Holiday Capsule Wardrobe from Galeries Lafayette
Leah Walker December 7, 2016

There’s not much more that I love than the holiday season. The temperatures are low and the spirits are high. The smells of vin chaud and chestnuts fill the air, while the City of Light shines brighter, with the illumination of each arrondissement’s décor. And the glitter! Eloisa James wrote in her book, Paris in Love, “I don’t want Christmas season to end, because it’s the only time I can legitimately indulge in one particular addiction: glitter.” Amen, Eloisa, I couldn’t agree more.

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The holiday street decor makes the City of Light shine even brighter.

One of my favorite Parisian pastimes is visiting Galeries Lafayette’s Haussmann store during the holiday season. World-renowned for their window displays and massive tree beneath the stunning stained glass cupola, I’m in awe each and every time I visit. This fall, I was invited to a holiday press preview, followed by a special visit during the construction of the tree and window displays. I was like, well, a kid at Christmas. {See my Facebook Live video from the store and my Bonjour Paris article about the store’s holiday happenings.}

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Any time of year, Galeries Lafayette is worth a visit, but Christmastime is spectacular.

This year, I’ll spend both Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Paris. Rather than being with family in Texas, I’ll celebrate the holiday season with friends in France, which means plenty of party and dinner invitations, which also means outfit dilemmas. Oh, what to wear? A day doesn’t go by that I don’t stare into my closet looking for something appropriate to put on my body. Thus, I was absolutely thrilled when Galeries Lafayette asked me to put together a holiday capsule wardrobe.

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I adore the white arctic theme for 2016.

My challenge was to put together two holiday looks: one befitting dinner and drinks at a palace hotel and the other appropriate for a work or at-home party with friends. With a budget of €350, my plan was to find a few festive pieces to mix with some of the existing items in my closet. Although Galeries Lafayette is filled with luxury labels, there are also stylish and affordable options for those without money to burn {me!}. Oh, and another caveat to my challenge was that all of my purchases must come from French brands. So, armed with a gift card, I set out to create my holiday capsule wardrobe at Galeries Lafayette.

Begin with a Black Dress

 

But of course, I’m going to build my looks around a black dress. Not only is a LBD {little black dress} trés chic, it’s also incredibly versatile. I’ve probably got a dozen in my closet, but one can never have too many black dresses in Paris.

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Simple doesn’t have to be boring. I didn’t love the original belt, so I exchanged it with one I own.

As soon as I spotted the Charline dress from Suncoo, I knew it was perfect: lace, long sleeves, and a flattering shape. The only thing I wasn’t wild about was the belt, but that’s easily substituted. A classic style, the dress can be styled countless ways, and could even work as a day dress, given the right accessories. Originally priced at €135, it was 30% off in a private sale, bringing the total to €94.50.

It’s the Little Things

 

The thing I love about French style is the simple elegance. It’s not about quantity, but instead quality. Buy a few great pieces that are worn over and over, and mix up the look with accessories. Once I found the dress, I set out in search of those little things that make a big difference.

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Wear this bag over the shoulder or tuck in the chain and use as a clutch.

Every lady needs an evening bag, and I didn’t want anything too simple. I’m a big fan of animal print, so this snakeskin purse caught my eye. It’s large enough to hold the things I need for a night out: iPhone, cash, credit cards, and lipstick. I gravitate toward gold, so the chain is excellent. It can also be tucked inside the purse, creating a clutch. Perhaps it’s not fancy enough for a black tie gala, but it’s certainly dressy enough to carry to a Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s from the Galeries Lafayette line and was priced at €64.99. It was part of the private sales, so at 30% off, it cost €45.49.

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I usually wear drop earrings, so these are just my style.

Like a star on top of the Christmas tree, a holiday look isn’t complete without a pair of earrings. I didn’t want anything too flashy; that’s not the French way, you know. I opted for simple pair of gold drops {€7.90} to go with my more casual look and the black rhinestones {€12.90} for the dressier one. These come from a costume jewelry line called Balabooste, and cost a total of €20.80. Not bad, I’d say.

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Large and cozy, this scarf has a cashmere feel.

Two things I rarely leave home without: my iPhone and a scarf. Never underestimate the warmth a scarf brings. Frostbite aside, a scarf is also an opportunity to add a pop to your winter coat. In the sea of scarves, these little gold studs caught my eye. I thought it added a little something, without being gaudy. Soft and large enough to tie in a multitude of ways, I can wear this Galeries Lafayette scarf with both looks. And at €24.99, I thought it was well worth the money.

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I imagine that I’ll live in this jacket, making it a brilliant buy.

The last piece of the puzzle was a bit more difficult to find. I wanted something to go over the dress. I looked at faux fur vests, as well as cashmere cardigans. Given my remaining budget of around €175, I wasn’t finding anything that I loved within my price range, that is until I wandered into the Galeries Lafayette section on the second floor. The moment I saw this leather jacket, I knew I’d found what I didn’t realize I was looking for. There’s no hardware, so silver or gold can be worn. It hits me at the hip, so it’s not too long to wear with a dress or pants. The lines are clean, and the leather is supple. Plus, there’s no bulk, so it can be worn alone as a light layer or under a winter wool coat. The jacket is probably a bit casual for a fancy-schmancy dinner, but is ideal worn over the dress for a holiday work event. The Galeries Lafayette brand was regularly priced at €249.99, but it was 40% off, bringing the price to €149.99.

The Finished Looks

 

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Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” –Marilyn Monroe

Put anything with a classic pair of black patent pumps from Christian Louboutin and the elegance level of an outfit goes up about a hundred notches. Sky-high stilettos aside, the only things I added to the pieces purchased at Galeries Lafayette are a sparkly belt and a pair of sheer tights from Wolford. Pop on my favorite belted wool coat, and I’m ready for dinner at a Ducasse restaurant.

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More casual, but still chic, this dress is ready for a holiday party with friends.

Just a few subtle changes and my pieces purchased from Galeries Lafayette can be dialed down a few notches, befitting a holiday work engagement or special evening at a friend’s home. The belt adds a sweet touch, with the gold studs mimicking the ones in the scarf. I added a pair of Spanx opaque tights, as well as some suede booties from Charles David.

Et voilá!

I not only met the challenge of creating a holiday capsule wardrobe at Galeries Lafayette, but I came in under budget. The total amount paid for my six items is €335.77. I’m super happy with my purchases and know that I’ll get a lot of wear out of them this holiday season and beyond.

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Arctic and paper are the themes of this year’s holiday decor.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris during the holidays, make sure to stop by Galeries Lafayette’s Haussmann store to see all the delightful decor and shop for your own holiday capsule wardrobe. From now until January 1, 2017, get 10% off and a plush polar bear mascot on purchases of €200 or more when you present this voucher. And, bonus! Galeries Lafayette is open on Sundays during the holiday season.

This post is courtesy of Galeries Lafayette, but all the opinions are mine.

Leah Walker

Leah’s a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that’s in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah’s thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don’t extend to speaking French. Yet.

11 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, I missed Galeries Lafayette when I was in Paris but I will make sure I will visit them next time, hopefully during Christmas as the decorations are simply amazing. Love your outfit and the price is great, especially the bag is so chic.

  2. Great suggestion of place to buy Christmas presents. Expensive but very good 🙂 The building it self is amazing.

  3. Love your wardrobe!!! And the Galeries Lafayette decor is awesome…best arctic white giant Christmas tree I’ve seen!!!

  4. Like CHRYSOULA, I missed a visit to Galeries Lafayette when I was in Paris, because of course we visited on a day they were closed. That was early on in our travels, so it was a lesson learned to ALWAYS check opening days and times before setting out. Glad to hear they are opened on Sundays during the holidays! I love the outfit you picked out and way to come in under budget! That’a girl! It’s neat that you can add and take away accessories/components of the outfit to make it more or less flashy! Looks like your all set for your full calendar of holiday parties and dinners!

  5. Stylish outfit! I liked the laced dress very much. The festive mood in the pictures is so evident. I just love this time of the year for that.

  6. Ahhh glitter 🙁 that stuff gets everywhere and never comes off. Try having dreads and you’ll see what I mean. Nice outfits. I love the pictures of the artic themes with the stain glass. Beautiful.

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