A Holiday Outfit For The Chronically Cold…At Philly’s Magic Gardens





Ever since Megan sent in a pic of herself rocking a dress over pants….I’ve been scheming.  I figured – HEY!  I have cocktail dresses.  I have pants.  Why….not….put them together in some kind holiday mash-up and come up with something festive and warm?   RIGHT????

Well.  My initial attempts were total failures.  You know when you run into a dressing room and don’t feel like trying anything on but know you should?  So you just throw the dress over your head – leaving your jeans on – and then kinda squint into the mirror, balancing on your tiptoes all, “if I were in heels….and wearing spanx…” Yes?  All of my earlier attempts looked like that.  Like I was trying a dress on in a hurry, then forgot to take off my pants.

For the record, flare jeans and heels worked a little better than my trusty light-wash skinnies (and either type of jeans worked with a casual dress – see this old 2012 article for an example of a dress over flares)….but with an actual cocktail dress?  No.

My “epiphany” came (wow – that’s dramatic) while perusing Nordstrom’s selection of holiday denim.  I was surprised by the number of….let’s call ’em fancy pants.  There’s a whole host of patterned, textured, and otherwise very lux-looking jeans that are making my heart beat fast.  And while they’re perfect for dressing up a sweater….while browsing around….Trixie. Realized. Something*.



As it turns out, all my cocktail dresses needed was a pair of fancy pants.







Not warm enough?  Me neither.  So say hello to turtleneck.  #fistpump













These pics were taken in Philly’s Magic Gardens.  The place is aptly named.  It’s one of our fav places to wander around on a chilly Fall day (bring coffees and hot chocolate).   On Sundays, they often host little art workshops – called ‘family jams‘ for kids.  It’s not huge, but has some seriously cool passageways to explore, and a little courtyard for sitting.








(photo credits:  Mike Draugelis)




dress: ancient (pre baby days) Missoni dress…but for a similar vibe, try this Lush bodycon dress, or this Gypsy05 sleeveless minidress or even Young, Fabulous and Broke’s Clancy dress

sweater: Waffle Knit Cashmere (oh dear god it’s so expensive – I bought it during the anni sale….try this Vince Camuto oversized turtleneck sweater, or Joie’s swingy turtleneck sweater, or even this cozy boucle poncho by Chelsea 28.)

jeans: Hudson Nico Super Skinny Jeans in Anarchy Pinstripe

boots: old, but I love these Jessica Simpson booties.

necklace: ancient, but Anne Klein’s crystal chain necklace would do the trick

clutch: vintage, but Rebecca Minkoff’s Leo Envelope Clutch is beyond cool, and what I wish I was carrying.

sunnies: Classic Ray-bans

unmentionables: Spanx (in the spirit of full disclosure)


To Recreate:




1.  Faux Fur Infinity ScarfMissoni Knit Tank Dress | 7 For All Mankind Pieced Skinny Jeans in Gray Floral Shantung |  Halogen Patent Leather Clutch


2. Topshop Sweater Dress | Joe’s Mid-Rise Skinnies in Winter White Plaid (40% OFF!!) | Natasha Couture Crystal Clutch


3. Topshop Twist Front Faux Fur Scarf | Felicity & Coco Metallic Textured Knit Sheath Dress |  Paige Verdugo Ultra Skinnies in Cleo Embellished  | Jessica McClintock Tweed Clutch


4. Topshop High Neck Geo Print Dress | Paige Verdugo Ultra Skinnies in Pewter Crackle | Mickey London Beaded Clutch



Thoughts?  Tempted to try the dress-over-pants thing?




A huge thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post!  As always, all thoughts, opinions,  product choices, article direction and blatant stealing of ideas from my readers (thanks again Megan!!) are my own.


*Anyone catch the Knuffle Bunny reference?  It’s been on repeat (and repeat and repeat and repeat) over here.  Pax just realized that there are TWO sequels to the original and they are now TAKING OVER MY LIFE.




  1. LOVE LOVE!….Nailed it again! OMG!
    So question is….which dress would you pick first to try and recreate this look??..I can’t decide..

    • Belinda, do you have any old cocktail dresses in your closet? Really, anything short and fitted would work….even a strapless dress. Actually, strapless would be really cool….I’d prob layer it over a thin turtleneck. Or a sweater dress? Do you have one? Sweater dresses over fancy pants is seriously cozy and cute.

  2. LOVE that turtleneck! I’m a fellow turtleneck lover, and have really missed them while I’m nursing-but this one would be easy enough to pull up! And, I don’t know if you noticed, but it’s on sale! Cheaper than the Joie version you also linked. Thanks!

  3. Do you have any tricks for keeping the dress from sticking to your legs & bunching up as you walk? (Besides using a lined dress, I guess?) I have an unlined thrift store immodestly-short dress I’ve never worn that this could be perfect with–except I fear I’d wind up with a crotch full of fabric once I stepped outside.

  4. And now, to recreate maternity style! Oh, Knuffle Bunny — the third one may have made me cry. And when I say cry, I mean honest to God sniffles and blubbering.

  5. I’ve tried the dress over pants thing (with what I thought was the perfect dress for it!) but alas, I didn’t do so well. Perhaps its because I carry all my baggage in my midsection (tummy and hips)? Any thoughts on how to adapt this for us curvier ladies?

  6. Going to try this one! (Maybe while I run through the park and zoom past the school?). Just found you, but love the blog for the inspiration and the dose of Philadelphia. I’ve been gone for four years and am still homesick (snurp!).

  7. I love the look with the sweater — to me, it captures the best of everything in a way that makes sense for cold weather! But really, the motivation for commenting is that I particularly LOVE your hair at this length. I think the shortish-shag (or even a little shorter than it is now) looks stunning on you. Fave: the taken-from-above sunglasses-walking-solo shot. Gorgeous. I know, you didn’t ask, but. 🙂 (Another bc veteran!)

  8. Shana, I love how you have been searching out locations for recent posts! You make living life feel magical, and you make taking the time to be artistic and creative worth the work. Esther

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