Jenna Marie Wakani
Deck the halls this holiday season with dazzling picks and tips from our plus-size style star, Meredith Shaw.
Full disclosure: my favourite colour is sparkle. Sequins, rhinestones, beading and appliqués aren't just for the likes of Las Vegas showgirls (hello, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez!); they're also available for us mere mortals to delight and dazzle in. I realize not everyone is a fan of the more-is-more approach to holiday dressing, but maybe that's because of some absurd notion that having a curvy body relegates you to a life on the sidelines in a boring LBD. That's rubbish! No matter your size, you deserve to be in the spotlight—and the holidays season is the perfect time to dip into twinkling embellishments and gilded trimmings. From subtle sparkle to full-on shine, here are my steadfast ways to add twinkle to your outfits this season.
1. Sparks Fly
Keep your blazer or blouse looking cool, not corporate, by choosing one with a bit of draping—and a whole lot of sparkle. Wear it with dark skinnies and neutral heels, and you'll slay at any holiday soiree.
2. Tailor made
A-line skirts and dresses used to be my go-to because they highlight the waist and slide over lumps and bumps. Oh, how wrong I was. A pencil skirt is super flattering; the trick is to find one in a thick material with enough structure so it acts like shapewear. If skirts aren't your thing, try glittering trousers.
3. The party dress
When it comes to office parties, keep the silhouette sophisticated with a sheath dress—glittering, of course—that hits just below the knee. But if the bash is with friends or out on the town, let your sexy self roar by rocking a plunging neckline. Either way, all eyes will be on you!
4. That bling thing
You can go from frumpy to festive with a few carefully chosen accessories: an embellished clutch, a sequinned scarf, metallic pumps or a twinkling belt. Don't play it safe with just silver and gold tones; look for navy-, magenta- or hunter green-hued sparkles and chromed finishes.
Get the look
Velvet! Ruffles! Sequins! Oh, my!
On the hunt for a head-turning festive getup with all the holiday fixings? It doesn't matter whether you're of the minimalist mindset or you prefer to max out on details—we've got both camps covered.
1. MAKE WAVES
Architectural ruffles build the foundation of a dramatic look—perfect when dressing for a party. This season's ruffles are like stiff waves, still feminine but with a modern twist
Wear a little
If cascading ruffles are too precious for your taste, give the fashion detail a discreet nod on a three-quarter-length bell sleeve.
Wear a lot
A spiralling ruffle snakes its way down from the neckline, doubling as a statement accessory for this simple sheath silhouette.
2. BLING IT ON
Sequins are a holiday essential—there's no getting around it. But not all sparkle is created equal. Use this shiny detail as the star of the show or place it strategically.
Wear a little (right)
If you shy away from sequins for fear of looking like a pageant queen, skip the full-on glitz and team a sequinned tank with sleek white wide-legged trousers. It's chic with a hint of twinkle.
Wear a lot (left)
If your wardrobe aspirations are to light up the night while working the party circuit, look no further than a sequin-covered LBD.
Left: Michael Michael Kors dress, $395, michaelkors.ca. Earrings, bananarepublic.ca. Bracelet and shoes, winners.ca. Clutch, callitspring.com.
Right: Top, $75, gapcanada.ca. Pants, $124, and faux-fur scarf, bananarepublic.ca. Earrings, aldoshoes.com. Watch, michaelkors.ca.
3. HEAVY METAL
Whether they're in cool silver of rich gold, metallic styles can be found everywhere. Try this shiny trend by means of silver slacks or a gilded skirt.
Wear a little (left)
Take an artful approach to metallic threads with a mash-up of unexpected materials, then prepare to rake in the compliments all day (and all night) long.
Wear a lot (right)
You know what pairs great with gilt? More gold. No, seriously. The trick to brining these metallic fabrics together is to choose different textures in slightly different tones. The warmth and the sheen help make the outfit cohesive.
Left: Sweater, $159, linethelabel.com. Pants, $39, joefresh.com. Earrings, bananarepublic.ca. Watch, swarovski.com. Clutch, callitspring.com. Shoes, express.com.
Right: Blouse, $130, winners.ca. Skirt, $90, gapcanada.ca. Earrings, bag, and shoes, aldoshoes.com. Bracelets, hillbergandberk.com.
4. VELVET CRUSH
A perennial holiday favourite, this luxurious, cold weather-friendly fabric instantly elevates dresses, blazers and blouses, giving them an air of romance.
Wear a little
A slightly oversize navy velvet camisole worn with a graceful skirt lends a delicate dose of holiday glam.
Wear a lot
Go big or go home in head-to-toe velvet by pairing a ruby-red blazer with dagger-shaped lapels and swooshing bell-bottoms.
5. AMAZING LACE
This refined fabric walks the line between coquettish and conservative. Its timeless essence adds a little drama and gives new life to just about any outfit.
Wear a little
This ultrafeminine fabric—once reserved for the boudoir, weddings and, well, doilies—has come a long way. Work this ladylike material into everyday attire as a dainty trim.
Wear a lot
Upgrade your little black dress to a jewel-tone lace frock. The magenta hue is every bit as dramatic as black but less predictable.
Kick-off the festivities with these recipes for crowd-pleasing apps.
These sweet-tangy pastries are ideal for easy holiday entertaining.
Get the recipe: Apple and Canadian Blue Cheese Tartlets with Icewine Glaze
While the dip is cooling, slice up a fresh baguette and some crudités for dipping.
Get the recipe: Bubbly Bacon and Butternut Dip
We're bringing back the cheese ball with these bite-size versions of the retro party snack.
Get the recipe: Mini Cheese Balls
This baked one-pan version of rösti is our secret to feeding a crowd without spending the evening in front of the stove.
Get the recipe: Crispy Salmon-Topped Rösti Squares
Serve these bite-size fresh mozzarella balls with toasted baguette slices.
Get the recipe: Lemon Pepper Bocconcini
Store-bought pickled beets make a super quick and tasty garnish.
Get the recipe: Smoked Cheddar Pancakes with Pickled Beets
It doesn't get more retro than cheese fondue, and this twist on the classic Swiss recipe offers a hit of Calvados at the end.
Get the recipe: Beer and Cheese Fondue Dip
Topped with crispy golden panko bread crumbs, these jalapeños are full of satisfying spicy flavour.
Get the recipe: Crispy Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños
These cute individual-size pies are delicious served either hot, as an elegant starter with a salad, or cold, eaten out of hand with a little HP sauce.
Get the recipe: Mini Leek and Bacon Pies
Serve these veggie patties warm or at room temperature with a dollop of sour cream or our Chunky Applesauce.
Get the recipe: Mini Potato Zucchini Latkes
Sausage rolls are a sure hit at cocktail parties.
Get the recipe: Sausage Rolls with Honey Mustard Dip
With a perfect balance of creamy, spicy, sweet and savoury, we guarantee there will be no leftovers.
Get the recipe: Savoury Cheddar Cheesecake Spread
Serve this rich, creamy spread at room temperature with crackers or toast points.
Get the recipe: Wild Mushroom Pâté
Bring a little bit of Asian flair to the dinner table with this elegant recipe for spring rolls.
Get the recipe: Shrimp Spring Rolls and Yin Yang Marinated Vegetables
Move over, plain old french fries! Try an array of root vegetables served with our Chive Mayo dip.
Get the recipe: Rainbow Root Fries with Chive Mayo
Everyone will be reaching for these tasty sliders.
Get the recipe: Lazy Cheeseburger Sliders
Poke bowls are all the rage at the moment. We show you how to make your own vegetarian-version.
Poke is a Hawaiian salad traditionally made with chopped raw fish which has been marinated in a soy-based dressing. This poke-style dish is a twist on the original: it's vegetarian and uses sweet roasted beets instead of the raw fish. Have fun with your poke bowls and top them with a variety of garnishes like green onions, nori, toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, lime wedges or pickled cucumbers.
3/4 cup golden beets
3/4 cup candy cane beets
5 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1-3/4 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 avocado peeled pitted and chopped
Wrap each beet in foil; roast in 350°F oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool enough to handle, peel and slice into small wedges.
While beets are cooking, in bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and ginger. Toss with warm beets; refrigerate for 1 hour. Stir in avocado. Serve beets over steamed white rice; garnish with thinly sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
For more food how-tos, visit our Cooking School channel.