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Holiday frocks galore

Commentator Michelle Philippe

TEXT OF COMMENTARY

LISA NAPOLI: Overindulgence could be the catchword for the holiday season. Eating of course, spending too much on gifts — the economy depends on it. Marketplace commentator Michelle Philippe has some thoughts on the perks you pick up for yourself.


MICHELLE PHILIPPE: Frivolity runs in my family. Clearly we can't wait for the holidays. They're a huge excuse to buy fancy frocks, and it's the only time of year they really get worn.

Dozens of my occasion-challenged garments suffocate inside their plastic bags, gradually depreciating as they go out of style. My closet is a glamour graveyard.

But I continue purchasing. This Los Angeles winter-wonderland princess loves to sparkle! Then, everything comes to a screeching halt on January first when my Visa bill arrives.

How can I get more bang for my wardrobe buck?

I've become a rebel! I wear black velvet to work. It's not just for funerals anymore.

Sure, I know that scrooge-like American spirit that loves sweats has low tolerance for tulle poufs and velvet gowns. But I'm an actress! So, I get to dress up in a range of costumes and dresses.

I've discovered new events warranting taffeta and long gloves too. Take the Miss America pageant. I pulled out all the stops and wore angora with feathers to watch the crowning on TV.

And earlier in the year I gave up denim for Lent. Eliminating jeans for 40 days forced me into all corners of my wardrobe. I wore that two-piece, wraparound, gold lame number on casual Friday.

Another strategy I've developed: starting my holidays earlier in the year.

My holiday season launched in October. I was wearing my cat ears in the grocery store when this guy said, "do I know you?" He vaguely remembered me from a Hollywood party.

So, he introduced me to his wife and they invited me to their shindig, a dress-up cocktail affair. Perfect for my grandmother's slinky, '60s cocktail dress. But the party got cancelled! So, I took it as a sign from Santa to go out and buy me some more stuff.

This year I'm on a tear, acquiring fuzzy stoles and chandelier earrings.

But even I have a spending conscience. I called my favorite boutique to put that blue satin dress on hold. I saw it the other day after a Chardonnay lunch with my girlfriend.

I felt guilty about it. I mean do I REALLY need it???

Come to think of it, compared to her spending habits, I've actually been very, very, very, very good. So, I should be rewarded with that blue satin dress. Ooo and throw the fuzzy foo-foo in there too.

Sparkling in Hollywood, I'm Michelle Philippe for Marketplace.

NAPOLI: Michelle Philippe is a Los Angeles-based actress who also happens to be an executive assistant here at Marketplace.

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