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Ashley Kozel and Donna Koffman shine 
at the Asolo Rep’s ‘Cabaret at the Tropicana’ Gala After Party at Louies Modern on March 5, 2016. Photo by Cliff Roles
Black Tie Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 2 years ago

Fa La La Fashion: Sarasota's most stylish scenesters give festive fashion advice

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‘Tis the season for festive fashion — but nothing that blinks, please.
by: Niki Kottmann Managing Editor of Arts and Entertainment

It’s that time of year. Your calendar is filled with holiday events, and each time you go in your closet, you wonder what genius decided green and red were good holiday colors.

Holiday fashion means many things — everything from tacky sweaters to diamond snowflake pendants. Everyone does it a little differently. We asked five fashionable Sarasota ladies to share their holiday favorites, and we think they offer some solid advice. 

Sally Schule

Sally Schule knows a thing or two about fashion (FYI, that's an understatement), so we trust her on this piece of advice:

Sally Schule forgoes her traditional black dress and rocks a pop of color at Key to the Cure 2016 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Photo by Cliff Roles
Sally Schule forgoes her traditional black dress and rocks a pop of color at Key to the Cure 2016 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Photo by Cliff Roles

“Lean on the rhinestones before the light-up Christmas trees,” she says. “Don’t shop at Party City — leave that for your kids.”

Schule says a piece doesn’t have to be green or red to be festive. Instead, she says, add more glitz, especially with metallic-colored garments or funky statement jewelry.

Another one of her favorite tactics is adding flair with a metallic scarf. Anyone who frequents black tie events knows Schule is the queen of the Little Black Dress. When the temperatures drop, her LBDs are topped with a shiny wrap.

No matter the occasion, Schule’s best advice is to base your look in the classics. 

"Stick to those classic pieces that are investment pieces — everybody should have a flowy black trouser that you can dress up and a fun top that has some sequins on it," she says. “It’s safe, but you can personalize it to make your own.”

Donna Koffman

Donna Koffman dazzles in a metallic dress at the Van Wezel Foundation Gala on Feb. 28, 2016. Photo by Cliff Roles
Donna Koffman dazzles in a metallic dress at the Van Wezel Foundation Gala on Feb. 28, 2016. Photo by Cliff Roles

Regardless of the season, Donna Koffman always looks vibrant. Whether it’s multicolored plaid shorts and a matching jacket or a white dress with a simple bodice and dramatic neckline, her look is always fresh and fun.

Koffman says the key to making any outfit holiday-ready is accessorizing with that season’s textures or colors. Velvet, leather, lace and fur are all popular this year, as are deep red, gold and green — though her favorite holiday colors are silver and gold.

As far as her holiday style goes, Koffman says it changes for different occasions. Family affairs are all about being “festive but functional,” she says, and celebrating with girlfriends is the time for party heels.

When asked where to draw the line between festive and over-the-top, she says it’s situational, but overall, she adheres to a “less is more” mindset.

“Sometimes tacky is on point,” she says. “The rest of the time, I strive for moderation. If your accessories are sparkly, or your makeup is geared toward the evening, keep your attire more subtle.”

Susan Malloy Jones

Susan Malloy Jones turned heads with her white and pink ensemble on Oct. 15, 2015 at Key to the Cure at Saks Fifth Avenue. Photo by Cliff Roles
Susan Malloy Jones turned heads with her white and pink ensemble on Oct. 15, 2015 at Key to the Cure at Saks Fifth Avenue. Photo by Cliff Roles

Susan Malloy Jones isn’t afraid to take risks with fashion, and the holidays are no exception.

“You can be festive without being predictable,” shes says. “The environment you’re going to be in is probably going to be decorated to that theme.”

Susan Malloy Jones is a big fan of sparkle, and she thinks adding a Swarovski brooch like this can make any outfit more festive. Courtesy photo
Susan Malloy Jones is a big fan of sparkle, and she thinks adding a Swarovski brooch like this can make any outfit more festive. Courtesy photo

To Malloy Jones, there’s no need to worry about sticking to reds and greens around the holidays unless that’s the dress code for whatever event she’s attending. However, she likes to include small colorful accents, such as red nail polish on her toes for laid-back holiday parties at home (which she calls “barefoot and jean” affairs).

Malloy Jones also loves wearing white for the holidays because it's "fun and unexpected."

“I think a lot of times, people only feel comfortable with monochromatic dressing in black," she says. "I think they often shortchange themselves in not doing it in other colors."

Whether it’s a Swarovski brooch or a sequined top, she encourages the eye-catching.

“Life is too short not to sparkle,” she says.

Rochelle Nigri

Regardless of the event, Rochelle Nigri always looks like she just walked off a runway.

Rochelle Nigri — Photo by Andrea Hillebrand
Rochelle Nigri — Photo by Andrea Hillebrand

Her secret? Switching up her makeup and nail color to make the same outfit appropriate for multiple occasions.

“A go-to accessory for the holiday season is Bordeaux-colored lipstick or nail polish with a pop of nail art from Paint Nail Bar,” she says. “Both allow me to transition a dress from the office to a holiday party seamlessly!”

During the holidays, she picks pieces that reflect the celebratory energy in the air. This year calls for extra celebration because of her parents’ 40th wedding anniversary right before Christmas, so she’ll use jubilant gold, silver and sequined garments.

As for trends, she’s noticed that pleats and poufs are definitely a popular look this season.

“Pleated accordion-style skirts in varying lengths and fabrics make for a playful addition to a holiday look,” she says.

Umbreen Khalidi-Majeed

Umbreen Khalidi-Majeed is a pro at adding her own eclectic — often Bohemian — twist to a traditional look.

Umbreen Khalidi-Majeed stuns at iconcept 2016 on Feb. 21, held at Saks Fifth Avenue. Photo by Cliff Roles
Umbreen Khalidi-Majeed stuns at iconcept 2016 on Feb. 21, held at Saks Fifth Avenue. Photo by Cliff Roles

Like the other fashionistas, Khalidi-Majeed thinks that metallics are perfect during the holidays. Other than her go-to stacked bangles and wide cuffs, Khalidi-Majeed’s favorite way to stay fashionably festive is to throw on her gold sequin Pucci mini dress. 

“I pair it with a black loose-fitting top,” she says. “So you can see the sequins through it, but it dials down that intense shine.” 

Khalidi-Majeed says her parrot ring is one of her favorite go-to statement pieces during celebrations like the holidays. Courtesy photo
Khalidi-Majeed says her parrot ring is one of her favorite go-to statement pieces during celebrations like the holidays. Courtesy photo

The holidays are a also a good excuse to be more “blingy,” she says, and the perfect way to glitz up an outfit is with brooches or cocktail rings. Khalidi-Majeed and her family travel a great deal, and one of her favorite souvenirs is an exotic animal ring — her two favorites being her parrot ring from Dubai and her tiger ring from India. 

After inheriting her grandmother’s collection of antique brooches, she has some unique fashion advice: 

“Go to a vintage store and buy brooches,” she says. “Fasten them in an interesting way around your waistline. You can even put them on a chain and make a necklace. Or put them on your shoes.”

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