What To Wear To A Holiday Party

What To Wear To A Holiday Party

Whether you spin dreidels, sing carols or live for New Year’s Eve, your holiday season is bound to sparkle. Don’t let the icicles and glittery cards outshine you — the season of warm cocoa and warmer thoughts is also prime party time. No typical party look will do during the holidays. From the buttoned-up company gathering to a casual bash with pals, you’ll find something just right this holiday season. Here’s the ultimate guide to what to wear to a holiday party.

What To Wear To A Holiday Party


Office Party

Striking the right balance between festive and appropriate is key when dressing for drinks with your or your partner’s boss. For most workplace parties, a simple black dress is the perfect choice — provided you dress it up. Take a cue from “Ladies’ Home Journal” and pair your LBD with a statement necklace, textured clutch and a pair of red heels, or wear your dress with a glittery cardigan and opt for black T-strap heels. Depending on the formality of the party, guys may wear a suit and dress shoes or feel comfortable in khakis, a dress shirt, sport coat and leather or suede slip-ons.

Family Fiesta

When the party guest list includes little ones, dress for the possibility that you’ll end up crouched on the floor playing peek-a-boo at some point. Comfort is key for a warm family gathering, although that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice style. Wear black pants or dark jeans topped with a satin or silk jewel-toned blouse and a tailored blazer or fitted cardigan. Pull on flats with some visual interest — think metallic accents or woven sequins. Guys will be ready to party in khakis or jeans, a collared shirt under a wool sweater and a pair of leather loafers. If the wind is howling, the snow is drifting and you just want to feel cozy, wear waterproof boots to the gathering and change into slippers or padded moccasins after you’ve kissed your hosts hello.

Night On the Town

A party held at a swanky bar or restaurant calls for shine and shimmer — after all, you’ll have to stand out in dim lighting. Wear a metallic cocktail dress and colorful wedges or pumps. Go light on jewelry with a simple pair of earrings and a cocktail ring. For a more casual atmosphere, pair a long-sleeved shirtdress or shift dress with tights and suede or leather booties and a metallic necklace. Guys can dress up or down for this type of party. At a casual neighborhood restaurant, dark jeans with a dress shirt and tie works; occasions that are more formal call for a suit. Either way, dark dress shoes are appropriate.

Winter Wonderland

If you’re lucky enough to score a holiday party invitation that includes the words “gala,” “black tie” or “ball,” casual wear won’t cut it. Guys must wear a dark suit or tie and polished black dress shoes; ladies can go all-out. Wear a long dress in navy or charcoal gray — or, if you’re feeling bold and want to embrace the holiday spirit, pick a dress in bright, true red. It’s a color that flatters every skin tone. Silky or satiny fabrics are most fitting for an upscale affair, but you might be surprised how elegant a velvet dress can look, provided it’s sleek and fits perfectly. Pick out a wrap, beaded purse and a pair of low, silver heels and you’re ready to brush shoulders with the fabulous and festive.

References & Resources

Ladies’ Home Journal; Holiday Party Dressing: What’s Your Style; Gabrielle Porcaro
Real Simple: The 4 Universally Flattering Clothing Colors