When The Invitation Is Last-Minute…

A 10-piece accessory capsule to dress up wardrobe basics. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The Spontaneous Soirée

We’ve all been there. While most holiday party plans are made weeks in advance, there are always those impromptu events that pop up. An old friend is in town for a couple of days and wants to get the gang together for cocktails. A spouse’s business associate invites you both to their holiday open house…tomorrow evening.

Left: earrings | necklace | jacket | bag | boots
Middle: sweater | pants
Right: earrings | scarf | bracelet | bag | shoes

I’ve been working on building up a stable of Going Out Clothes, but my fallback for these types of spontaneous get-togethers is Dressed Up Basics. Little Black Pants, a simple blouse or sweater, and accessories that take the look up a notch. I’ve almost never felt over-dressed or under-dressed using this formula.

The Accessory Capsule

Above I’ve started with simple black pants and a cream sweater. You could always substitute navy, grey or any other color you like for either or both pieces. To dress those up, I’ve built a 10-item accessory capsule in a mostly neutral theme. While of course you wouldn’t wear all of these accessories at once, you could create any number of bundles (and looks) by mixing different pieces from the capsule.

A few details worth noting…

  • the “dots” on the scarf are actually small Swarovski crystals. It’s a really lovely piece!
  • that long necklace can be worn as-is or doubled.
  • many of the pieces shown above are currently marked down. Win-win!

How do you handle dressing for impromptu holiday get-togethers?

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10 Comments

  1. Thea
    November 27, 2017 / 4:47 am

    I always start with the shoe type I want to wear…if it’s a “sit down” event, then I can wear “2 hour shoes”, those fabulous beauties from days gone by that I can’t bear to part with – yet…if it’s a “standing” event, I choose a shoe for both comfort and style. You’ve taught me well, Susan – bring on the impromptu invites! I’m ready! Thanks for your sage advice!

  2. Susan D.
    November 27, 2017 / 4:53 am

    Oh–I really like the cream colored cotton sweater from Halsbrook. Unfortunately, they are out of my size or I would have snapped it up! Since we no longer have winter in Dallas, I can’t ever wear wool sweaters in winter–so the cotton is perfect!

  3. Kim
    November 27, 2017 / 6:58 am

    An accessory capsule is ingenious, Susan! I generally go with olive green and deep red as basics. Mix with a few sparkly and rich-looking pieces in your ” capsule” and you’re good to go, even paired with denim. Shoes can be tricky, I have red & leopard kitten heels and gold flats…

    • Sheri
      November 27, 2017 / 7:19 am

      Love those ideas, too!!

  4. Sheri
    November 27, 2017 / 7:18 am

    I appreciate your suggestions for a super simple formula to special occasion dressing! That’s always a challenge…wanting to look dressy, but remain comfortable, too. I like the idea of capsules of stand-bys that can always be mixed and matched! More ongoing suggestions, such as these, please!! 🙂

  5. Nancy Klein
    November 27, 2017 / 9:05 am

    Susan, this is a comment about the November My Stylish French Box, which I bought for a friend’s birthday and watched her open. Although the items were lovely, the packing left something to be desired in that to get the gift box out of the mailing box it had to be shaken so the gift box opened. Two of the items were packed on top of the tissue and ribbon which spoiled the effect. Lastly, from the description of the contents, listed today in an e-mail from My Stylish French Box, I think that the coasters and the necklace were missing. My friend did enjoy the gift but I was disappointed.

    I do enjoy your blog.

    • Susan B
      November 27, 2017 / 10:50 am

      Hi Nancy, I’m so sorry to hear that! You should really let Sharon know…I’m sure she’d want to remedy the omission.

      • Nancy Klein
        November 27, 2017 / 1:48 pm

        Sharon responded promptly and politely and will send the missing item – there was only one, the coasters; the item mentioned in her e-mail “November Box Reveal” as a necklace was actually a bracelet as the package insert correctly noted. The box did make a delightful 75th birthday present for a Paris freak and I thank you for the idea.

        • Susan B
          November 27, 2017 / 8:14 pm

          Good to hear! Thanks for letting me know.

  6. Mary, The Pouting Pensioner
    November 29, 2017 / 3:43 am

    Super useful mix, Susan. So wise to have that elegant suite hanging in the wardrobe, primed for action. Thanks for putting it together. Love the simple, classy top.
    Hugs, x.

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