"I didn't have the Christmas spirit," says mailman Steve Hudson of Lincoln, Nebraska. "With all the heavy mail and the long hours, you really get tired. So I dressed up as Santa Claus. It gets me through the Christmas season. Everybody loves it."

It may not always be fur-trimmed red velvet and jingle bells, but dressing up for the holidays makes the season sparkle.Seasonal dressing bedazzles with beads, shimmers with silk for men and women and languishes in lace.

"A party isn't a party without beaded details," says Debbie Hogle, buyer at The Company, Foothill Boulevard. "Beaded trims are an important detail in holiday dressing."

Dresses, jackets, blouses and sweaters beam with beaded appliques.

Holiday styles at The Company range from dainty, lace-collared Victorian dresses to classic jumpsuits. An up-dated contemporary look, recently added to the traditional lines carried by the store, is represented with an "L.A. Law-style" rolled-collar jacket over a flowing split skirt.

Nancy Johnson, designer of one Company-carried dress line, says, "I really believe it's time for women to be absolutely drop-dead glamorous for evening with entrancemaking, traffic-stopping clothes."

Regardless of the smashing outfit selected for the holiday party, Hogle emphasizes the importance of complementary accessories.

"Any holiday celebration would be incomplete this season without a pair of shoulder-duster earrings," Hogle says.

For men, Art Barney, co-owner of The Company, suggests the casual chic of tweed and flannel, accented with a nautical or abstract motif in a necktie.

"Our clientele dresses conservatively, but enjoys making a bold statement with a sweater or contrasting shirt, particularly during the holidays," Barney says.

Holiday dressing assumes a conservative air when the fashion pieces expand to more than one use, according to Jack Bernard of The Chalk Garden.

"When you invest in a knock-out party outfit, you want to wear it more than once," Bernard says. "Washable silk, clearly the top seller in women's fabrics the past several years and now available in menswear, is the right investment."

Washable silk pieces lend pizazz to the most elegant affair, but are equally at home with jeans and boots.

"The new washable silk suit for men is a smashing tux," Bernard says, "but works with a T-shirt and jeans. It's so comfortable, it's like wearing pajamas. And it has a great texture; it's a truly touchable fabric, like suede."

Crinkled silk separates, available in a variety of lengths and styles, twist up to fit inside a tiny purse.

"Beyond partywear, these pieces are terrific for travel. The crumpled look becomes classic with jeans or formal evening attire," Bernard says.

Another distinctive line available at the Chalk Garden is from local designer Mary Coldesina's stretch lace coordinates. Cut in a variety of tops, skirt lengths and dresses, the pieces capture a timeless look for day or evening.

Bernard summarizes the secret of seasonal dressing, "The key is to select pieces that are versatile, things that work in a casual setting or a formal environment. That element of versatility never goes out of style; whether you bought it 10 years ago, today, or (buy it) 10 years from now."

When the party cranks up, holiday fashions zing with the glamour of silk, beads and lace, making the season sparkle.