The classic package


POSTED: Thursday, December 17, 2009

It seems unfair. Holiday stress levels are as high as ever, but the usual gaiety of the season has been replaced by a new austerity. It's reflected in fewer carols, holiday lights and decorated trees around town.

And that jingling you hear is not that of Santa's merry elves, but formations of Salvation Army bell ringers hoping to summon donations for those in need.

With fewer resources to celebrate, it's no wonder one of the biggest fashion sensations this year has been the Snuggie, the sleeved, wearable blanket that allows owners a warm cocoon for retreating from the world.

The lavish parties of a few years ago have been replaced, if at all, by more intimate soirees.

Certainly, ostentation is out, but that doesn't mean giving up the desire to look beautiful for the holidays. It just means going back to basics and the classic beauty of a black cocktail dress, sweater or sheath worn with a strand of pearls, simple diamond jewelry, or delicate gold pieces such as the vintage-inspired designs of Shaesby or worldly creations of Me & Ro, both carried by Neiman Marcus.

The chunky statement jewels of Christmases past have given way to pieces that are feminine, unobtrusive and just enough to prettify, without shouting one's net worth.

At elle Couture Jewellery, at 909 Kapiolani, Lance Ishibashi paired new designs by Roberto Coin with vintage dresses from Micah Iaukea's neighboring Cloth boutique for looks suitable for a family party or holiday get-together at a restaurant.