Y ou see it all the time. Women dressed up, out for a nice dinner at a fancy place or attending a black-tie fundraiser, swaddling their expensive cocktail frocks in pastel pashmina wraps that are just all wrong. A wrap breaks up the lines of a structured dress, and it isn’t really warm enough for the chilly evenings of fall and winter. Though this is far from the most serious fashion offense, the look and silhouette come off as dated.
A pashmina is more passable with a long, flowing, boho-chic kind of dress when attending an island wedding or as a layer over a light dress as the sun is setting at the beach. When wearing a cocktail dress, especially in these colder months leading up to the holidays, go for structured, sexy and classic.
For an example, think about Kate Moss, who wore a tailored black tux jacket with three-quarter-length sleeves over her strapless black velvet dress when she arrived at a recent event (via helicopter). Chances are it was a chilly ride in the chopper and she needed something to keep her warm until she hit the red carpet. The combo looked chic and unfussy with a touch of masculine tailoring to temper the sexiness of the dress. This formula is a no-fail way to add a practical and stylish layer to an evening ensemble.
A tux-style jacket is versatile enough to throw on over a fancy dress, and you can get extra mileage out of it by wearing it with slim black cigarette pants and simple black heels. Traditional black is the best investment because it’s the easiest to wear with a black or dark-colored dress. Or try an ivory jacket with a black lapel ($108 at Express) to draw a nice contrast and add drama to a simple black dress.
For a pop of holiday color, an emerald green charmeuse fitted blazer is festive and eye-catching ($229 at Talbots). It pairs well with black, gold, ivory or even certain shades of smoky gray. Balance out the strong color with bold accessories that might have subtle hints of a similar shade of green.
A velvet tux jacket takes the cover-up into fancier territory. A midnight blue version ($150 at Topshop) feels rich and a little less expected.
If the tux look is too tailored or buttoned up for your taste, a cropped jacket with sequins or faux fur detail is an option. Express carries a sequined moto-style jacket ($128) in a shrunken fit, and it can be left open over a dress. (Stick with a nonmetallic colored dress if you wear a sequined jacket). Another metallic option, but with a more elegant appeal, is a gold jacket from Lanvin ($3,280 at Net-a-porter.com). If that’s too pricey for your budget, look for something similar at a lower cost in vintage boutiques.\\
A cropped sequined jacket by Michael Michael Kors ($195 at Net-a-porter.com) strikes a nice balance among the pieces mentioned here. It’s a great length, and it’s neither too fitted nor too boxy. A smattering of sequins keeps it dressy-looking, and the dark hue pairs well with a variety of dresses and prints.
There’s no need to shiver as you wait in the valet line after an evening event. Ditch the pashmina and go for something that pulls your look together and also keeps you warm.