The Threads
There is an informality on the cusp of spring that lets us abandon the glitz of the holidays past. Those celebrations called for looks that blended formal and fabulous. Lurex. Velvet. Tartan. I loved wearing them all.

In this in-between season, I want to wear relaxed and comfortable clothing. Stretchy skinny or boyfriend- style jeans forgive winter’s indulgences and still look pulled together with the right tops. Don’t overthink. The looks I chose are mix and match and can be worn on every chilly weekend. Keep the outfit tailored and neutral with a clutch and fun pair of earrings, and you are good to go.

Key tips:
• KISS: Keep It Simple, Sister. This gathering doesn’t call for a caterer or spending all of Sunday preparing. You’ll be assuming the role of hostess, server, and problem solver (if someone accidentally spills that bowl of soup). Pick an outfit that’s comfortable and allows for movement. When I am the hostess I always try to dress slightly more casually than I imagine my guests will be dressed. This sets them at ease and allows me to be comfortable in the kitchen while preparing and serving the dinner.

• Keep a consistent palette between the tablescape and your outfit. The consistency gives the event a pulled-together vibe. Don’t get me wrong. It’s too much thought to “match” your table. That’s not the point. But this table turns dreaded blah colors into “come on over” sophistication. Wear these colors for a look that’s earthy chic. Sweaters in browns, winter white, pale blues, and camel mirror the colors outside.

• Layer your outfit. On the table and as an ensemble, layering adds depth. I love adding texture such as a chunky woven sweater with original details to balance a simple skinny jean. The nap of a modern, ultra-soft suede jacket takes the feminine route with a flouncy blouse underneath. Shearling lined suede boots or velvet slippers are the cozy and chic finish.

• Be creative. It’s just as much fun to play with an outfit when the event is casual as when getting dressed up. Accent a simple outfit with playful accessories. Earrings that mimic birds and insects, headbands that manage the mane without a trip to the stylist—they will both impress your guests. After all, everyone expects a formal affair to look good with all details polished to perfection. But casual style, calls for a less regimented approach that speaks of easy and effortless style.

The Treats
Food and music are the get-together wallops that really satisfy. But this menu shouldn’t be complicated, in fact, ignore the word “menu” completely. It’s too much. Pick a recipe: a hearty tomato soup (or any roasted vegetable soup). Grill steaks and layer the beef over your favorite salad mix. Or gather the fixings for fancy grilled cheese (muenster on wheat or brie with apple slices are my loves). In a flash, this meal is done. And for dessert? You know all of those chocolates and other sweet consumables that you were gifted for Valentine’s Day. Use them now. If they’re gone, pick up your favorite sweet treat from a local bakery or candy shop.

The Tunes
I’m recommending this playlist. Fourteen or so songs should provide a lengthy enough loop to infuse the room with music. Weave your favorites into the mix to suit your musical style and the occasion.

1. Crash into Me
Dave Matthews Band

2. Waste

3. Beautiful People
Ed Sheeran

4. Eastside (with Halsey & Khalid)
Benny Blanco

5. She Will Be Loved
Maroon 5

6. One
Mary J. Blige

7. The Chain (2004)
Fleetwood Mac

8. Closer
The Chainsmokers

9. Melissa
Duane and Gregg Allman

10. Up Where We Belong
Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

11. Nothing Compares 2 U

12. Sample in a Jar

13. Slow Burn
Kacey Musgraves

14. Ophelia
The Lumineers