14 Holiday Party Outfits That Aren't a Sea of Tinsel

'Tis the season to stand out from the crowd.

holiday party outftis

Design by Tiana Crispino

Holiday parties are supposed to be fun, but somehow the pressures of what to wear make you want to RSVP no to everything. If you’re going to buy something for the parties, you’re likely going to wear it once, because a sparkly tutu and gigantic stilettos aren't really the most versatile pieces.

Festive dressing doesn’t have to be so literal though; A fun outfit you feel really cool in is as celebratory as it gets. And accessories are always your friend when trying to add extra umph to an outfit. Think of your everyday outfit and just pump it up: Printed jeans instead of blue, a satin blouse instead of cotton, a chunky necklace instead of a simple chain, and, of course, the most fun shoes (that are still walkable). Below, 14 outfits to help illustrate that holiday dressing can be so much more than just sparkles and a Santa hat or New Year's crown.

Everyday Ingredients

A favorite outfit that always feels put together is a blazer and jeans, so here I am with exactly that, but with a shot of espresso. These Bruce Glen rainbow striped jeans are the epitome of party pants. Paired with a tuxedo blazer (or any blazer!), a lacey bra or tank peaking out, and some metallic shoes, and you have a go-to party outfit.

Just a Touch of Sparkle

I’m not opposed to investing in a holiday piece, but that doesn’t mean you need to wear head-to-toe crystals. This top from Muehleder is a favorite, which you could also wear with a long-sleeve tee or turtleneck underneath. It would look so cool and elevated with a dark pair of jeans, and some metallic heeled booties that you will easily keep wearing past the party.

Stirrups to a Soirée?

I am the biggest advocate of stirrups. My favorite are Splits59's River High Waist Airweight Stirrup ($124), which are velvety soft and incredibly stretchy without that spandex sheen. Wear them with a belted statement blazer—I like the touch of festive with the plaid asymmetrical ones from The Marcon Court Project. The belt can even be a long chain necklace fastened to the right length. Add some ladylike heels. You can try wearing the stirrup on the outside if you’re comfortable—it makes the heeled shoes feel more secure, plus it’s a cool look. Lastly, because this outfit is kind of on the casual side, add a bold red lip color.

The Most Comfortable One at the Party

Here we are with another style of leggings: Pedal pushers! They should specifically hit just below your knee and ideally not have any logo or visible seams. I love them with ballet flats (the combo makes your legs look 50 feet long). I'd pair the pedal pushers and flats with a very cool, slightly shiny, boxy quilted shirt jacket (which you could swap for a boxy blazer), a super long strand of pearls to wrap around your neck, and a festive bag in the shape of a bow because you are the gift at this party.

Keep it Monochromatic

A monochrome look always feels highly considered to me. I love all green because, while green is a trendy color right now, it is also festive around the seas of evergreen trees (which would make for a great Instagram post). With a pair of tall western boots, it’s playful but not corny. I also happen to adore the Baby Mini Skirt in Green Fil Coupé ($179) from Amotea, and you can keep wearing it throughout the year.

Printed Pants Pair Well With Bubbly

If you’re eying a pair of printed pants, now is a great time to get them. Wear a pair of printed casual pants with a party top and accessories—but ones you could easily wear for other purposes outside of a holiday party—will make you look festive but not cheesy.

An Outfit Crafted Around Your Favorite Bottoms

If you have a pair of bottoms you feel amazing in—might that be jeans or trousers—structure your look around them. I paired this really classic pair of Reformation trousers with a statement top and festive heels. It’s so easy, but you’ll feel great in it.

Work Trousers as Party Trousers

Hello day-to-night! Wear a pair of tailored pants with a sequin or sparkly top and cool shoes. I chose a clog because a heel would have felt too “workwear” with the pants, and the clog helps keep the outfit more modern. Finally, add a bold bag of choice. I love the unexpected saffron color of Pangaia's Jersey it Bag ($480).

A Party Dress You Really Love

Just because I’m resistant to throw tinsel all over my body, doesn’t mean I’m anti-party dress. I actually love them, and a mini dress like the Mara Dress ($285) from Tyler McGgillivary will have a life past the party. Think: Worn with an oversized denim jacket and sneakers on weekends. I paired the dress for this occasion with tall white boots (really any tall leather boots will do), because pumps would be too '80s-female-protagonist for me. Add a modern mixed-metal necklace, and vintage chain link bag (here are a ton on Etsy).

Satin, Not Sparkle

Satin is a way to be festive without dousing yourself in sequins. I love the Satin Slit Trouser in navy ($325) from KkCo paired with a bold, patterned, kind-of-sexy top, a pair of satin platforms, and a colorful statement necklace. Don’t Let Disco's All of the Lights Necklace ($325) is a low-key strand of beaded Christmas Lights. I love it so much.

A Kilt for Kristmas

I’m so sorry for Kardashianizing the holiday's name, but that heading wrote itself. When I think of a holiday party, my brain reluctantly goes to plaid, but with this bright modern version of a kilt from Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, you’re not being too literal. It's almost fully sold out, so I've included one from Scotland Shop, and here is a slew of great ones on Etsy. I'd pair the skirt with a tee in subtly festive colors plus several bracelets, a chunky platform for coolness, and a brightly-colored mini bag.

A Reason to Buy New Boots (or Wear Ones You Own and Love)

I’ve been eyeing these boots from Chelsea Paris, so I’m going to do something you may have done before, and make an excuse to get them. If you’re going to buy something for a holiday party, make it something you really love and will wear. My best advice is to do that with shoes. These zebra boots will look great with a black mini dress you already own (I love Sir's Square-Neck Pinafore Dress ($400) one specifically), and some fun accessories.

Keep Your Eyes Down

On my shoes! If you have, or are eyeing, extremely fun statement shoes, you can go really simple on the rest of your outfit and make the shoes the star of your outfit. Like these shoes from Y/Project, which I’ve paired with a suit (I did one with a waistcoat just for fun) and a necklace you love (I added a touch of color with this Brooke Callahan one). This outfit is like having really minimalist furniture centered around a work of art on your wall.

Here to Party

If there is a chance you love hotpants as much as I do, perhaps you’ll be swayed by the High-Cut Cheeky Short ($160) from Char Work Room. Worn with a very classic, boxy, tonal heather gray cashmere mockneck sweater, you’ll be fun on the bottom but fully sophisticated on top. I paired the grey top half with some super opaque tights (I love the ones from Hue), a ladylike black pump (you could also do black velvet Mary Janes), and a baroque pearl necklace with a punch of holiday color.

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