Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Fashion forward this Holiday Season

Valerie McPhail

(12/2016) The season of holiday gift giving is always an event. It is something we contemplate, plan out and execute, and for most, it is a chore. Despite this overwhelming spirit that withstands, I never found this to be the case. Growing up with a family of five, Christmas shopping was always a family affair: my parents, sisters and I would jump in the SUV to the mall and then proceed to strategically split up into groups so that we could buy each other gifts in confidence. This was a definite well-anticipated event that blossomed in my teenage years. I cherished these trips to the malls. The time spent paying forward a gift and then preparing it for Christmas morning — wrapping it for under the tree never ceases to bring me joy.

Now, as these times with family remain as a sweet memory of my childhood, the whole system of Christmas wish lists has yet to leave my routine. The times of circling gifts found in catalogs at the dinner table with dad have now grown into memos on my MacBook, reminding myself of my needs and fancies, as my holiday shopping list remains a running mental note of ideas I have for others as I explore shopping. The more life matures and becomes busier with the distractions of adulthood, the entire nucleus of gift giving become more apparent: A desire for appreciation. As it rings true for the holidays, in every season it is important to remind ourselves what we want in life, and to experience the fruition of these blessings through a spirit of gift giving unto others. Both components make the world go round in love.

From the sparkles that twinkle on lit Christmas trees and the tinsel around the fireplace, to the lacey party dresses and cozy turtleneck sweaters: there is a sweet spot that avows a romance to this time of year. Despite the frigid weather, there is a warmth of spirit in the conventions and clothing of this holiday season. As you prepare to participate in the seasonal festivities, be sure to treat yourself. One of the most rewarding ways to do so is to clean sweep your wardrobe. Not only will tailoring your needs bring great clarity and satisfaction to how you express yourself, but it will also allow you to focus on abundantly giving, in this holiday season.

For, like other forms of art, clothing is an outlet of expression. The clothes we decide to wear characterize our personalities. They have the power to assign, define and attribute. In New York, the concept of personal expression has turned into a movement where communities of like-minded people dress in a similar manner. Leather motorcycle jackets and Stan Smiths, men’s high watered chinos and plain black tees are the epitome of the city’s downtown scene — even with a myriad of commercial shops and thrifting opportunities, the adventure becomes an overwhelming journey launched into confusion. Thoughts of slimming down the wardrobe to a tee is a stimulating idea that helps redefine conceptions on how clothing is worn and appreciated. To clean out the closet and get to a standard point of ten or twelve go-to items means to create a uniform wardrobe. The chosen pieces converse with one another even to the far extent where outfits are never boring — rather, quite the contrary: they are beautifully admired and cherished.

Scaling down one’s wardrobe is an investment, similar to shopping for fashion gifts this holiday season. Both are overwhelming, but after considering the value there comes a peace of mind when the thought of focusing on others measures the value for taking care of self. It is talent to make unvaried clothing magical. The key to unlocking a symbiosis between styles and items is found in the investment. It will mean differently to various walks of life. The little black dress, leather burgundy loafers, suit blazer, pair of flats, dark washed jeans and ankle Chelsea boots all carry different functions for the everyday life. Nonetheless, they find themselves in everyone’s closet. These items, along with the continued list of basics — tank tops, a grey sweatshirt and skinny jeans can help shave off the time and money wasted searching for the perfect wardrobe. Cleaning out the closet means taking inventory and covering your needs so that you can enjoy getting up and dressing up every morning for the day. The uniform is never boring; it simply makes a definitive statement of personal style. The power behind executing the basic pieces is understanding the styles that will cover your lifestyle needs. Just as a doctor dresses in scrubs and a chef in an apron, defining your own personal pieces of clothing can help refocus the idea of shopping while giving yourself confidence in your style — it communicates your life. The beauty of fashion comes with a heart and purpose — although experienced in variations, genuine fashion is created with function.

The intention behind refocusing during the holidays reminds us to appreciate what we consider most dear to us. Even in the hasty hustle, bustle and hard work there is an opportunity to experience the glamour. One way to do so is to experience fashion’s current trendiest interests. They are cute, light-hearted and creative — filled with beauty and aesthetic purpose. Expect anything that is explicit, attention seeking and eye catching. All are statements when it comes to fashion: they elevate the habitual and illuminate bright. These innovating and personally invested gifts will reveal a sentiment for those who excite over, love and breath fashion.

Key Chains

Prominent models include the Fendi pomp pomi, Karl Lagerfeld’s mini me or Coach’s T-rex. A key chain makes for a cute accessory to add to a handbag or set of home keys. They bring joy to the anomalous, while accenting an everyday handbag. It is easily a stocking stuffer, or the perfect gift for a trendy friend.


From Kiehl’s to It Cosmetics, make-up and skin care products are the gift for the curious and adventurous beauty guru. Brands such as Glossier, a recently launched online-based cosmetic line developed by blogger Emily Weiss, or all natural, Boston-based Fresh Cosmetics present a variety of options. Glossier offers a colorful collection of fun lip stains in addition to their Boy Brow eyebrow wand, almost like an eyebrow pencil, it is "mascara for the brow." In another fashion, the Brown Sugar Body Polish, Sugar Lip Balms or the classic, a wrapped bar of soap all create warm gifts for this season.


This style of hat is classic to New York fashion. A pom pom beanie makes a statement just as a pop of color in cashmere transforms a classic beanie into a treasured token. Fashion followers adore both styles. The jackpot gift imagined would be a union of both features offered in one style.


Similar to the function of a keychain, the broaches are the accessory for the classy lady at heart. A menswear piece that has turned into phenomenon of womenswear, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana and Kate Spade offer playful styles that update the traditional accessory. Fashion finds these small momentums charming for this ornament piece helps build personal style. In the form of a gift, fashioning a broach would make one’s style even more unique.


Fashion followers are always on the go. What better way to complete their lifestyle than to give a pair of fashionable sneakers. Cool collaborations make the gift even more special. The most noted collaborations of the year include Nike’s work on their Air Max Safari Reissue and Adidas Stan Smith phenomenon. Italian sneaker label Superga also launches annual collaborations design with funky prints made for functional fashion. In every situation, the statement and exclusivity offers the chase for the pair, this brings value to the gift.

Dress ring

Similar to the "pinky ring," the interest in metal ware jewelry is maturing in the menswear industry. The dress ring, a simple, large faced ring is another example. Appropriate for everyday wear, the dress ring is a statement with a heritage of societal class, now beckoned with interests in aesthetic and drama. The fashion forward man will appreciate the advancement towards this modern look.

As we approach this time of gift giving, may we not forget to treat ourselves as we grow our attention to others. The greatest way of doing so this season is to make the investment that less is more and a clean out of the closet. This statement will bring advancements into your life of giving and sharing the holiday cheer with your loved ones.

Read other articles by Valerie McPhail