Accessories are the best way to add festive flare to your wardrobe. But how do you wear them without looking tacky, like you’re trying to win an ugly sweater contest or light up the street with your blinking Rudolph pin? The best way to give your holiday style a lift while still keeping it classy is to think about the accessories you want add. But remember: In December, just a hint of holiday goes a long way. The old KISS (Keep it simple, Stupid!) principle comes in extra handy this time of year. So while you’re out shopping for accessories this season, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Accessories: How to Look Festive Without Looking Tacky

Vintage jewellery makes any outfit sparkle. 

I especially like Christmas tree pins from the 50’s and 60’s. Look for the quirky and unusual ones and anticipate that everyone will ask where you got that fabulous piece. If novelty pins are not up your street, load up on strings of jet beads or add a rhinestone snowflake necklace. Also, this season the stores are filled with jewel encrusted necklaces and ornamental collars. If you can’t source vintage, buy new and keep your eyes peeled for the extraordinary.

Vintage Christmas Tree Pin

Vintage Christmas Tree Brooch

Vintage Christmas jewellery

Vintage Christmas Jewellery

Turn to metallics for flair. 

Try a piece of clothing with a bit of metallic shimmer. But, don’t go overboard. Pair a sultry silver blouse with black double knit trousers or top a gold threaded skirt with a simple cashmere sweater.

Holiday Outfit with a Touch of Metallic (Photo credit: Juliana Marinho,

Holiday Outfit with a Touch of Metallic
(Photo credit: Juliana Marinho,

Dashes of plaid hum holiday spirit. 

A pretty Glen Watch hairband, tartan socks or red plaid shirt make for a quietly festive look. Again, just one plaid item is enough to show you’re in the holiday spirit. Feel like being more naughty than nice? Try showing a hint of plaid in your undergarments, like a flash of a patterned strap, or a plaid bra or camisole under a sheer blouse.  

A hint of plaid for holiday

A hint of plaid for holiday
Photo credit:

Use colour to create holiday cheer.

Red and green are the obvious colour choices at Christmas, but you can also add rich jewel tones to your wardrobe to show it’s party time. This year, I am loving ice blue, and lovely lavender, and of course, black and white are always on trend in winter. When in doubt, go for slimming all-black and add your rhinestone or diamond accessories to punch up your outfit. For an edgier look, try a tuxedo suit in winter white.

holiday outfits with jewel tones

Holiday Outfit with Jewel tones and a bit of shimmer.
Photo source:

Fur and faux fur are seasonal favourites.

An oversized “fox” vest adds class to a dressy or casual outfit on a cold night. But if that feels like too much for your taste, go for fur cuffs or a cozy fur scarf to warm up while adding a little fun festivity to your look.

Chanel faux fur bag

A touch of faux fur
photo credit:

Personally, I think nothing spells holiday accessories better than a flash of red-soled Louboutins. But I leave it to you to put your own classy-but-festive stamp on your wardrobe. And always remember to KISS during the holiday season – and not only when you find yourself under the mistletoe.

About the author

Paddy Regan

Paddy Regan is a retired business education teacher who now works part-time in the Special Events Department of an international cosmetics company. She has followed her passion for fashion since the acquisition of her much sought after go-go boots in the late sixties. In her eclectic professional life she has co-produced fashion shows, been a spokesperson for a large outlet mall and orchestrated public relation/ publicity campaigns for small retail businesses. She enjoys sourcing bargains, travelling and has a special interest in the visual arts. Her signature fashion adage is “Accessories are your best friends”.

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