Dapper Is In The Details

{menswear details and how to get them right}

We’re excited to have Jeff Grider, a personal stylist and menswear fashion expert, writing for us today!  Read on for Jeff’s comprehensive take on four important menswear details and how to get them right.

I was so thrilled when Kate asked me to contribute to House of Marbury that I agreed before really thinking it through.  In doing so, I’m outing myself as a follower of a women’s fashion blog – and I’m ok with that.

My affinity for style is more directed to the male population, however. As a Personal Stylist for J. Hilburn – a Custom Clothier for Men – my job is to make certain my clients are among the best-dressed gentleman in the room, regardless of the occasion.

In keeping with the HoM trend of tips, tricks, and tactics, I present a few musings – a post I’ll call “Dapper is in the Details.” Here we go!

1.    The Tie Bar

Tie Bars are making resurgence, and it’s good that they are. The purpose of the Tie Bar is to keep your tie connected to your shirt placket. Again – the purpose is to keep your tie fastened to your shirt. Don’t just clip the big end to the skinny, but rather anchor it to prevent your neckwear from becoming unruly.

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Pro tips: Proper placement of the Tie Bar is between the 3rd and 4th shirt button. Wearing a Waistcoat (aka vest)? A Tie Bar is redundant, and should be omitted. Lastly, the Tie Bar should come close to the width of your tie, but never wider.

2.    Mixing and Matching Patterns

The world of patterns can be a wonderful place, provided they are worn with intent. There is a general formula that I discovered a while back. I can’t claim it as my own, and I don’t know who said it first. With that disclaimer out of the way:

One Big Pattern + One Small Pattern + One Solid = Stylish

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Color matching aside, let’s just focus on the formula. Wearing Paisley with Plaid can be a tasteful combination, provided there is enough of a difference in size between the patterns, and that it is rooted with a solid. The same is true with others, such as StripesGingham, or even Tonal Checks. The goal is complimentary contrast between the patterns. This formula applies to suits in the form of the suit, the shirt and the tie, and to Casual in the form of shirt, pants and sweater/sportcoat.

3.    The Pocket Square

A pocket square is a punctuation mark on any outfit involving a jacket. It can be a period or an exclamation point (question marks should be avoided). Regardless of the mark you choose, it should BE there. The exception to this rule is your boardroom-owning, door-kicking, navy/charcoal, wide-chalkstripe power suit. In that situation, be your own punctuation mark.

Anyway…it is difficult to go wrong with white linen; you will most certainly go astray if your tie matches your pocket square. You can compliment your tie by capitalizing on a similar color or pattern structure, but clear matching will give the impression it came from an airport gift shop. Definitely not dapper.

Look for colors that will stand out from your jacket. In most cases, you’ll want to avoid monochroming (i.e. wearing the same color scheme on multiple layers), unless there is another characteristic of the pocket square that makes it pop. For instance, a light blue on a navy can feel rather mundane, but if that light blue has a Paisley pattern, it suddenly goes from Blah to Bold.

As for the fold, you have several options, though two should suffice. The first is the standard puff:

  1. Find the center of the square and balance it on one finger with the fabric falling around your hand.
  2. Pinch the top with your free hand and fold it over once.
  3. Insert into your pocket with the fold exposed and position. Easiest fold there is!

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[Photo credit here.]

The second – The Flat Fold – will require a bit more finagling, depending on the depth of your pocket. To summarize:

  1. Fold the pocket square in half from left to right.
  2. Fold the bottom roughly 2/3 of the way to the top.
  3. Fold into thirds from left to right.
  4.  Position and adjust.

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[Photo credit here.]

4.    Proportionalities

“Skinny ties for skinny guys” isn’t a good cliché. It’s true, but that doesn’t make it any better. Still, the idea behind it is for everyone’s own good. It suggests that you should be wearing items that compliment your physique, rather than those that will be a distraction.

For suits, here are the basics:

The width of your tie should match the width of your lapel. All other conditions aside, I typically find that a narrow notch lapel works best for size 41″ chests or lower; notch lapels for 42” and up. Peak lapels…well that just depends on your personal sense of style.

Next, determine the right collar for your frame by keeping in mind that the jacket, when buttoned, should cover its corners.

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The relationship between the cuff of the dress shirt and the end of your jacket is no more than ½” long. That’s the extent to which your dress shirt should show with arms resting at your side, though a ¼” will do just fine.

6. cuffs

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One-button jackets favor those with ample bellies, as the depth of the lapel is greatest. Two-button is average, but universally acceptable. The three-button suit has fallen a bit out of
style, but does will on the vertically challenged. Double-breasted is in the same category as the Peak Lapel. If you have the hutzpah to wear it, do so with style.

So there we have it, one gentleman’s slightly-more-than-surface-level opinions on a few of the finer points of dressing well. Did I intrigue you? Did I miss your boat entirely? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks to Kate and Desiree for being such gracious hosts!

Until next time…

Dr. Jeff Grider, Personal Stylist for J. Hilburn, a Custom Clothier for Men
dr.jeff@jhilburnpartner.com | www.jeffgrider.com

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Poppy Season

{fall and winter wardrobe inspired by poppy flowers}

This fall, floral patterns are big.  They are showing up everywhere, from the runway to the streets.  And perhaps because I’ve named my baby girl Poppy, I have noticed a surge of poppy inspired patterns in particular.

With its deep reds and blacks, it’s truly the perfect fall flower.  It’s also the symbol for British Remembrance Day (the equivalent of our Veteran’s Day) or “Poppy Day” – and so everyone on that side of the pond, from the Duchess herself and on, sport a poppy on their lapel for one day this time of year.

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[Photo credit here.]

In any event, we’re loving this trend.  Here are a few great poppy inspired pieces for the office and beyond:

Coach is leading the poppy trend, with bags, dresses, and perfumes in poppy theme.  Of their poppy pieces, we love this Turnlock Borough Bag in a poppy inspired pattern.  It’s a great work bag (though a bit small if you’re carting around your laptop – in that case, try this tote instead).

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We’re loving this poppy inspired dress as well.  While it’s not ideal for the office because it lacks the structure that we prefer in office pieces, paired with boots and black tights, it is a darling sheath for a Sunday brunch.

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And who wouldn’t love getting a gift that looked like this?  Poppy perfume – we’re in love.

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This neoprene dress with photo-realistic images of poppies is gorgeous, and, paired with a black blazer, is a beautiful addition to any office wardrobe.

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This Donna Morgan poppy dress caught our eye, too – it’s lovely, and would be the perfect thing to wear to an after-hours office holiday party.

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For a more abstract take on the poppy, this DVF dress is perfect for work and play.  The bold print is beautiful for fall through winter dressing.

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Finally, get your glam on with this orange poppy lipstick by Burberry!

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Are you wearing florals this fall?  Share your favorite pieces in the comments below!

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

{how to find the perfect winter coat}

With snow grazing many areas of the county this week, it’s officially time to bring out the winter clothes.  A good winter coat that is warm, functional, and flattering is probably the most important part of a working woman’s winter wardrobe.  So, if you need a new coat to don into the holiday season and beyond, here is what you need to know (and a few of our favorite coats, too):

Pick a color or pattern you like, yet can wear with any outfit.  A neutral color is always a good idea for an investment item like a winter coat – grey, black, tan or even white.  Note that with a color like black, although flattering, your coat will tend to attract things like lint and fuzzies from your winter gloves.  A white coat may also get dirty quite easily, so our advice would be to go for a shade of grey or beige.  For example, the Scandal-inspaired collection for the Limited features a draw collar wrap coat that would truly make Olivia Pope proud.

Olivia Pope inspired winter coat

We also love a statement coat for winter in a bold color like a vintage red or the softest shade of blue.  A unique texture or pattern also can be beautiful – think tweed like this Tory Burch “Bettina” coat or this linen wool blend coat that might as well be artwork.

Tory Burch Tweed Bettinga Coat

Short, long or somewhere in between?  The length of your coat is really a personal preference. However, we recommend at the very least having one knee-length coat (like the ones featured above), because the longer style is flattering, keeps a majority of your body warm, and usually is the most comfortable to wear.  That being said, there are some really chic short coats out there like this woolen coat with the oversized lapels that are great for those of you who like to have a bit more mobility to your outerwear.

Gray Short Woolen Coat with Oversize Lapel

Shape matters. Coats are bulky as it is, so make sure to invest in one with some sort of shape or structure.  For example, a cinched waist will always flatter.  Take this white Tahari coat for example – it’s simple, yet the belted waist is incredibly flattering.  And yes, even a puffy coat  works, particularly when belted!

Tahari white belted coat

 

Make sure it’s warm. Comfort, style, and color are all important, but it is important to be sure the coat will keep you warm.  In general, wool coats are the best option (get as close to 100% wool as possible).   The lining is also important – nowadays you can find everything from shearling coats to fleece-lined coats.

Cinzia Rocca Wool Fleece Wrap Coat

In the end, as always, your personal style and preferences will make you happiest – but you can refer back to this for guidance!  And when you find the one coat you love and it keeps you warm, splurge if you must because it is the perfect investment piece that will last you for many cold seasons to come!

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Style Inspiration: Holiday Parties

{what to wear to a holiday party}

We’ll be sure to do a few more posts in the coming weeks on all things holiday fashion, but for those of you who are social butterflies and already have holiday parties on your schedule, you’ll be inspired by this dress guide Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling put together.  Shop the looks here, because who knows, maybe you’ll find something to wear for the HOM holiday party too!

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What are your top contenders for holiday party looks?

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Five Gorgeous Sweaters for Under $100

{the best sweaters that won’t break your budget}

The holidays are just around the corner, which means two things:  1) it’s getting chilly outside; and 2) we need to watch our bank accounts to be able to buy presents for everyone on our list!  If your cool weather clothes need a reboot but you don’t want to spend much money on new pieces, we’ve got your back.

We love most tops designed by Pim + Larkin, and this Windowpane Sweater is no exception.  The pattern is bold yet simple and it would pair wonderfully with jeans for a weekend look, or with black ankle pants, or a black and white skirt for the workday.  And, at $89, we can work it into our pre-holiday budget.

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Zara is always a great resource for affordable knitwear.  We especially love this Knit Cardigan.  At only $59, the two-texttured design in black is sleek and sophisticated, and we love the draping in the front.  Gorgeous.

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This high-neck mohair sweater, also from Zara is incredible.  It comes with a matching skirt and would make a stunning winter white ensemble with opaque black tights and black booties.  The sweater is $79 and the skirt $59.  A gorgeous outfit and versatile separates for under $150!

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This Apres Ski sweater by Olive & Oak comes in one of this season’s hottest colors.  Despite its modest price point of $68, the varied textures make it both eye-catching and flattering.  Pair with a black or winter white pencil skirt, wide-leg black trousers or black skinny pants.

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We round out our list with this cowl neck sweater from Ann Taylor.  Although we could do without the asymmetrical hem, the cowl neck and cuff/hem detail make this sweater look far more luxurious then its $50 price tag.  What’s more, it comes in a variety of colors, and it’s long cut will work well with skinny pants.

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What sweaters have you found this season?  Any for under $100 that you’d recommend to fellow HOM readers?  Tell us in the comments below!

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Fashion Maven Milysan Troche of MyHauteCloset

{profiles of fashionable professionals}

Today, we’re thrilled to feature entrepreneur and fashion maven Milysan Troche, the CEO and founder of MyHauteCloset.  Last week, we sat down with Milysan and she filled us in on lessons learned as a business owner, her favorite trends for fall 2014, and how you can score gorgeous consignment finds through MyHauteCloset.  Read on to learn more about Milysan and her fashion-savvy business.

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Q:  What is your go-to outfit for a big meeting or other business formal event?
A:  When not pregnant, it’s typically a pencil skirt, sensible silky blouse and a classic pair of heels. When pregnant, it is a form fitting dress and heels.

Q:  What are your favorite trends this Fall/Winter season?
A:  I just love wide brim hats with over the knee boots. Very 70’s and luxe. It’s rare that it’s cold enough in Los Angeles where I can wear capes, wide brim hats and gloves but I do love the layering aspect of winter. It’s the best part of visiting the East Coast.

Q:  What is the one article of clothing or accessory you cannot live without?
A:  Hands down is both a nude and black pair of pointed toe pumps. They go with EVERYTHING! Since working in consignment I’ve had some very trendy items come in for consignment which come in and out of style, and they take such a hit on the resale level from what original retail was it forced me to always consider my purchases and think about the longevity of the items that I spent my hard-earned money on. I will wear a classic pair of pointed toe pumps to the ground!

Q:  How do clothes influence your confidence and your strength as an entrepreneur?
A:  The way you dress is truly an extension of how you see yourself in relation to your environment. I always find it a bit funny when many think fashion is frivolous, when really it’s just an outward thumbprint of who you are as an individual and that is a very powerful thing. When you are connected to your essence and you have an off day, I can almost bet that there’s something annoying you about what you’re wearing, your hair or something related to the way you look that day. Same holds true for having a great day, your hair just looks fantastic, you love your outfit…people look at you. When I dress every day, even if it’s just to run errands or for quick trips, I’m mindful of the way I feel that day and try my best to dress the way I want to feel.

Q:  What is the one lesson you would impart to would-be entrepreneurs and other professionals?
A:  You can never ever give up. There are some killer months and some months where you work hours on end and feel that the amount of time dedicated to work almost doesn’t feel justified for what the business is bringing in at that moment. But it’s a long distance run. We have a tendency to focus on these fly by night success stories and tend to compare, or we feel entitled to recognition and to be further ahead in our journey as business owners. That is not what Entrepreneurship is about. You really need to love what you do, or it’s insane to spend the amount of time, resources and energy on it.

Q:  We understand that you’re pregnant with a baby boy; what tips can you offer on balancing work, health and family?
A:  I’m still working on that! I believe Entrepreneurship by default makes it incredibly difficult to “disconnect at times”. There were many evenings where an email from a consignor would pop into my inbox at 10:00pm and I felt compelled to answer it, which was actually detrimental to me because I couldn’t be present in the moment after “working hours” and I ran the risk of making myself too accessible to my customers. During pregnancy your body will literally stop you and give you signals that it’s “done” for the day. I had to learn to listen to it, rather than fight it, at 9 months pregnant it has progressively gotten better, it’s an “unlearning process”.

Q:  What is your favorite thing about running your own business and working in the fashion industry?
A:  Connecting with my shoppers and consignors. They’re a pretty savvy group and it’s been a pleasure getting to know and work with them over the years.

Q:  How has MyHauteCloset evolved over time and do you have any plans or aspirations for the future?
A:  Eventually my consignor’s husbands began asking if we also consigned Men’s clothing and accessories as well so we have had quite a few amazing Men’s items come in from rare limited edition Louis Vuitton Bomber Jackets to Givenchy T- Shirts and Hermes Belts. We have now been focusing on curating a selection of rare vintage accessories, fashion coffee table books and affordable decorative objects. Our goal ultimately is to be a lifestyle shop for all the items that a woman (and on occasion man) loves.

Q:  How can our readers learn more and begin shopping your gorgeous consignment finds?
A:  Visit us online at www.myhautecloset.com or shoot us an email at info@myhautecloset.com any time!

MyHauteCloset

Clockwise from top left:

1. Chanel Leather & Nylon Quilted Low Top Sneakers $415
2. Vintage Gilded Fendi Collar Necklace circa 1980’s $395
3. Céline Medium Python Luggage Tote $5500
4. New in box Christian Louboutin Mrs. Baba 100mm Suede Booties $625. Retail was $1395+tax
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Scarf Draping

{the newest, chic way to wear your scarf}

The runway and the it girls on the street fashion scene are leading the charge on the newest way to wear your favorite scarves – namely, draped up and over your neck or around your shoulder and belted at the waist.  And we’re 100% drinking the Kool Aid.  We love this look for casual weekend wear and dates nights, but we love it even more – and thinks it totally works – for the office as well.

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[Photo credit here.]

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[Photo credit here.]

The key to wearing this style at the office is to settle on a uniform of sorts to wear underneath.  It should be a blank slate, in a sense.  For example, a crisp white button up and a simple black pencil skirt, or a khaki skinny pant and a black three quarter-length blouse.

Then, the fun begins.  Play around with your most colorful, patterned, or intricate scarves paired with all those belts you have hanging in your closet.

For example, when it comes to scarves, we love all things Fabryan, and this colorful Lucia Long Scarf is ideal for draping and belting.  Opt for a black and white pallete underneath, and choose a black skinny belt like this Rag and Bone jet skinny belt just above your natural waistline to secure it in place.

Lucia Long Scarf

Adolfo Dominquez is another one of our favorites for bright and beautiful scarves, and this paisley scarf in ink blue would make an amazing drape around a similar blue pencil skirt and chambray button up top.  Get funky and opt for a belt with some detail and color, like this red Kate Spade bow belt.

Or check out this sun patterned scarf from ASOS.  We love the unusual pattern draped around a black flare legged pant and black blouse.  A black or brown belt (like this ribbon belt from ShopBop) would work beautifully with this get up.

sun print scarf

For a cozy winter look, this red checked scarf from Mango is great.  Wear it with a white sheath and drape it loosely on one side. Mix it up with a fun leopard print belt to add a little interest to the look.

mango scarf

How will you drape your scarves this winter?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Skirts and Sneakers

{how to pull of sneakers and skirts without looking frumpy}

So, last week we shared this article on our social media pages talking about how women use fashion to assert power.  Of course, the topic of Texas Senator Wendy Davis’s sneakers came up in the article and intrigued us.  How is that woman able to rock sneakers with her business suits?  We have the scoop.

How to wear Skirts and Sneakers via House of Marbury

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Get stylish sneakers.  Because there are some shoes out there that may look and feel like your comfiest sneakers, yet are still totally stylish and classy.  For example, these Pony Hair sneakers by Steve Madden or these Tory Burch Jessie Quilted Slip-on sneakers.   And, what girl wouldn’t love these Burberry print sneakers?!

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Stay neutral.  While neon green sneakers are probably not a good idea when you’re wearing your dressy clothes, if you pick a pair of sneakers in a more neutral color, then you can easily make it work.  Generally, wearing all-black or shades of grey/white/beige offers the perfect blank canvas to have some fun with your shoes (after all, you don’t want too much going on in one outfit!).

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For example, these New Balance suede sneakers are super chic and we can totally see ourselves pairing them with a casual dress and a long sweater over the weekend.  For a more New-England vibe, try these Sperry top-sider seacoast sneakers.

Know the occasion.  With all due respect to Wendy Davis, there are just some occasions when you shouldn’t wear sneakers with your professional work clothes – think pretty much any time business professional attire is required.  But, for more casual days, a skirt or cropped pant with sneakers may be just what you need this fall.  At the very least, make your daily work commute comfy without fear of judgment for rocking sneakers with a skirt!

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Dannijo Inspired

{get inspired by one of our favorite accessories brands of the moment}

For this Thursday’s inspiration, we’re turning to accessories, and the sister duo behind the power-brand Dannijo.  These sisters have put their artistic and creative talents toward a must-have, celeb-loved jewelry and accessory line, that also aims to “creat[e] sustainable economic opportunity for women in underdeveloped areas of the world.”   As an example, all DANNIJO.com packaging is “handmade in Rwanda as part of their women’s empowerment initiative.”

We love their pieces, and we love what they are about.  Check out Dannijo to learn more!

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Happy Thursday!

 

 

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Five Festive Cocktails To Serve This Thanksgiving

{the best drinks to serve for any special occasion this fall}

House of Marbury - Fall Cocktailings

[Photo credit here.]

It seems impossible, but the holiday season is already upon us, and it’s time to consider what to wear and what to drink for your Thanksgiving festivities.

Thanksgiving is, by far, our favorite holiday.  It has none of the stress of Christmas/Chanukah gift-giving, but all the warmth of the changing season with the main focus being, of course, food and giving thanks.  This year Kate is hosting her first-ever Thanksgiving, so she’s searching far and wide for the best recipes and decided to write a post about cocktails since these drinks will be a go-to for any non-holiday celebration, too!

1.  Pear Nectar + Thyme Mimosa

House of Marbury - Fall Cocktail Pear Thyme Mimosa

We’re huge fans of combining herbs, fruit juice, and spirits, and this recipe from The Glitter Guide does it perfectly.  What’s more, this recipe has three ingredients, so it’s easy to prepare and to make in large batches.

Plus, a mimosa is a nice way to begin an evening of feasting since it’s light and refreshing.

If, like us, you enjoy the flavor of thyme and you want to add more of it into this cocktail, create a 1:1 simple syrup and infuse several thyme sprigs into the syrup.  The thyme flavor will be far more concentrated than before.  Add nectar instead of water to create the simple syrup and you’ll have an incredibly rich flavor.

2.  Bourbon + Sage + Honey

House of Marbury - Fall Cocktail honey bourbon and sage

This cocktail from Meredith Steele is delicious.  It’s quite potent, though, so if you’re serving it during a cocktail hour preceding your formal sit-down dinner, you will want to cut it with lemon juice + soda water or ginger ale.  Bonus:  The infused syrup is delicious – make extra and keep it on hand to enliven soda water or top ice cream.  Mmmmm.

3.  Mulled Wine

House of Marbury - Fall Cocktail Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a classic cold-weather cocktail all across Europe.  It’s never been huge in the States, but the rich flavors of anise, cinnamon, and clove, combined with a bold red wine are delightful and heart warming no matter where you live.  This cocktail, too, is easy to make in bulk.  Prepare the mixture ahead of time in pitchers or a punch bowl, and have the garnishes neatly arranged next to it for easy assembly and service.  Our favorite recipe for mulled wine comes from Gimme Some Oven.

4.  Fall Fruit Sangria

House of Marbury - Fall Sangria

Sangria is always festive and easy to serve at parties.  While the beverage is traditionally associated with summer festivities, this white wine sangria recipe from Cooking Channel and this red wine autumn sangria from Kiran Tarun are fabulous and seasonally appropriate.  Sangria could not be easier to serve to guests because the festive garnishes are built-in!

5.  Apple Brandy Hot Toddie

House of Marbury - Fall Cocktail Hot Toddie

Food & Wine is one of our go-to resources for recipe ideas.  And this recipe they featured for Apple Brandy Hot Toddies is traditional and delicious.

To make an even simpler version, combine apple cider, cinnamon sticks and a lemon slice with bourbon (we prefer Markers Mark for its added sweetness).  The drink is traditionally served warm, but you can serve it over ice for a chilled cocktail version.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out our Fall Cocktailing Board on Pinterest

What are you serving this holiday season?  Help!  Kate needs more side dish ideas!

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