One of the most anticipated aspects of the holiday season is attending parties: festive family gatherings, swanky soirees, after-hours office functions. Less enjoyable than the mistletoe and merriment is figuring out what to wear. What level of formality is appropriate for the occasion? Should you choose something trendy or timeless? What if you can’t afford to buy something new? Whether your event is black-tie or denim-friendly, whether you are ready to splurge or want to shop your own closet, this guide to holiday party attire will help you take cues from the latest trends without looking overdone.
The ’80s may be one decade of fashion you never want to revisit, but undeniable odes to the era were all over the fall runways. The secret to pulling off this look is sticking to small doses. For a fun, spunky feel, pick one ’80s-inspired element, and keep the rest of your look simple and modern. Try wearing a dress with a classic silhouette in a vibrant neon shade, or add just a hint of bold color with an accessory like hot pink pumps.
From bows to ruffles to flowers, delightfully feminine details are a must. Nothing exudes more evening elegance than beautifully draped fabric. For a formal occasion, try a draped satin gown in a neutral shade, or pair a ruched mini skirt with a simple blouse for a less fancy version of this style. For a playful, flirty feel, don a tiered ruffle party dress. Just indulge your inner girly girl, and you’re sure to look fabulous!
Dazzle and shine
Embellishment is a great way to make any look evening chic. Sequins are one of the season’s most popular glitzy glam accoutrements. For full-on shine, sport a sequined dress. For a smaller dose, choose an item with small areas of ornamentation, or try a single piece such as a sequined skirt. If you’re worried about looking over-the-top, stick to a classic shade like black.
From classic moto jackets to full skirts, leather in all forms is ruling the style scene this season. Though not a common material for evening attire, it will lend a fresh, cool vibe to any ensemble. For your hip holiday party, try a leather skirt paired with a glamorous top, lots of sparkly jewelry and some fierce pumps. You can even give a pair of leather pants the evening treatment. To take the edge off your tough-girl look, incorporate frilly, feminine fabrics like lace. If you want to skip the leather but like the idea of a laid-back look, you can always dress up a pair of jeans. Just remember, dark washes are best for evening.
With all the inevitable expenses of the season, you may not want to shell out the cash for a new party dress. Don’t worry: It’s easy to refresh an old favorite with some choice accessories. Faux fur has made a huge comeback. A classic stole or shrug adds instant glamour to the little black dress you already own. Another easy way to take a dress from simple to stunning is a statement necklace. Any extra large, bejeweled beauty will do.
Baby, it’s cold outside
Can’t bring yourself to wear a slinky frock when it’s freezing outside? Try a rich fabric like velvet that is season-appropriate and stylish. Another option for both form and function is unique hosiery. Throw on a pair of brightly colored or textured tights to look cute and stay warm. Finally, never underestimate the power of a great jacket. Rather than an obligatory garment to get you from here to there, it can be an essential, enhancing part of your complete look.
For fail-proof party fashion, look to classic styles of the past for inspiration. Whether you choose authentic vintage or new, retro-inspired garments, certain silhouettes have timeless appeal. Fashion from the ’40s is especially coveted right now. To channel the mood of this time, emphasize your natural waist and shoulders, wear knee-length hemlines and add hints of drama like bright red lipstick to an otherwise simple and understated ensemble.
‘Tis the season
Take cues from the festive surroundings of the season to liven your look. Bold shades of red guarantee show-stopping style. Other color options include hunter, jade or emerald greens and even starry cobalt blue. Mimic the sparkle of moonlit snow or dazzling tinsel with metallic accessories or hints of clean winter white.
Holiday parties are all about having fun, and when you look good, you feel good. Don’t fret about your attire; just put a little bit of thought into your seasonal selections, and you’re sure to look fabulous and, most importantly, have a fabulous time. Cheers!