Rules for Nailing the Holiday Party Outfit
According to Margo & Me's Jenny Bernheim. In Collaboration with BCBGMAXAZRIA.
Okay, so you've (vaguely? Maybe? Sorta?) got a hold on the whole buying-everyone-you've-met-for-even-30-seconds-a-little-something part of the season. Next up on your holiday to do list? Yourself. As in, taking care of what you're going to wear—and how to do your makeup, hair, get around, drink, make small talk...—this party season.
We went straight to Hollywood stylist Tara Swennen for help with our gift-giving lists (as she tells it, she basically shops for a living), so when it came to occasion dressing, we turned to Jenny Bernheim of Margo & Me, who, we'll be honest, is a real expert in the arena. Turns out Bernheim pretty much has the whole getting ready routine down to an art as we quickly realized when she welcomed us into her gorgeous West Hollywood apartment, which she shares with her husband. Her flea market finds decoration game is the kind of stuff Pinterest board dreams are basically made of. As her pup, Margo (yes, the namesake behind her blog) stole the show (she basically didn't leave Bernheim's side the entire time), the blogger sipped champagne and primped in her vintage-inspired bathroom.
The major takeaways? A little masking the night before is key, getting too matchy-matchy with your S/O is never a good idea, sometimes an ugly sweater party (complete with Jägerbombs) beats the fancy stuff, and secret Snapchats win everytime. See for yourself, here.
On the ensemble-planning process:
"I think with holidays, you have such a huge excuse to actually get dressed up. You can throw on the sparkle, the feathers and everything in between. Whereas with summer and spring, it’s more minimal. [For holidays], you can throw on the chunky jewelry and layer the necklaces up, which is my dream. I love doing that kind of stuff. I think holiday dressing is definitely my favorite.
For the most part, I know exactly what I’m going to be wearing to an event. If it’s a last minute thing, I’ll go through like 75 different things, depending on my mood. But I think for the most part, I know exactly what I’m going to be wearing."
On finding the perfect holiday party dress (& how it's all about a sequin):
"Oh my gosh, my perfect holiday party dress… well, this season, I’m shifting a little bit away from the sequins, although I’m not mad at a good sequin. Digging the feathers. But I’m also really into the lace, so anything with a high lace neckline or like a lace long sleeve mixed with a chiffon. I kind of love that texture and pattern play right now."
On what really goes into holiday party prep, beauty-wise:
"It’s like a weeklong process that goes into it, getting ready for holiday parties. [Laughs] First, it’s the whitening teeth trays. You’ve got to, like, build it out. Maybe, depending on the season, I go for a little spray tan. Definitely gotta build up that skincare routine—it’s got to be porcelain. Let’s see… I think definitely the night before, I’ll prep with, like, a really yummy mask. And then the day of, it’s all about a really light complexion. I don’t like overdoing it. Anything that just feels really classic and pretty and soft."
And as for that hair:
"When it comes to doing my hair, I mean come on; I have bangs, I have short hair, so it all pretty much stays the same. I might do a little bouffant here and there. Unless I decide to get really crazy with a braid. Love a good braid."
On her go-to beauty look (& how crazier nights call for crazier make-up):
"My go-to beauty look is definitely the winged eyeliner. I kind of build it out a little bit more sometimes, depending on how crazy the night’s going to get. And a red lip for sure. It just depends on the color of your dress."
On sharing the getting ready process with her husband (over champagne):
"Before we even start getting ready, the champagne is flowing. My husband and I turn on the record player to some oldies jam. He’s in his bathroom and I’m in mine, and we come together and we’re like, 'oh, you’re cute’ and ‘you’re cute, let’s go!’ [laugh]"
On nixing getting overly matchy-matchy with one another:
"My husband is so courteous. He always asks what I’m wearing first. I think guys have it so easy, because they have, like, four colors they have to choose from, and with holidays it’s narrowed down to two—like a navy or a black. Maybe a maroon too. I love a good maroon velvet. So playing off of what he’s wearing… so if he were wearing maroon velvet, I would wear like a silky silver dress. That would be so timeless and classic. So yeah, playing off the two, but not being too match-y, because that’s just cheesy and everyone can see through it."
On what you'll find inside her night out clutch:
"When I’m packing my clutch, I definitely bring my Mophie, because I know there’s going to be a lot of Snapping and Instagramming involved, so I’ve got to be fully charged. A comb, because of these guys [her bangs]. Lipstick. And eyeliner. Those are my top picks."
On the perfect holiday party, Jägerbombs and seating charts:
"My favorite kind of holiday party would have to be one with a really long table, that’s like, completely done to the nines, when everyone has their perfect little seating chart arrangement, and then when everyone sticks around after because they drink way too much champagne and then it turns into a dance party. There’s such a broad range of fun parties, because I really love like a good ugly sweater, beer-drinking kind of party, like [with] Jägerbombs. Not mad about that kind of party. But obviously, I’m such a fan of a swanky soirée, to get dressed up and go to a fun event. So I don’t know, I don’t think I can pinpoint just one. Maybe this season!"
On her go-to party cocktail (save this for this season, guys):
"For me, I wear a lot of white, so drinking red wine is really tricky and a little bit dangerous. And with champagne, you don’t need a lot of it. You just kind of sip it, and maybe add a little splash of vodka in your champagne. I call it a Silver Bullet. Who knows, get a little crazy."
On her Snapchatting strategy:
"I’m a secret Snapper, not like that kid that runs off to the side and is like, ‘Hi guys! I’m here at this event!’ Because I don’t like to be that wacko that’s like sitting at the dinner table, ‘Hi! Look at me!’ So I’ll kind of slyly do it, and show little tidbits here and there, because it’s all about giving people the inside scoop without being overly Snappy to the people around you, because you still want to be courteous in a social setting."
On what goes down at the end of the night:
"The shoes come off in the cab or the Uber! And they end up in the hallway, and clothes are along the way. Then you wake up the next morning and figure out where everything is. [Laughs]"