Tuesday 23rd January 2018
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A party in a top

My philosophy about dressing for the holiday party season has always been pretty straightforward. Weddings are an endurance game: you’re on display for hours, possibly on a dance floor too.  So there’s every reason to sweat it to some degree. And dinner parties are typically so intimate that no aspect of your outfit goes unnoticed there either. But holiday parties are crowded,  frenetic, standing room affairs, where all anybody really notices is what you’re wearing from the waist up. I realized this truth a few years ago, and it totally set me free. Now I just make sure I’ve got a few knockout tops on standby—ones that I can pair with everything from jeans to a skirt to trousers depending on a given event’s fanciness level—and I’ve got wardrobe solutions for days.

A party in a top is the kind that brings just a bit more excitement to the proceedings than your typical top might. The people of J. Crew, loving a sequin as they do, are particularly good at turning them out. This striped tee is just about as restrained a treatment of sequins as you’re likely to find.

Allsaints is all about the sequined party in a top too, but they don’t particularly share the Crew’s affection for restraint. And what I like all their pieces is that—like this one—they’re all quite floaty and comfortable. Plus, the sequins are more muted than they come off in this picture, so you don’t look all disco ball.

There’s nothing more fun than wearing a lace party in a top all fun and contrasty with jeans and a leather jacket. But it also cleans up really nice when you need it to.

There are few things more acutely party in a top than a super-sheer blouse layered over a black cami.

When the conversation turns to parties in a top, more beading is definitely more.

Which is not to say that subtle black-on-black beading doesn’t have its charms.

A party in a top should, occasionally, look somewhat literally like a party in a top.


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Posted on November 13th, 2012 8 Comments

8 Responses

  1. Donna says:

    What a great realization! I never thought about only needing a great top for a holiday party. This will change my shopping for a party this season. In fact, I think I may already have one or two tops that fit the bill. If not, I can always use a fantastic jacket over a more plain top. I love a good solution – thanks, Kim!


  2. Diane says:

    What a fabulous concept! Love every one. This blog is budget busting! 🙂

  3. Julie says:

    These are amazing! I’m about to have my first corporate holiday party experience, so this is a great list to have.

  4. c.w. says:

    Love all but the orange and the lace. Orange is not my color. Lace is not my thing. But I think both would be lovely on others. Excellent selection!

  5. Safari says:

    All of these except possibly the sequined tank would be distorted or unwearable on a woman with breasts. Any shirt that’s trying to make a flat rectangular space out of a woman’s torso just goes all to hell the minute curves are introduced to the mix. The hem rides up and hovers out inches away from the waistband, turning “slouch” into a tent.

    I know this isn’t a full-time plus size blog, and it doesn’t have to be. But practically no women are rectangles. Why does that tiny percentage of rectangle-women get allllll the fashion.

    • KimFrance says:

      Oh dear. I do really attempt to find pieces that are flowy and not too tight, but I’ve got no experience in how to look for pieces that work for the busty gal. Will try to serve you ladies better.

      • Safari says:

        Annoyingly, flowy is what works worst on a curvy torso. And again, I’m not even necessarily talking plus-size, just a woman with a cup size of C or greater. And it’s not like I hate your taste – aesthetically? Adore all these pieces. They’re fantastic.

        But on a woman with a chest, all those downward-angled details would start pointing straight out, like the direction arrows in google streetview. The beading on the red top would either start embarrassingly low on the bust, making things look saggy, or help the whole shirt ride up and hover. That’s why shirts that are cut to stop just at the waist are generally a bad idea for a woman with breasts too, since she always needs some length allowance.

        A shirt that isn’t cut for boobs either won’t handle the top of the breast well, or it won’t handle the bottom. Shirts like the white lace and the striped tank aren’t cut for even the top of the bust – they look like they’ll just squash a woman flat, creating sports-bra-boob or Christina Hendricks style “babyheads” depending on her level of endowment.

        The rest of them probably have enough room for a woman with breasts to get into them, but since the shirt isn’t designed for breasts it ignores them, falling straight down from whatever her widest point is, instead of tucking back under to show the contrast between bustline and waistline.

        That doesn’t mean curvy women can only wear strict tailoring – a shirt like the drapey white one could allllmost work, except it clearly doesn’t have that crucial dart on the sides of the bust that would allow breasts some room to point forward without distorting the armscye.

        Cool clothes almost never have that dart. It’s seen as retro or mumsy – much easier to find at the kind of stores where you can buy polo shirts embroidered with pictures of your dog. I just think it sucks that women’s bodies – before you even get into Sizeism and the politics of flesh – just a feature women’s bodies are highly likely to have at any size and any age are rejected, ignored, and dismissed.

  6. Heidi says:

    So perfect! I’m writing a post on what to wear for an office holiday party and I’m totally stealing the “party in a top” line 🙂