I’ve been getting a lot of questions about holiday party dresses already, and I guess it is that time! Many company holiday parties occur early in December, and while it sounds crazytown, December is only 3½ weeks away! It’s definitely time to start planning what to wear.
If your party invitation dictates formal attire, you want to look for a floor-length dress. I am assuming these are rare these days. Most invitations will say “cocktail attire” or “semi-formal” — or the worst because it’s so vague, “festive attire.” What IS that???
Of course every company party is different, but generally cocktail attire is appropriate. I realize that “cocktail attire” covers a lot of ground these days. A pair of pants and a sweater is dressy enough for many company parties, but I prefer to wear a dress. After all, how often do you get a chance to wear a cocktail dress???
This season I’ve already posted two party looks. This Eliza J Embellished Taffeta Sheath would be perfect for many holiday parties, and it’s still available in several sizes. I love the crushed green taffeta. It’s different than your typical LBD but still festive. Throw on a wrap or a faux fur cape, and you’re good to go! Outfit details in THIS POST.
And this cold shoulder dress is sold out, but it gives you an idea for a way to dress up a LBD with color. I also like that this one has long sleeves because I’m always cold, and this eliminates the need for a wrap. Outfit details in THIS POST.
Last year I wore this Dolman Sleeve Blouson Dress from White House Black Market, and I’m excited to see it back this year. They are usually the first place I look for special occasion dresses. They always have a great selection this time of year. I wore black suede pumps and sheer black hose and some black and silver jewelry I also picked up at White House Black Market. Outfit details in THIS POST.
I always get questions about pantyhose, so I wrote a post about what hose to wear with a black cocktail dress and whether pantyhose are even in style at all. The overall consensus was that in the wintertime, sheer pantyhose are appropriate with a semi-formal dress — especially for those of us of a certain age. I will still go bare legged in the summertime because I have a tan (or a good self-tanner) but in the wintertime, these legs need some coverage.
Sheer black hose or sheer skin-colored hose are equally appropriate. I feel like sheer black hose are dressier than nude hose, and with a black dress, I prefer the streamlined monochromatic look of black hose. For a look that is more casual and youthful, tights are an option, but my husband’s office is very conservative and traditional (they are actuaries, if that tells you anything! lol!) so I decided hose were my best bet for the look above.
16 Holiday Party Dresses for 2016
I’ve been scouring the internet for great holiday party dresses and to get a tab on current trends. Lace is a huge trend right now, and most dresses are A-line or sheath styles. You’ll see some “fit and flare” styles as well. Midi dresses are becoming popular, and I really like this ladylike trend. I’ll share styling suggestions along the dresses, and I’m trying to hit a variety of price points, but of course you can take these ideas and shop at your favorite retailer.
#1: Shimmer Jacquard Flare Dress in Gold Metallic (Ann Taylor, $179)
Go monochromatic and pair this dress with gold or nude dress sandals and top with a champagne colored satin wrap. Wear bold statement earrings and carry a gold minaudière.
#2: Gwen Midi Dress in Navy (Nordstrom, $194)
This dress also comes in red, black, and white, but I love the navy for something different. No necklace is needed, but blingy statement earrings and a stack of bangles would be the perfect accessories. I’d wear gold sandals as pictured, or if you prefer, go for a pair of shimmery pumps (lower heel here.) A faux fur caplet would be the perfect topper for this sophisticated dress.
#3: Lace V-Neck Sheath (LOFT, $118)
This V-neckline is the perfect palette for a great necklace. Go with a trendy choker or a more classic statement necklace. Finish this holiday look with black suede lace-up pumps, or bring in some color with these rich burgundy t-strap pumps.
#4. Fringe Dress (White House Black Market, $120)
I’ve gotta hand it to White House Black Market. They make themselves a one-stop shop when it comes to holiday attire. They always have coordinating jewelry, bags, and even shoes. I love how they accessorized this dress. I can’t find the exact necklace online but this red stone y-necklace is similar and would certainly work with this dress, and these red velvet sandals are the perfect accompaniment. Top it off with this black sequin wrap.
#6. Chaps Faux Wrap Sheath (Kohl’s, $71.25)
You can easily dress this faux wrap sheath up or down, depending on the formality of your event. Pair it with embellished suede pumps or metallic silver sandals. This statement bib necklace would be fabulous for a formal event, or go with a simple string of pearls.
#7. Mock Neck Instantly Slimming Dress (White House Black Market, $160)
For a body con style that hugs you in all the right places, I’m obsessed with this dress with built-in shapewear. I know it looks short, but I think the model is probably 5’10”. It is actually an inch longer than the one I’m wearing at the beginning of this post. Of course this LBD is a blank slate for so many different accessories, but something about these black and gold pointy toe pumps made of sequins and mesh with accents of black patent leather strike me as a match made in heaven.
#8: Bell Sleeve Sheath Dress (Nordstrom, $69)
Pair this retro-inspired dress with chunky black suede sandals or platform pumps. Go for a layered crystal necklace or a trendy layered Y-necklace and carry a fun black sequin clutch.
#9. Embellished One Shoulder Dress (Bloomingdales, $158)
Eliza J is one of my favorite dress designers, so I had to include her in this roundup. I think this satiny one-shoulder dress is so sophisticated and elegant. If I didn’t already have a dress for my husband’s office party, I’d snap this up in a heartbeat. Bloomingdale’s is also having a triple points event right now, and this dress qualifies. I’d accessorize with big blingy earrings and bracelet and silver sparkly shoes and bag. Bring along this metallic lightweight wrap to throw around your shoulders if it’s chilly.
#11. Lace Fit & Flare Dress (Nordstrom, $158)
This is another Eliza J dress. I prefer a sheath, but this fit and flare style is very flattering on women who are more pear-shaped. I love the way it’s accessorized on the model, but I also think these black strappy sandals would be stunning with this red. The dress comes in 7 color options!
#12. Chaps Sequin Pleated Sheath (Kohl’s, $90)
This sparkly sheath comes in navy and grey, and either would be perfect for a holiday party. This dress would also be fabulous for NYE. I love it with these pewter strappy sandals and Stella & Dot Gala Statement Chandeliers.
#13. Bow Back Midi Dress (Bloomingdales, $148)
This dress caught my eye because it’s different. I love the bow detail in the back — you have to click through to see that! I’d accessorize with metallics and lots of bling. (See #9 for links.)
#14. Sequin Lace Dress (Bloomingdales, $194)
This dress is pricey, but it’s a classic that you’d have in your closet for years and years. I see this with those amazing platinum Stuart Weitzman Nudist Sandals.
#15. Burnout Velvet Fit & Flare Dress (Nordstrom, 148)
I’ll be honest, I can’t decide if this dress is gorgeous or tacky, but I wanted something different from all of the solids, and when I came across this, it caught my eye. I’d definitely wear black shoes with this and probably carry a black bag.
#16. Embellished Mesh Sheath Dress (Nordstrom, $148)
I wanted to wrap up with something unique, and I love how the sparkling beads and sequins overlap like petals all over this classic cocktail dress. In addition to the navy pictured, this dress comes in champagne, khaki, rose and plum. I’m partial to this navy, though. Add gold glittery shoes, statement earrings, bracelet, and a clutch and you’re good to go! Top it off with this metallic lightweight wrap.
I know I didn’t even touch on skirt or pant outfits, and there are certainly plenty of options for those. Also jumpsuits! I came across a few jumpsuits as I was perusing dresses, and I decided not to go there for this post and to keep it to strictly dresses, but perhaps I’ll have a chance to style a few other types of holiday party outfits this season.
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