Sugar Plum Visions: My High Glam, Low-Maintenance Holiday Outfit Formula

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Sponsored by JCPenney and ShopStyle Collective

‘Tis the season for surprises, and perhaps the biggest surprise of all this time? Donning an actual dress for the holidays – and JCPenney has so many great options to style up. I love a gauzy dress in the summer, and I am all about an easy house dress all year round, but when it comes to holiday dressing, it’s been years since I’ve felt the desire to put on anything that’s not long, flowy and exceptionally…roomy.

But this year, I felt the pull to sport something a little more playful, a little more festive. A little more celebratory of this ever-growing baby bump — yet still…easy to wear? And here we are.

dress | coat | tights | heels

Fortunately, I’ve landed on a bit of a formula for an outfit that reads decisively festive without trying too hard. Ready?

Isolate all the “holiday” features to the textures (in this case: corduroy, faux fur, polka dots + patent leather) and keep the rest of the details simple. Same proportions (short dress + short jacket). Same color. (This plummy burgundy is my current…jam.) And opt for comfort wherever possible.

The resulting effect is still glam, I promise, but there’s an ease about it that’s very…not shouty. And for someone whose style typically skews far more casual, this whole outfit was just one big ol’ pleasant surprise.

This year, I'm donning an actual dress for holiday parties. A little more playful, a little more festive, a little more celebratory...& even maternity friendly.
This year, I'm donning an actual dress for holiday parties. A little more playful, a little more festive, a little more celebratory...& even maternity friendly.
This year, I'm donning an actual dress for holiday parties. A little more playful, a little more festive, a little more celebratory...& even maternity friendly.
This year, I'm donning an actual dress for holiday parties. A little more playful, a little more festive, a little more celebratory...& even maternity friendly.

Ready for another surprise? Everything here is from JCPenney — and friends, the value proposition there is on point. So many on-trend fashions, loads of fun, giftable finds. Everything priced really freaking reasonably.

JCPenney has so many of the big national brands that we already know and love, and then — hot damn — really cute finds from house brands like Arizona and St. John’s Bay that feel both timeless and current. (This quarter-zip sweater with these Levi’s? Yes, please.)

And the price point for the quality can’t be beat. Case in point — both of the coats I’m wearing below are under $40 (with additional percent-off deals constantly coming and going, too), and both of them will see me through years of wear. Gotta love that.

More on all of my specific outfit pieces, below, but I have to call out: don’t miss the shoes. They might just be the Unicorn Kitten Heels I never knew I needed.

(And be sure to read all the way through for a few fun, giftable finds I hunted at JCPenney along the way, too. A great place for some last-minute, one-stop shopping — especially if you can rock their same-day pickup. Easy.)


This year, I'm donning an actual dress for holiday parties. A little more playful, a little more festive, a little more celebratory...& even maternity friendly.

Outfit Details

Melonie T 3/4 Sleeve Babydoll Dress / I usually gravitate toward longer, more bohemian dresses at the holidays, but something about the playfulness of this babydoll mini called to me, and I’m so glad I went for it. The super skinny-wale corduroy gives it a look and feel more akin to velvet but ever-so-slightly more casual (all about that). And the hue is the perfect plummy burgundy and Julieta-approved for my coloring, too — always a win. Super comfortable, and it definitely reads “short dress” without feeling too short. (I’m 5’5″ for reference — you could be significantly taller and still pull it off.) The size guide online recommended a size 2 for me, which is my usual pre-pregnancy size, but I sized up to a 4 to ensure it would accommodate my fuller bust and cover the bump without being too short.

Arizona Faux Fur Heavyweight Coat / Under $40, friends. Pushed myself outside of my comfort zone again here and went for the burgundy shade in this fuzzy little coat instead of defaulting to the more neutral taupe, and it feels SO. DERN. SPECIAL. Not to mention the overall monochromatic effect is pretty charming in its subtlety. (I love me some faux fur, but I love it even more when it doesn’t scream LOOK AT ME, I’M WEARING FUR.) Plus, it’s soft as heck, and genuinely warm, too. There’s even a snap-over-zipper closure, so you can be truly bundled if you so choose, and it zips ALL the way up. Super cozy pockets, and the length is just right for popping it on over a dress, or it’d be excellent with jeans. (In fact, I can’t wait to pair both the coat and the shoes with jeans for date night or a NYE-goes-denim look.) Also a really accessible price point. Wearing a S.

Berkshire Sheer Dot Tights / I can’t recall the last time I wore tights, and slipping them on instantly made me feel holiday-ready and, dare I say, even a liiiiittle bit sexy. These are standard (non-maternity) sizing, and they accommodated and even supported the belly just fine. Great quality and, again, great price ($12). Would usually be a size 1-2 pre-pregnancy; wearing a 2+ here to ensure the waistband wouldn’t pinch.

Liz Claiborne Hudson Pumps Kitten Heels / These might be my favorite part of the whole look, but the punchline: memory foam insole. And to be clear, while it sounds like it would be a thick, squishy lining, it’s really pretty subtle. I might not have noticed it at all were it not for the fact that, after an hour or so of wearing them, I actually had to stop and think about the shoes on my feet. As in “oh yeah, I’m still wearing heels! Man, these are comfortable!” On top of that, there’s the walkable but still sexy kitten heel, the patent leather, the pointed toe. They’re just good. The strappiness makes them feel a little bit more current. Oh, and the back zip! Just edgy enough. Quite possibly the perfect holiday shoe that is also just begging to be styled up with jeans (what won’t I try to pair with jeans…) — and they’d be great for the office, too. Wearing my usual 8, and it’s perf.


This year, I'm donning an actual dress for holiday parties. A little more playful, a little more festive, a little more celebratory...& even maternity friendly.

dress | coat | tights | heels | hat

More Ways To Warm Up This Party Dress

Ok, and because sometimes the weather dictates the fashion, I wanted to top this outfit with a couple of pieces that would actually repel the elements a bit, too. And don’t think for a minute I wouldn’t swap the heels for a pair of chunky black boots and wear this for lunch in the city. A little dressed-down, daytime holiday situation? Just my style.

Arizona Hooded Heavyweight Coat / Under $40. For when the forecast demands a more weather-resistant outer layer, this is an easy one to reach for. Despite the fact that it’s called “heavyweight,” it’s actually surprisingly light, so it keeps you insulated without weighing you down. I wouldn’t classify it as a coat I’d pull out for a full blown snowstorm, but for light rain or snow, or keeping the damp chill at bay — ideal. (Would be an easy one to layer under, also, since it’s not super bulky.) The full lining is quilted, so it pulls on easily over sweaters, and then it’s trimmed in faux sherpa, because cute. Nice roomy hood, and the pockets are deep enough for hands or a phone. It’d be such an easy topper for just about anything (dresses, leggings, joggers, jeans), so this is one I’ll keep by the front door or in the back of the car so I’m weather-ready at a moment’s notice. Also available in olive. Wearing a S.

Frye And Co Cable Knit Beanie / I’m becoming quite the collector of little pom pom hats, and this Frye beanie is among the coziest I own. It’s knit with a bit of stretch, so it’s dense, warm and doesn’t stretch out and get saggy-baggy over time. Available in seven cute colors, but I can never resist a winter white. Oh, and my little tip when I want the warmth of a beanie without the hat hair later: I twist a bit of the crown of my hair into a little bun (a tiny claw clip comes in handy here), leaving the pieces around the front and back down. When the beanie comes off, the twist comes out so there’s still some volume going on.

This year, I'm donning an actual dress for holiday parties. A little more playful, a little more festive, a little more celebratory...& even maternity friendly.
This year, I'm donning an actual dress for holiday parties. A little more playful, a little more festive, a little more celebratory...& even maternity friendly.

More Unexpectedly Fun Finds + Holidays Gift Ideas

When I was putting together these pieces online, I also realized JCPenney carries loads of favorite national brands and fun novelty items that would make great gifts, too. Picked up this little desktop vacuum so Lana can take ownership of the many eraser bits and pencil shavings that litter her homework area (I know, wow, Momfun…but guys, it’s also super cute). And Chris’ fave Levi’s 511s are well-stocked in a wash that he *gasp* doesn’t yet own. I even restocked my favorite vegan lash primer and mascara from Tarte when I was checking out (wearing both in the photos above — it’s easily the best clean mascara I’ve worn, and while many are good, this combo truly does not smudge).

A few more of my giftable favorites, below.


I mean, dang, friends. This whole actual dressing up thing? Kinda freaking fun. Now to find an excuse (or three) to do it more often!

xo,
Em

Thank you to JCPenney and ShopStyle Collective for sponsoring this post. It was such a fun excuse to break out of my comfort zone — and into something that, turns out, is equally comfy (and arguably more fun to wear). The online shopping experience of JCPenney was a breeze, too, and their outrageous deals are seriously addicting to shop. And thanks, friends, for sharing this space and supporting the brand partners that allow The Mom Edit team to keep doing our thing. We so appreciate it!

Friends! Follow me on Instagram for accessible, easily adaptable recipes; sneak peeks of The Mom Edit content (and sales!); and more snippets of our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!

Photos by the lovely and entertaining Carolyn Stockman. Thank you, friend!

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