walking around looking like a glitter-dipped Christmas ornament all the time. But just because head-to-toe shine isn't your thing, it doesn't mean you can't try it out in a more understated way. "I always call this tiptoeing into a trend," says Zee. "It's much more about a pop on an accessory, or even a sequin trim on a t-shirt. It doesn't have to be hit over the head — it can be really subtle." If this is more your speed, try a sparkly earring, a t-shirt with a glitter trim, or a pair of shoes with some glitzy embellishments.

2. Flats At A Party Are Totally OK

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Joe Zee lives by the rule of the two Cs: confidence and comfort. “If you’re wobbling around in heels and you aren’t comfortable, I can tell you your night is going to be ruined,” says Zee. “You’ll be sitting in a corner, you won’t be talking to anyone, your feet will hurt. How much fun is that? Not at all!” Considering designers are showing flats with with everything from streetwear to ballgowns these days, it’s totally ok to swap your stilettos for sneakers for this year’s parties.

3. Layering Is Your Secret Weapon

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Dressing cute while staying warm is honestly a pain in the ass — it seems like no matter what you do, you end up looking like the Michelin man underneath a big winter coat. The solution, according to Zee, is layering. "I love the idea that you can throw on different fabrics and textures and you can make a statement that way," he tells me.

"If you don't know where to start, I always say take the one thing in your closet that everyone loves... that jacket that's your lucky jacket, that little black dress that everyone loves... and then use that as your blank slate to layer." Zee suggests pairing a black dress with a turtleneck for a '60s look, or a bow-blouse for something more '70s; or belting a jacket or sweater over your favorite party look.

4. Slay The Beauty Game

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With a fierce red lip, you can literally wear a paper bag to a party and still look straight up stunning — just make sure you have the right full-face balance. "With beauty, you don't want to overdo it. I always say, 'you only want to ring the bell once,'" says Zee. "If you want to do a strong eye, I'd do a neutral lip. If you want to do a strong lip, I'd do a quieter eye."

5. Have A Go-To Piece

ASOS Glitter Sequin Silver Sweat T-Shirt, $89,

Buying a bunch of glittery pieces that you'll only wear once a year (or just once... ever) isn't exactly the most affordable way to dress for the holidays. Instead, you can buy one glitzy statement piece and style it a bunch of different ways. Zee's personal favorite is a glitter-embellished t-shirt. "I love the idea that you can wear that under a blazer, under a suit, on its own," he says. He also loves a good statement drop-earring, which are an easy way to totally change up an otherwise simple look.

6. Learn To Dress For Less

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Zee's favorite place to shop for affordable holiday looks? Walmart. You can also grab everything else you need there for some pre-party pampering, which is arguably the most fun part of the night. "It's not just about what you put on, it's about how you feel in it," says Zee. Pamper yourself, take the time to relax, take the time to really feel good from the inside out. Because the minute you do that, anything you put on will look great."

7. Dazzle With A Smile

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No matter how glittery your outfit is, the best way to add some shine is with those sparkly pearly whites. "If you really want to dazzle and shine, I always say the best way to do that is to dazzle with a smile," says Zee.

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