Carson Kressley's holiday style secrets

‘Tis the season to dress festively, and who better to advise us than Carson Kressley?

The fashion guru stopped by the Fox News studios to chat about holiday fashion and how to make it work without breaking the bank. From packing wisdom to Christmas party fashion disasters and gift giving advice, Kressley's hilarious insight reminds us why it's truly the most wonderful time of the year.

What’s your favorite thing about fashion around the winter holidays?

Holiday fashion, I think, is the most fun time of the year, because unlike spring or summer, you’re really layering on, and the materials are beautiful. There’s velvet, there’s sparkles, there’s sequins, there’s embellished shoes. Even makeup and beauty gets more fun during the holidays. It’s a great time of year to have fun with your personal style.

What are some easy ways to sport this season’s trends at holiday parties, without breaking the bank?

What I’ll do is go and get statement pieces that kind of change up your look. You can take a really basic, even just a little black dress, and add key pieces. It could be something metallic, a little jacket that’s done in gold, silver, blush metallic — you can find those pieces for around $40.

Another great thing is something with a little sparkle — it could be a clutch, it could be an embellished shoe — and that takes even a work outfit and ramps it up and makes it holiday-party friendly. And again, those pieces are around $20, $30, so you’re not breaking the bank, you’re finding amazing things at amazing prices.

carson kressley

Carson Kressley on the hunt for holiday gifts.  (AP)

Millions of Americans will be traveling throughout the holiday season. Any wisdom regarding how to pack? How not to pack?

I have been at many an airport, and there’s that scary moment where you put your bag on the scale, and I’m like, 'Please let this be under 40 pounds. I don’t want to put on all my sweaters, right now!' So I say keep it basic, pack a lot of black [and] a lot of separates you can wear in a multitude of ways. So [pack] great denim, some great black pieces, and then have fun with the accessories.

What’s a smart to approach shopping style and beauty gifts for loved ones?  

Here is how I do my holiday shopping: I go to a place like Marshall’s, and I have a list of people. I don’t have a list of what I’m getting them, because that makes you run around to a million different places and you don’t find great things, anyways. So I have a list of all my people — I take that, I put it in my cart. I’m wheeling around the store, and as I see an item that reminds me of that person, I’m like, 'Wow, that would be great for Brenda,' and I just pop it in my cart.

I think you find surprising gifts that you weren’t expecting when you do it that way, and it makes it more personal … When you see that item, and think of that person, that’s a personalized gift.

When it comes to buying fashion gifts for others, is it better to ask them what their wardrobes are missing, or surprise them?

A great rule of thumb is to purchase either accessories, or items that don’t have to be perfectly sized. I don’t generally say, 'Hey what do you need?', because for me, I think the holidays are about getting things that you don’t need — things that are fun, exciting, one-of-a-kind surprises.

So I’ll buy accessories, maybe a great little knit hat with metallic details and a fun pompom on it, great beauty gifts, some faux fur pieces that aren’t particularly sized, cashmere gloves — things like that are little treats that people don’t generally buy for themselves, and are always welcome. Who doesn’t love a pair of cashmere gloves?! Anybody? Nobody. Just as I suspected. Everybody loves cashmere gloves.

Any tips for those looking to kick their fashion game up a notch in 2018?

I think for fashion, I think the biggest problem most women face is that women get in a rut, and you try things that you only know work. That’s great and you’re always gonna look good, but it can be a little boring.

I would say, a New Year’s resolution is maybe try one thing, a fashion thing, an accessory, a dress, a jacket, a piece of faux fur, that you wouldn’t normally try, and give it a whirl. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it’s a look that really works on you.

Through your work in fashion, any funny or terrible holiday disasters come to mind?

Fashion disasters can befell anyone, even a style guru. One time, I thought someone said it was an ugly sweater party. I don’t know where I got that, if I was watching “Bridget Jones’ Diary," I don’t know why, but for weeks, I tried to find the most hideous holiday sweater. And I thought I did such great job, and I donned it, and I went to the party, but it was not an ugly sweater party. It was a regular party, and I was the only person there with a terrible sweater on.

Anything else you’d like to share with our audience?

The best style advice is be yourself, and make it your own.