The Budget Version Of A Festive Hostess Outfit

I hear you. My picks tend towards the expensive. Let’s fix that. Voilà a version of the outfit I posted Friday, sourced all from Target, Zappos, Dillard’s and other moderate-price retailers.

Untitled #181

In shifting down the cost curve, you want to follow a few key principles.

  1. Stick to one neutral shade, i.e. all gray, all taupe, all cream.
  2. Mix textures.
  3. Add shine, but not too much.
  4. Show your ankles.
  5. Unbutton the cardigan’s top buttons for a flash of metallic tank and skin at the collarbone.
  6. Wear dangly earrings.
  7. Don’t skimp too much on shoes, and don’t ignore the flat/pointy-toe/ Audrey Hepburn vibe.

That’s it. So when should we arrive? I’ll bring appetizers, shall I?

Clothing links (which may generate commissions to be donated to Dress For Success)

– Merona Beaded cotton/rayon/nylon cardigan (also comes in light green)
– Mossimo Jacquard ankle pants in cotton/polyester
– Nine West pointy-toe bow shoes (which also come in red)
– Only Hearts metallic tank, on sale for $19, rayon/metallic/nylon/lycra
– Peter Nygard Plus Size metallic tank (another option, not pictured)
Dangling spike earrings by Blu Bijoux @ Max&Chloe
Snowflakes cooking apron, from Target. (With a matching small one for kids. Or your dog, if you prefer:))
– All candleholders from Waterford. Lismore is my favorite pattern. But it’s not the budget version, I confess.

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  • So spot on…!! I just bought an Eileen Fisher classic ankle-length black pants, and flats: Splurging on very few basics that will last, and thrifting the rest… Shared this on my Facebook page! xx

  • YES!! I must confess, I love the outfit and would wear every piece of it, with the exception of the earrings, simply because I don’t wear jewelry, other than my wedding ring.

    Thank you so much!!

  • Love the outfit, but not the pants. What would you suggest for a skirt…perhaps a grey denim pencil skirt?

    8:14 am
    Lisa said...

    Given the compact silhouette of the sweater, I’d go for a flared, longer skirt. Something like this might work for you? Or this?

  • I have a version of this myself!
    Buying cheap shoes never works for me…I have learned this the hard way.

  • Once again you’ve knocked it out of the park. Perfect outfit!

  • I think it’s a great look!

  • Very nice outfit. Nice prices, too!

  • One cannot wear too much shine/sparkle!!!

  • Consider being my personal shopper and I’ll be your b*tch. :). xoxo

    1:24 pm
    Lisa said...

    You know where to find me:).

  • I’ve got a version of all these pieces, except the sparkly cardi — and I don’t tend to wear an apron. . . Velvet and sequins and patent-shiny . . . so Tralala!

  • Not loving the cut of the pants, but I’d go with my slim black pants. Nice choices!

  • The only inexpensive shoes that have worked for me are Clarks–and they are quite nice. Other than that I spend the dollars and enjoy my shoes for a long time if they are comfortable.

    I like this ensemble! I have no issue with wearing the sparkly dangling earrings. I have a couple of pairs that I love. I should wear them more often. Thank you for reminding me of that. Somehow I had it in my head that sparkly dangling earrings were only for dressy occasions. I need to mix it up a bit.

    Thank you for this post!

  • Happy Holidays, Lisa-Poo. See you on the December Christmas BIO post, Tina’s theme. xx’s

  • Cute! and I love Audrey- always so classic and chic.

  • with respect to #3 I say GO IN HARD with the shine and sparkle because it will DEFLECT the eye from one’s ( i.e. my) collapsing face.


  • Conflicted on this one. My lifelong experience + my mother’s cautionary words = get that sweater from Jigsaw, if you get nothing else at all. If funds are tight and you cannot complete an all-new outfit this very minute, then pull bottoms already waiting in your closet and wear that sensational sweater asap. A sweater that swell rarely comes along.

  • Love this outfit, but it raises a question for me. Would you wear this out in winter months? I have a similar outfit and love the look but always get eye rolls and comments because of the naked ankles this time of year in the north east. Just wondering your thoughts. Thanks!

    1:25 pm
    Lisa said...

    I’d wear a black sheer sock with it – but wouldn’t go out and about except to the car:).

  • Wearing one shade head-to-toe is something I’ve never felt brave enough to try … it seems somehow too sophisticated!

    Maybe that’s something I should work on. :-)

  • I see your Scottish thrift is in fine form!

  • Yes, gray is a perfect color for the holidays.

  • Very cute! Especially the apron. Target is probably not on its way to conquer mainland Europe?! ;-)

    1:25 pm
    Lisa said...

    Well, one never knows…