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Sequins, faux fur and glitzy foil are undeniable staples in the permanent collection of embellished holiday dressing. These tried-and-true classics never go out of style, regardless of the influx of new trends that pour in year after year. But 2018 tells a somewhat different story—one ’90s revival trend seems to be taking the festive fashion lead this holiday season, displacing sequins, fur and other winter wardrobe go-tos. Feathers.
If you came of age in the ’90s, you likely remember the starring role feather accents once played in the sartorial space. Sure, feathered fashion got its start in the Prohibition-era 1920s, with flappers sporting both sequin- and feather-embellished ensembles during performances and parties. But the resurrection of the old-timey trend during the ’90s (and honestly, the aughts, too) made wearing feathers feel approachable and wearable—and took the embellishment from night to day.
In 1995’s Clueless, heroine Cher Horowitz not only rocked a baby-pink marabou pen in debate class, but also famously wore an ostrich-embellished jacket while getting robbed at gunpoint. Then there was the feather-trimmed off-shoulder LBD Kate Moss wore to the Cannes Film Festival in 1995, which later inspired one of the best-selling pieces in the supermodel’s 2007 namesake collection for Topshop.
Ten years later, the feather boa dress has made yet another return—this time with a modern makeover that even minimalist dressers can get behind.
While the idea of rocking feather- or marabou-inspired embellishments may seem to costumey (or, let’s be real, reminiscent of budget lingerie from seedy adult-only shops), this season’s feather details are anything but the flimsy, shedding-prone feather boa you purchased at the party supply store before high school dances.
From fringed ostrich-feather-trimmed cocktail dresses to fluffier marabou-lined evening tops, vintage-inspired feather embellishments look elevated and forward while still feeling whimsical and flirty—making them the perfect addition to any holiday-party ensemble. Here, some of our favorite trendy feather pieces to shop this season.
Vince Camuto Feather Trim Off-the-Shoulder Dress, $179 at Nordstrom
This off-the-shoulder LBD is reminiscent of Kate Moss’s 1995 feather-trimmed cocktail dress.
Loeffler Randall Laurel Twist Slides with Feathers, $380 at Shopbop
These silver fur-adorned slides are as sexy as the famous marabou slippers sold at luxe lingerie stores, but these look just as good outside the bedroom as they do in.
UO Clarissa Feather Trim Dress, $99 at Urban Outfitters
This sexy mini dress is lined with faux feather detail for a subtle throwback vibe that still feels contemporary.
16Arlington Feather-Trim Sequin Tulle Top, $695 at Net-a-Porter
While feather accents may be giving sequins a run for their money this season, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This glam top is playful and fun, but still looks elevated enough to impress at your office’s holiday party—or even a NYE bash.
Milly Nicole Feather Cuff V-Neck Dress, $455 at Neiman Marcus
Thanks to its feather-adorned cuffs, this classic, long-sleeve LBD is anything but basic.
Lamarque Deora Feather Coat, $225 at Revolve
This “fur” coat gets a nuanced, of-the-moment update with a rosy-hued feather textile. Pair it with jeans or layer it over your cocktail dress for an instant glam upgrade.
LIKELY Romy Dress, $248 at Shopbop
Another classic LBD with a twist, this sexy bodycon midi features soft marabou-lined sleeves for a touch of texture.
Charlotte Olympia Salsa Feather-Embellished Suede Sandals, $638 at Matches Fashion
Sometimes, our footwear choice serves as the outfit’s lead character, and these scarlet-hued marabou heels will steal the show in the best way possible.
Peace and Love Nude Bardot Dress, $110 at Missguided
This blushy bodycon looks sexy but demure thanks to feather fringe detail and a dramatic off-the-shoulder profile.
LPA Aida Top, $138 at Revolve
This sweetheart-cut bustier top looks just as chic with vintage denim as it does tucked into your high-waist wide-leg trousers. A going-out top redefined.
Chrissy Teigen x Revolve Jet-Lagged Bed Jacket, $248 at Revolve
If you’re on board with the lingerie-inspired trend, you’ll surely appreciate this lacy feather-embellished over-jacket—which is basically just a natural evolution of the iconic slip dress.
Loeffler Randall Zadie Feather and Leather Bag, $350 at Net-a-Porter
There’s a reason this fuzzy rose statement clutch has endured a seemingly endless cycle of selling out and being restocked since it launched. Get your hands on it while you can.
Prada Twill Robe Coat, $1,630 at Farfetch
Another vintage look inspired by luxe loungewear, this silk robe jacket features contrasting black feather cuffs for an unexpected touch of texture.
Jocelyn Pull Through Feather Scarf, $115 at Shopbop
This versatile feather scarf will instantly make over any outfit, whether it’s a jeans-and-tee combo or full-length formal gown.
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