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Dress to Impress: Holiday Party Outfit Ideas for Every Sort of Soirée

by Rebecca Casamayor

The annual office soirée season is upon us once again, and you need holiday party outfit ideas ASAP. If you’re like us, you find this occasion to be a little stressful because you want to dress to impress at the party, but you also want to look festive and appropriate. How do you shine at the party without looking over-the-top? Can you look chic and still be comfortable? If you’re looking for tips on how to nail your holiday party outfit this season, look no further.

Consider the Timing and Location

Before you do any shopping for your holiday party outfit, review the key event details. Where and when is the party being held? It might seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook these details. As a general rule, the earlier the time of the party, the more likely the dress code will lean toward casual, as opposed to cocktail attire or even black-tie. Similarly, the more casual the venue, the less fancy your outfit should be.

Woman in a white suit

Decode the Dress Code

If there’s an official invitation (yes, an electronic invite still counts), double-check to see if there’s a dress code. If it’s something along the lines of “festive attire,” keep the location in mind and dress your look up or down from there, depending on how dressy the venue is.

For example, if the party is during the workday and at the office, you can still dress to impress—just tone it down a few notches. Consider working some low-key festive pieces into your everyday work look. If you’re always in a pantsuit at the office, try swapping your regular blazer jacket for one with texture, like velvet, or trade your classic black trousers for bold red pants. If your office is more casual and you like a uniform of jeans and a turtleneck sweater, add a little sparkle to your outfit for the party with the right accessory, like a crystal belt.

Alternatively, if the event is at a nice restaurant or bar, you could step it up with a dress, skirt, or jumpsuit. Look for occasion pieces in luxe fabrics, like lace, jacquard, or velvet, and touches of fur or sparkle. Opt for strong hues, like black, white, gold, silver, red, or deep blue, rather than pale, pastel colors, and look for structured silhouettes, like a full midi skirt or a wide-leg jumpsuit.

Take into Account Your Industry

You should also consider the industry you work in when putting together your holiday party outfit. The answer to this will help dictate just how far you push the boundaries with your look.

If you work in a creative space, like fashion or design, it’s probably safe to say that the more exciting and interesting your outfit, the better. Wear the bright red dress or the faux-fur coat. If you work in finance or a more conservative industry, dress to impress, but make sure the hemline isn’t too short, the neckline isn’t too plunging, and the fabric isn’t too tight. Avoid bright, eye-catching colors like orange or lime green in favor of dark, muted tones (think: black, navy, or burgundy), and go for a more body-skimming silhouette, like a pencil skirt, in a structured fabric.

Woman wearing a floral dress

When in Doubt, Go Sophisticated

When in doubt, lean toward sophisticated separates that are well-tailored, feel chic, and make a statement rather than opting for an over-the-top flashy look. For instance, pair a suit in bright red or sleek white with an effortlessly chic fur coat on top. Stick to silhouettes and styles you typically like to wear, but punch it up by opting for luxe fabrics or rich, jewel-tone colors rather than your usual neutral tones. To add the final touch, swipe on some bright red lipstick to add that extra glamour.

‘Tis the season to add some glitz to your party look, so the key is finding the outfit that’s right for both your style and the occasion. Not a dress gal? No problem. There are so many chic alternatives out there this holiday party season, from velvet pantsuits to wide-leg jumpsuits. Alternatively, if you love a good party dress, this is your time to shine, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

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