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What to Wear to the Theater for the Holidays

December 17, 2018 by Katie Woolley & Aniela Wendt
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Hi there, Katie and Aniela here, co-founders of Kae Manning Studio! Last you heard from us, we shared some tips for summer theater outfits.  As fashion stylists, we make it a point to ensure you’re always looking and feeling your best for every occasion and season. With temperatures dropping and festivities climbing, nothing feels cozier than going to see a show. So we’re back once more to sort out your holiday theater wardrobe.  

Whether accompanying family, friends, or a date, we’ve curated looks for every occasion. Even if your idea of a jolly time is typically more red-nosed reindeer than red carpet, we want to help land you on the best-dressed list.

Family Night

Mixed metals in warm neutrals are an elevated take on holiday shine. Pair oyster, pewter, champagne, yellow gold, and bronze for a look of luxurious decadence. Just be wary of a red wine spill if you’re heading to Sardi’s with the fam for a pre-theater bite!

The hero piece in this outfit is the metallic coated trouser — front pleats are back in a big way, and a crop is always flattering. Tuck a simple but elegant charmeuse blouse into the high waisted pant and then top it off with a winter white faux fur layer. It gets cold in the theater so your coat can double as a cozy blanket! Speaking of comfort, block heels ensure that you don’t have to limp home at the end of the evening. (This nutmeg pair is even called the 12 hour pump!) Bold architectural accessories, such as these statement earrings, pointer-finger ring and geometric clutch, polish off the look.

1. Earrings, Bauble Bar, $36
2. Ring, Charlotte Cauwe, $250
3. Pumps, Banana Republic, $128
4. Clutch, SSY, $99 
5. Cropped pants, Emporio Armani, $309 
6. Faux fur jacket, ASOS, $298
7. Tank, Cinq a Sept, $295

Guys, leave the reindeer jumpers to Mark Darcy! Opt instead for a cool-guy take on the holiday sweater. Choose a neutral cardigan (buttoned all the way up!) and slip on a camel sport coat over top. In addition to its understated chic factor, this tonal combination is a cozier and fresher than a traditional dress shirt / sport coat uniform.

Tartans continue to be a popular holiday mainstay and are available in a variety of colors and scales. To incorporate this pattern into a head-to-toe neutral look, choose a trouser with a beige or oatmeal background. Don’t skip a visit to the tailor; we suggest a cropped and cuffed hem. Added texture from the chunky cable knit scarf gives this monochromatic outfit dimension and continues the wintery vibes. A sleek bracelet and chelsea boot in warm tones finish the look.

1. Trouser, Zara, $79
2. Bracelet, Miansai, $185
3. Scarf, The Lampstand, $58
4. Sport coat, Zara, $119
5. Cardigan, Uniqlo, $29
6. Boots, Aldo, $165

Besties Night Out

Who else can you count on if not your best pals to entertain some outfit experimentation?! As they say, more is more, and why skimp on the holiday spirit when with friends? Choose a statement piece and layer on. This multi-colored paillette top, a fresh take on sequins, starts the party and is anything but dull. When wearing a cropped top, opt for a high waisted skirt to balance torso proportions and avoid indecent exposure. You might sparkle as bright as a disco ball, but this is the theater after all! The polka dot flocking on this skirt mirrors the sequins’ circular shape and the ankle length tulle, paired with a lovely d’Orsay bow pump, amps up the volume further.

You can still make a statement with bold jewelry, just keep the colors and themes consistent. That’s why this circular magenta stud works so well. Don’t hold back now — throw in a multi-color glitter clutch too, and you’re ready to hit the town!

1. Earrings, Kate Spade, $58
2. Clutch, Aqua, $68
3. Crop Top, Raine, $198
4. Maxi Skirt, Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific, $129
5. D’Orsay Pumps, SJP, $395

“More is more” works for the gents, too! Show your friends you know what you’re doing sartorially with pattern play. Plaid, speckle, brogue, crosshatch — the gang’s all here! What really pulls this look together is color mixing within a single hue, as shown here with various shades of blue.

Pattern repetition is a definite DO! Pair a crisp plaid shirt underneath a vibrant blue glen plaid suit, just make sure to vary the scale of the pattern. A brogue lace-up boot continues the visual intrigue and is always a dapper choice. Make sure your pant is slim, tapered, and falls just before breaking at the vamp of your shoe. And don’t forget to accessorize! A speckled navy tie picks up the sparkles in this cute holiday “I Believe” lapel pin, which shows a playful spirit in a more subtle way. A brushed metal tie clip and cross hatch blue pocket square top off this party look.

1. Suit, Suitsupply, $799
2. Pocket square, The Tie Bar, $10
3. Tie clip, J. Crew, $30
4. Lapel pin, Etsy, $11
5. Shirt, Bonobos, $98
6. Tie, Combatant Gentleman, $12 
7. Boots, Johnston & Murphy, $179

Date Night

For theater date night, it’s key to walk the line between sexy and sophisticated. Jewel-tone velvets are a perennial winter hit, and pops of emerald green read as luxurious and sultry. A sheer top offers added coverage to a slinky silhouette and steps up the cool factor, as does a black cape layer versus a more traditional overcoat. It might seem counterintuitive to incorporate so many different textures — lace, and mesh, and snakeskin oh my! However, by working within the same black/green color scheme, you maintain a cohesive look. Try a sleek clutch like this vintage Etsy find (points for upcycling!), then pair sky high pumps with lady-like earrings to strike the perfect balance.

1. Cape blazer, Boohoo, $20
2. Clutch, vintage, $50
3. Lace pumps, Guess, $62 
4. Earrings, Kate Spade, $48
5. Slip Dress, Xscape, $132


For a romantic evening, sleek and chic can’t be beat, but don’t forget the holiday flare! Feel free to have some fun, but make sure not to go too overboard. To master the festive date night look, balance out a playful pattern with clean lines and long lean proportions in complementary colors. Start with the basics and build from there. A black classic tapered trouser paired with a clean cap toe boot creates an elongated and slimming effect.  A simple heather grey cashmere turtleneck is the final touch of the sleek foundation, and choosing a lighter shade of grey allows the novelty marble pattern of this blazer to pop. A sharp wool overcoat with a strong shoulder works to subdue the blazer’s boldness without stifling it, and bottle green is a sophisticated way to incorporate color into your otherwise neutral palette.

1. Overcoat, TOPMAN, $180
2. Turtleneck, Abercrombie & Fitch, $150
3. Trouser, J. Crew, $225
4. Blazer, JANNOT, $99
5. Boots, ASOS, $48

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