Holiday Party Outfit – Cocktail Peplum (& t+j styling challenge!)


Peplum Dress: H&M Divided sz 2 (item # 061128, $30), Pumps: CL Elissa 100 (similar in sz 4-11)
Earrings: from craft fair (similar)  Clutch: Chanel WOC  Lipcolor: Rimmel “Bordeaux”
Bracelets: thrifted chain & cuffs thanks to t+j designs (enter their styling challenge here)

In my last holiday-themed post, I showed a glitzy, fun pairing for a night out on the town. Today’s outfit incorporates similar colors and some of the same accessories, but the finished look feels more glamorous and cocktail-appropriate. I started with my hair partially pinned, but with a neckline like this plus big earrings – hair swept back is the way to go.


Since the coy peplum hem adds width to my hips, I tried to balance it out with sleek, tall heels and higher hair (by way of velcro bumpit). For finishing touches, I grabbed statement earrings and chunky but classic wrist decor. I’ve received lots of questions on shopping for vintage chain bracelets and necklaces…you’d be surprised at how easy and affordable it is. I’ll do a quick e Bay tutorial tomorrow!


Tiffany of I am Style-ish kindly sent over these adjustable bracelets from her jewelry line, t+j Designs

t+j Designs is currently hosting a statement jewelry styling challenge, where bloggers and non-bloggers alike can enter a photo to win one of two fun jewelry prize packs. Please visit Tiffany’s post here for all the rules and details. Tiffany, Khatu, Kelly and I will select one of the winners – so please show us your favorite outfit incorporating statement jewelry (and please check out those ladies’ fab personal looks)!


Top left: thrifted chain. Bottom left: t+j Designs mesh & gold bangle Right: t+j Designs braided cuff

As Tiffany mentioned in her post, some of us struggle with styling bigger jewelry and dangly earrings (especially petite women who don’t want to be overwhelmed by accessories). My rule of thumb has always been “comfort is key.” Earrings bigger than 2-3 inches not only look silly against my face, but also weigh down my earlobes. Bracelet “arm parties” have been the trend amongst bloggers, but for those of us who work on a computer – how comfortable is that stack of metal clanking against our wrists? And lastly, I’m trying to avoid neck strain by staying away from necklaces over 5 ounces, even if it means turning to cheaper, lightweight materials. After you have pieces that are comfortable to wear, it’s easy to use simple outfits (like LBDs) as canvases to showcase your statement jewelry.


Since bracelets rarely fit my wrists, I opted for these open-style cuffs from Tiffany’s line. I love the large braided cuff (only $16, plus 25% off w/ code THANKS until 11/30) which has more of a rose gold finish than shiny gold. It’s easily pliable and lightweight. I tend to forget that I have it on, even through long days of typing at a computer. If you have a rose gold watch, I can only imagine how beautiful the pair would be together.


To wrap up this post, here is a side and back view. This dress is beautiful and a great value for $30, but it has it’s complications. The shape is unforgiving, and thus cannot be worn to delicious dinner parties. The bottom is very snug, and causes unsightly flaring right below my thighs (flaring and pulling across the front are surefire signs of a garment being too tight). This dress also rides up when worn with tights, so I have to cross my fingers for unseasonably warm weather. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to wear it to an early evening cocktail party next week.

Readers – did anyone else pick up this dress? I’d love to see how you style it.
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  1. Anonymous wrote:

    stunning! I was looking for that dress in HM store on the west coast, no luck =(

    Posted 12.2.11 Reply
  2. Deirdre P wrote:

    Just wanted to say that I LOVE your style. I've been reading your blog for a few months now — ever since I realized that I really need to start wearing clothes that fit me. Thanks so much for all the fabulous tips! ~Deirdre

    Posted 11.30.11 Reply
  3. Jagiri wrote:

    You really look stunning. I hope you have a good party to take it to

    I did tell you

    Posted 11.30.11 Reply
  4. @Christie THanks for letting me know! I am sticking with the CK Elara pumps : )

    @L Ng It's hard to tell gold from rose gold tone in their photos, but if you email Tiffany or their cust service I'm sure someone will let you know the options!

    @claudia Hi Claudia, I'm using the same technique from that video. I just have both sides of hair pulled back partially in the first photo and then bobby pinned, and then a low ponytail for the other pics.

    @Anonymous I have the same problem. Sometimes when I don't section off enough hair to sufficiently cover the bumpit, the corners will stick out. I think the design could definitely be improved and don't know why they don't just make it smaller and rounder! Trimming might work, or you could try teasing your hair before laying it on top of the bumpit. That might give your hair more volume and allow it to cover the edges.

    @Tam I don't have any fancier nylons. Thanks for the tip! $3 at the rack is not bad.

    @HelloKay Thank you for posting to say hello! Best of luck to you in finding your own style and items that flatter you, and hopefully we all can learn from each other.

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  5. Michelle wrote:

    This dress looks so great on you!! I have my 10 year HS reunion coming (still did not go shopping for it…less than a week away…oops!) This would be a great option!

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  6. HelloKay wrote:

    I've been reading your blog for a few months now, and I'm finally posting!
    Thanks so much for all of your hints and tricks– I'm 4'10'' and have been a size 2-4 my whole life. I graduated from college several years ago, and I am just now finding my own style; it has been very hard to find clothing in a small size that make me look and feel professional.
    Your tips have been so welcome, and I'm very glad I found your site.
    Thank you again for sharing, and best wishes!

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  7. You look so glamorous – love the earrings and the shoes!

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  8. Tam wrote:

    This is a great cocktail party outfit! The peplum dress looks wonderful on you.

    Regarding the riding up with tights issue, have you tried some fancier nylons instead of tights? I often wear the black ones with subtle patterns (tonal diamonds or polka dots) that are available at Nordstrom Rack for about $3. The smallest size fits me well, and I'm about 4'11" and 90-95 lbs.


    Hello, Framboise!

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  9. LC wrote:

    this look is so simple, yet glam at the same time. the dress looks amazing on you!

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  10. this outfit is perfect for my next holiday!!!! I will look forward to complete it with every detail you've talked about starting with the dress and accesories, ending beautiful with the make up and shoes

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  11. Carla Krae wrote:

    You look great. As my boyfriend would say, "Helloooo, nurse!"

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi!! You look fabulous!!!
    I recently bought the Velcro Bumpit – thanks for your recommendation!!! Do you find the corners stick out when you style it the way you did in this post? luckily my hair colour matches exactly but it is a concern. Thinking about trimming it down. Thoughts??
    much appreciated for all your posts!!

    Posted 11.29.11 Reply
  13. Leslie wrote:

    I love this outfit! An up to date classic. You look fab!!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  14. I love how you mixed all the metal colors! I didn't notice how tight the dress probably bc it's so gorgeous! I will be checking out the t+j line! Tiffany is the first blogger I actually followed consistently. I have and still love her blog! So amazing to see she has a line 🙂

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  15. Samantha wrote:

    You look absolutely GORGEOUS in the dress! I'm so glad you're wearing it to a cocktail party next week! I've been waiting to see you style it since you got it from H&M;!! I never made it back to get the dress! Darn!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  16. Dang girl! Looking good! I'm getting the "new Loubie" itch and your red shoes aren't helping!! Gah!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  17. Mets GirLL wrote:

    I really, really love that dress! I hope my H&M; has it and it looks ok on me because that would be the perfect birthday dress.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  18. Megan wrote:

    So pretty with the red pumps!! Definitely a great deal on the dress too!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  19. R.L. wrote:

    I wish all good party dresses cost around this much given how much they are worn compared to everyday clothes. Ladies with shorter hair may want to reconsider really long earrings too. When my hair was a few inches below my chin, I I looked silly with longer earrings until my hair grew out. Anyway, looking forward to your eBay tutorial! I guess I better buy the chain necklaces I have on my watchlist bec I suspect chain necklaces and bracelets will be selling out as soon as you do your post 😉

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  20. wrote:

    I went to look for the dress at H&M; right after you showed us last time…I think my hips are too wide for it…cuz it was not flattering for me 🙁 You on the other hand look fabulous!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  21. Kiwi wrote:

    You look great in the dress and you made the dress look like it's worth at least ten times its price lol.
    I tried to go to H&M; to look for the dress, but didn't see it =(

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, You look like a million dollars! I absolutely love everything about this outfit! It's so glamorous! Thanks for all the wonderful tips. I'm new to this blog and am already hooked. You are amazing!


    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  23. claudia wrote:

    Jean, you look amazing! I probably would have never considered a dress like that on the rack, but you make me definitely consider looking for it at my local HM.

    is the technique you used for your hair the same as the tutorial you did on using the velcro bumpit? it looks like the "bump" is more forward to create more of a "poof" look? i like it, and if what you did is any different than your previous tutorial, can you please do a tutorial on it?


    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  24. xJOLE wrote:

    I've yet to see this dress in Canadian stores, but the fit is DIVINE on you. I wish the zipper wasn't so exposed, but for only $30, who can really complain?! Love that you opted out of a necklace with the one-shouldered piece.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  25. GYC wrote:

    wow you look amazing! the dress really accentuates your slim figure! =)

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  26. you look absolutely GORGEOUS!! i bet you'll be the bell of the ball at every holiday party!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  27. Vonnie wrote:

    I adore the zipper detail on that dress. It was an unexpected surprise!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  28. You look so good in cocktail attire! Ever since I saw this dress a couple of weeks ago (with size 2 out of stock for that matter), it has disappeared off ALL racks. ughh…

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  29. I'm absolutely in love with the colour of those heels! Really nicely styled too 🙂

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  30. Stunning as always.

    I would really appreciate it if you could check my blogs…..and follow if you like it.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  31. L Ng wrote:

    love the braided bracelet and it's rose gold finish. do you know if they have other accessories of similar color?

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  32. Hellen wrote:

    Semi-new reader & haven't ever commented (at least not in awhile). Hi!

    Jean, you'd be the envy of everyone at any party! So gorgeous. 🙂

    I'm in a rut trying to just pass my classes at school, but reading your blog gives me hope for my future fashion endeavors! You're always beautiful in everything, inside and out. You inspire me to work out and make sure I don't let myself go hahaha.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  33. Wow! You look absolutely incredible. I love the peplum look

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  34. Angie wrote:

    you look classically, elegant jean. this peplum dress is a keeper! i'm really enticed to go hunt for one myself. the red lip and pulled back pony suits you.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  35. itzLina wrote:

    Stunning! I love how you can pull of you go from professional and chic, to laid back with jeans and a basic tee with accessories, to this glamorous red carpet look! Your lips match your shoes perfectly, awesomeness =D What did the bf say when he saw you like this? "May I take you out to dinner tonight, please?" teehee.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  36. Jackie wrote:

    You look amazing!!

    I Agree about styling bracelets. I work on the computer so I can't do chunky bracelets (not that they ever fit) and/or uber long nails 0_0

    I love how you matched your earrings to your shoes and lipstick here and the dress looks gorgeous.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  37. Anonymous wrote:

    one word, gorgeous!! you should wear more red lipstick like this! 🙂

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  38. Katherine wrote:

    How gorgeous do you look?? I feel the same way about mega big "arm parties" but did pick up a studded cuff the other day – it does clank some against a laptop though so I just push it further up my arm. You look amazing here!!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  39. lin wrote:

    jean, you look beautiful in the pics. i love all the accessories you added from the earrings all the way down to your pumps. great suggestions on how to dress up a lbd with statement jewelry. 😀

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  40. Christie wrote:

    Cole Haan "Air Talia" leopard pumps on Rue La La today… in case your search continues! Come in 5, 5.5.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  41. Anna wrote:

    great look!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  42. You look so gorgeous in all these photos – love the crimson lip! Those earrings are SO my style – I love them!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  43. I have that braided cuff too – hey I'm wearing it today LOL!

    Jean, in the first picture you could be Wendy's sister, seriously!!!

    This dress looks fantastic on you but I don't think I could pull off the peplum skirt and when you said that it's not for dinner parties right away it would be a no go for me 😛 Loooove your heels, are those a recent purchase?

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  44. Alexandra wrote:

    Wow, you look so amazing. That darker lipstick really becomes you. Also a tutorial on the hairstyle you are wearing would be much appreciated.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  45. Alexandra wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  46. Beautiful Jean!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  47. Anne wrote:

    You look stunning!!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  48. I looove your outfit, the red shoes pop. I love the shade of red as well, not too dark not too light!

    I'm so short so I always try to choose heels with a platform but ones without like yours look so much classier.

    😀 thanks for the tips!

    xoxo champagne

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  49. Love the dress! You look stunning. From Brooklyn with love ~jen

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply
  50. mai wrote:

    LOVE how you accessorized this look! The shoes are probably my favorite though!

    Posted 11.28.11 Reply

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