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Black and white for New Year’s night

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Steve Pettit | Herald

From left, Alissa Acosta wears a black scoop neck sweater by INC, $63.30, and metallic leggings, $22.39, both from Macy's. Claire Christian models a metallic foil evening gown by BCBG Generation, $108, at Dillard's, and Keely Hansen shows a sequined cocktail dress dress by Vince Camuto, $188, at Dillard's.

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You’ve made it through Christmas celebrations and now the New Year’s gala soirees beckon.

If your party-girl wardrobe is maxed-out, retire those Christmas reds and greens, and take a tip from the fall/winter shows at New York Fashion Week — wear black and white.

Here are a few tips to put the punch back in your party clothes and steal the evening’s spotlight:

Embrace the unexpected. Strategize like a stylist, combining disparate separates that you’ve rarely put together. If it’s a casual affair, accent your jean jacket with a sequined scarf, long tunic and leggings with thigh-high boots. On dressier occasions, think Sharon Stone with her long black skirt and Gap T-shirt, or channel a throwback look with a menswear tuxedo jacket, skinny jeans and cowboy boots.

Turn to texture. Ensure each piece you wear has a different surface feel and appearance. Don’t combine a smooth leather jacket with a smooth leather vest with leather pants and boots — unless you’ve arrived at the party on the back of a motorcycle. Think knits with chiffons, satin with tweeds and velvets with leather.

Predictable is passe. OK, if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool, little-black-dress girl, go ahead and stand out in living color, but please eschew the worn-out and week-old Christmas red and green combo. Black and white is the season’s surefire choice, but a brilliant blue or regal red worn full-length can be the correct fashion selection for a range of holiday celebrations.

Embellishments are easy accents. An effortless way to amp up your old favorites is to become a bit exotic, using fur, ruffles, feathers, brocade or beading. These fab flourishes can even jazz up your favorite jeans and will add glamorous touches for those New Year’s galas.

Mix it up with prints. If your party wardrobe is wanting, this may be your best choice. Put on your basic black pants and tops, then layer on the prints — it can be a shining metallic patterned wrap or a folk-inspired statement jacket — the under layers will seem to disappear and those punched-up prints will jazz-up your total look. The goal is to move far away from an “everyday,” ho-hum sameness of apparel.

Accessories accomplish a lot. New Year’s is the ideal time to max out accessories. Whether it’s drop-dead chandelier earrings with a messy up-do, heavy metal cuffs with sleeveless sheaths or colored tights with little black dress, it’s time to pile it on. Footwear goes festive, too — strappy metallic sandals, textured snakeskin ankle boots or even velvet smoking loafers will help ring in the New Year.

Practice a minimum of restraint — isn’t that what New Year’s parties are for?

4 images

Steve Pettit | Herald

From left, Alissa Acosta wears a black scoop neck sweater by INC, $63.30, and metallic leggings, $22.39, both from Macy's. Claire Christian models a metallic foil evening gown by BCBG Generation, $108, at Dillard's, and Keely Hansen shows a sequined cocktail dress dress by Vince Camuto, $188, at Dillard's.

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