5 No-Fail Party Looks For Any Holiday Event

From the gala to your mom’s dining room

Holiday party season is now in full swing. While your schedule is probably bursting at the seams with different holiday-related events to attend—whether it’s your own party or you’re the guest of a guest—the question of “what the hell do I wear?” may be the most stressful part of it all.

What does one wear to a cocktail as opposed to the office holiday party, and how can they do so while still looking like themselves? Of course, the trick is to find out as much about the dress code as you can, and follow it closely. Then, use your accessories to add that personal touch that still makes the outfit “you.” 

Still, with so many places to be all month long, a little inspiration never hurt anyone. Below, we put together five different holiday outfits appropriate for whatever party situation you may find yourself in. Whether you’re spending Christmas on your parents’ couch or attending the gala of the year, read on for some outfit ideas to get your stylist juices flowing.

The Office Holiday Party

Ah, the office holiday party. When it comes to celebrating the holidays amongst your colleagues and peers, you want to look your best. This may be the one time of the year that they don’t see you slamming your head against your desk, am I right? These tend to be less formal than a cocktail, so we say, bust out that chic jumpsuit you’ve been waiting to wear and add on a fun accessory or two, making your outfit both statement making and true to your personal style.

1. Topshop. Satin Cold Shoulder Jumpsuit, $95, available at Topshop; 2. Clare V, Foldover Clutch, $235, available at Clare V3. Pamela Love, Beaumont Cuff, $280, available at Pamela Love4. ALDO, Izabela Sandal, $80, available at ALDO.

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve is an entire holiday party category in itself. On this very special night, we tend to go for the sparkliest of dresses, the wildest of makeup, and the craziest of parties to close out the year—I mean, this is the one night of the year that you can truly get away with wearing full-on sequins, after all. Pair with loud accessories, such as a colorful clutch and graphic shoes, to ensure you turn heads all night long.

1. Milly, Rainbow Box Clutch, $295, available at Milly2. & Other Stories, Sequin Dress, $145, available at & Other Stories3. Shashi, Star Disco Ear Climber, $105, available at Shashi4. Miss Selfridge, Star Detail Sandal, $96, available at ASOS.

Holidays at the family's house

This is where we all get to chill out a bit in terms of holiday parties. Whether you’re hanging with your parents, your full extended family, or visiting your significant other's family for the first time, these parties tend to be much more relaxed (wardrobe-wise, that is). Instead of a dress, opt for a cute top-and-skirt combo and give your poor feet a rest from the heels you’ve been wearing all month.

1. Topshop, Floral Satin Wrap Top, $65, available at Topshop2. Vanessa Mooney, The Sofia Choker, $55, available at Vanessa Mooney3. Furla, Metropolis, $498, available at Furla4. Jaggar Footwear, Prime Flat, $130, available at Fashion BNKR5. Zara, Frilled Skirt, $69.90, available at Zara.

The cocktail

The cocktail party will require you to wear a cocktail dress, but that doesn’t have to mean it has to be so formal that it becomes boring. Find an interesting silhouette that still fits the cocktail dress standards but has a bit more tszuj to it, like a fluttering sleeve or an embellished neckline.

1. Pixie Market, Grey Blue Ruffled ColdShoulder Dress, $49, available at Pixie Market; 2. J.Crew, Garland Crystal Necklace, $138, available at J.Crew3. Kate Spade, Cameron Street Glitter Sima, $228, available at Kate Spade4. River Island, Rose Gold Cross Strappy Heels, $70, available at River Island.

The gala

The gala is the fanciest of fancy parties. Especially around this time of year, black tie galas and benefits take place to help raise money for a good cause, meaning a gown is required. However dressy it may be, it’s still important to keep things interesting with cool accessories, such as an oddly shaped clutch—it’ll be quite the conversation starter.

1. ASOS, Cage Sphere Clutch, $38, available at ASOS2. Baublebar, Minimal Metal Collar, $38, available at Baublebar3. Halston Heritage, Cape-Back Crepe Gown, $395, available at Net-A-Porter4. Missguided, Lace Up Barely There Heeled Sandals, $43, available at ASOS.