What to Wear for the Party Season

‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? That is, until party season starts and we all have to not only find the time to pick the perfect outfit for our annual holiday shindigs, but we have to figure out what in the world to wear. Among office parties, ornament exchanges, Christmas cocktails at the neighbors, family dinners and more, the never-ending battle of our outfit dilemmas continues.

Unless it’s an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” theme, there are always different interpretations about party attire, and invitations can be confusing when offering helpful hints. I mean, really, what is “Casual Cocktail” anyway?

The first thing I want to clarify is that holiday dressing doesn’t have to be so literal. You do NOT have to wear a Christmas tree pendant or sport red and/or green to be in the holiday spirit. Now, I do love those colors, and it’s completely acceptable to wear them, but please don’t wear them together. Try using them as a pop of color to make a statement with your outfit, or take a chance on a distant cousin like burgundy or forest green. Plaids are also out in full force at retail stores and are a great way to look the part of the merry party guest.

My stylish business partner and I have teamed up together to include some outfit inspiration for some of your upcoming parties. We’ve gone from casual looks to dressier ideas to help guide you along your busy social calendars.

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"Casual Holiday"

Outfit ideas for girls night out, couple’s ornament exchanges, Dirty Santa (or White Elephant) gift exchanges, or holiday dinner with family and/or friends.

• Wear a festive plaid for those casual nights out with your besties. Step it up a notch by adding an off-the-shoulder style to the mix. Pop in a red accessory like a crossbody bag or statement earring and you are ready to go!

• Add a little shimmer to your holiday style with a crushed velvet tee. Pair with dark denim for a “dressed” up casual look and heels. Booties are also appropriate here, too. Layer a boyfriend cardigan or faux leather jacket for extra warmth.

(Plaid Outfit) Hat, J. Crew Factory, $24 | Plaid Top, My Style Scoop, $72 | Jeans, My Style Scoop, $78 | Necklace, Kendra Scott, $65 | Handbag, Gucci | Booties, Toms, $80 (Available at Zappos.com)

(Velvet Tee Outfit) Cardigan, Halogen by Nordstrom, $68 | Velvet Tee, My Style Scoop, $36 | Jeans, My Style Scoop, $78 | Shoes, Sam Edelman, $75 | Earrings, Kendra Scott, $195 | Clutch, Saint Laurent

"Dressy Casual"

Outfit ideas for cocktails at a friend’s house, Sunday school Christmas social or a more relaxed office party.

• Burgundy is an alternate way to add a bold yet playful color to your party pants (or jeans). A velvet blazer is the perfect way to dress up a pair of jeans or black pants. It’s also a great outerwear option for a black jumpsuit or dress. 

• Make a statement with a red skirt or pair of pants, but let them be the star of the show. Add a little sparkle with an embellished bomber jacket or cardigan. Tights and booties will work here too for chillier temps.

(Velvet Blazer Outfit) Velvet Blazer, My Style Scoop, $88 | Tee, J. Crew, $29.50 | Jeans, My Style Scoop, $78 | Shoes, Zara, $70 | Necklace, Kendra Scott, Build-Your-Own at the Color Bar (prices vary) | Clutch, Clare V, $275 | Sunglasses, Chanel, $350

(Bomber Jacket Outfit) Velvet Tee, My Style Scoop, $36 | Embellished Bomber Jacket, My Style Scoop, $118 | Red Wrap Skirt, BlankNYC, $98 | Booties, Ivanka Trump (available at 6pm.com) | Handbag, Saint Laurent (available at Nordstrom) | Cuff, Bauble Bar, $34


Outfit ideas for work parties, dressed up Christmas Eve (or day) dinner or more formal events that are not cocktail attire.

• Separates are such a great way to create a versatile wardrobe and can give you more outfit options after the main event. Get in the holiday spirit by popping in a red heel and add a bold necklace to dress it up.

• Take your basics up a notch by adding a little luxe with faux fur and over-the-knee boots. Bring in your holiday cheer with a red, green or burgundy accessory. 

(Fur Jacket Outfit) Faux Fur Jacket, My Style Scoop, $150 | Blouse, My Style Scoop, $54 | Skirt, Loft, $59.50 | Over-the-Knee Boots, Steven Madden, $100 (available at Zappos.com) | Clutch, Similar available at NordstromRack.com

(Red Heels Outfit) Sweater, J Crew, $79.50 | Skirt, Draper James, $150 | Heels, Banana Republic, $128 | Bag, Tory Burch | Necklace, Accessory Concierge, $42