New Year’s Eve Checklist

PARTY PLAN
Ready to send 2014 out with a bang? In case you’re in doubt, we’ve got a checklist for New Year’s Eve that covers almost all the bases for a fabulous night. Except finding the right candidate for a midnight kiss – that one we’ll leave to you.

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A New Year’s Eve look may be weeks in the making for some, but even the forward thinkers might not have thought of everything. Like the chance that the dress you picked in advance just doesn’t fit your mood the day of. No worries – there’s still time to find something fabulous in the after-Christmas sales. Before heading out to shop, scan your wardrobe for pieces that can help build a fun alternate look.

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This is non-negotiable. Something that’ll dazzle the eye is a New Year’s must whether you go for the classic touch of a statement necklace or cocktail ring, or for something splashier like a glitter-encrusted pump or clutch.

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Set your party prep time to a playlist that’ll get you primed for the dance floor. One possibility: the Express Rocks channel on Pandora. There’s no denying the groove in new tracks by alt-J, Drake, OneRepublic and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, or the allure of classic jams by the likes of Lauryn Hill. And if you want to know what Kate Upton’s listening to, it also features a few of her handpicked faves.

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Beyond looking good, your bag should keep you prepared for the night ahead. Most important is a little emergency cash and a fully charged phone. A portable charger is another essential, since this is not the night to be out of touch. You’ll also want a travel size of your favorite scent and a tube of gloss so your lips are always ready to be mussed.

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  1. Keep your festive look fresh by going easy with the hair and makeup. Pair a sequined dress with a tousled ‘do, less-is-more makeup and a popping lip, or a sleek LBD with a loose low chignon and some warm shimmer on your lids.
  2. Hitting a friend’s party? Bring a bottle of bubbles. One to try: Freixenet Cordon Negro, a crisp Spanish sparkling wine that’s available almost anywhere you can buy spirits.
  3. For party hopping or celebrating in a big public area, add a pair of flats to your bag essentials.
  4. To get around, check what your town has for late night trains and shuttles on New Year’s and store the numbers of several taxi companies in your phone.
  5. Avoid the challenges of finding a cab or dealing with Uber’s surge pricing that night by going in with friends on a limo. But if you do, advance booking is an absolute must.
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Ask The Stylist

You have questions about what to wear now and how to wear it. Express stylists have answers. Get the inside scoop on how to put together some of the season’s hottest looks.
Q&A FOR HER

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A:
We love to go all out on New Year’s, but you don’t want to leave your house looking like a disco ball. If you’re wearing a sparkly dress, tone down the styling with simple sandals, and natural hair and makeup.

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A:
The best thing about a LBD is that it never goes out of style. Make it look fresh with a layered necklace. (Silver and gold are the season’s clear favorites.)

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A:
Even girly girls like to wear the pants every once in a while. You can keep the look feminine and sexy by wearing a jumpsuit or, if you’re a little more daring, go for a tuxedo jacket and shorts.
Q&A FOR HIM

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A:
You can dress them up by putting in a little more effort above the waist. A slim dark suit jacket in black or navy and a fitted sweatshirt or hoodie blend the dressy/sporty trend easily.

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A:
A great way to wear a tuxedo and not look like a cater waiter is to pair it with a gray or pale blue or pink dress shirt with cuff links. Keep the bow tie and all other elements classic and you’ll be as dressy as the rest of the guys but stand out from the crowd.

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A:
I love a simple white or gray tee on its own with jeans, which also looks great under a jean jacket. (Very American.) Also, a big chunky cardigan over a tee has Steve McQueen style written all over it. The dressiest way is to wear under a suit with sneakers.
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Looking Back: The Top Trends of 2014

We’re so excited to ring in the New Year, but before we make our resolutions and toasts for the future, we wanted to take one last glance back at some of our favorite looks and raves from the style blogger scene in 2014. Thanks to all for the love!

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I also have a bit of a bootie, so a higher rise helps avoid any butt crack action, which is always a good thing. – Style Me Grasie on high waisted jeans
There’s something so easy and laid-back about a cool pair of jeans, especially if it’s a modern take on a throwback! – The Chriselle Factor on acid wash
A go-to uniform for those kind of days, plus I’m still ready for work meetings that come up. – Brooklyn Blonde on multitasking in gray denim

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I felt both chic and confident, something you can never put a price tag on.
– Kelly’s Kloset on pop color suiting
Taking into consideration I’m not in my 40s, nor working on Wall St., I decided to dress the outfit down with some fun blue aviators and striped socks (wary a house was going to fall on me tbh). – I Am Galla on suiting up in style
Sneakers, a snapback, and some slim pants are a great way to achieve a relaxed office look. – Closet Freaks on business casual redefined

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A perfect add-on for the casual night out after work…Express has been killing it with their outerwear offerings. – Walk in Wonderland on the varsity jacket
This textured cocoon coat is a stunner, and incorporating pastels for fall/winter is always a fave for me. – Living in Color Print on bundling up in lighter colors
It’s light, comfy and matches with everything… I shop in it, go out in it and jump around on my roof in it pretending to be Batman. I mean…. – I Am Galla on the goes-with-anything topcoat

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Got some Express looks you loved to rock in 2014? Show ‘em off on INSTAGRAM and tag us @ExpressRunway with #CelebrateYou – we like to ooh and aah, too.

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Holiday Gifting: The Final Countdown

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We’re T-minus three days to the big holiday. Have you covered everything on your to-get list? If you’re like most of us, your big presents are wrapped up but you still have a little work to do on the stocking stuffers. Read on for ideas on what’ll fit and how to add a personal touch or two.

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Once it’s down to the holiday wire, keep your last-minute shopping frenzy-light by sticking to basic items appropriate for the particular person. A suit-to-the-bar kind of guy? Cufflinks or a tie clip. More of a jeans type? Go for a leather bracelet or a pair of fun printed socks. Body spray is a thoughtful give for him and whoever he’s getting close to, cold weather gear like tech-friendly gloves and knit beanies also slip nicely into that stocking, and a compact splurge item like a watch is something he won’t see coming.

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Along with easy wins like lip gloss and scrumptiously scented lotion, we like the idea of using a stocking to build on bigger gifts. A sparkly bobby pin set would go great with that sweater you got her, a portable charger, wristlet, or a Bluetooth speaker is a perfect match for her new phone and a pair of pretty socks would look so sweet – and provide extra toastiness – with the midi boots she asked for.

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  1. Toss in a thumb drive holding a playlist of your giftee’s favorite jams.
  2. Give a pass to a new workout class and get one for yourself so your friend doesn’t have to go it alone.
  3. For someone with a high pressure job or class load, make a card promising a night of tacos and tequila or dinner on you at the hot new restaurant the next time they need a break.
  4. Add a card that shows you donated to a charity with special meaning for your special someone and watch the hugs fly.
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Holiday Packing Plan

PACK SMART, NOT HARD

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Planning a trip home on your holiday break? You could fill up several travel bags and pull out all the style stops to impress those childhood friends and out-of-town relatives. But since we’re of the belief that for short trips, bag check is for chumps, we’ve got some ideas for looking good over the holidays while keeping your luggage burden light. The key: mixing trend-savvy pieces with one smart, versatile basic.


GIRL’S GUIDE
1 SWEATER, 3 WAYS
THE BASIC: FITTED V-NECK SWEATER

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For a friendly gathering, try this shapely sweater with a full skirt and chunky-heeled pumps for that festive-yet-effortless effect. With stretch leggings, it’s great for hanging at home and making a last minute shopping run – just add booties. And for a morning of opening presents and sipping cocoa, all you need for a complete look is a pair of jeans and some printed flats.

PRO TIP:
Scarves offer the most bang for the packing space. Bring a few to refresh your style in seconds and wear your bulkiest one on the plane to keep cozy in-flight.
GUY’S GUIDE
1 PAIR OF JEANS, 3 WAYS
THE BASIC: JEANS

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Introduce old friends to ultra-mod dressy-casual style – top your ever-reliable jeans with a blazer and Merino wool pullover, and finish with a statement watch. For chilling with a movie, go for a warm waffle tee and hoodie. And when the family gathers around the tree, you can repurpose the jeans and that Merino sweater with the add-on of a patterned button-up. Slip on a tie and you’ve got a holiday look that’ll make the parents proud.

PRO TIP:
When you’re staying with family, skip the hassle of traveling with their gifts. Buy them online and have the goods shipped directly to where you’ll be staying. Be sure to give your host relatives a heads-up so they know to keep an eye out for your packages – and to not open them early.

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