There aren’t many occasions in the year, unless you’re a socialite or celebrity, to wear a fancy party dress. (Unless you’re the perpetual bridesmaid, in which case you’d probably rather have a hot poker in your eye than wear another beige satin frock.)
For most of us, the holidays mean a rare occasion to, in Drake’s well-chosen words, get your “nails done, hair done, everything did.” To top it off, we get to slip into a great holiday party dress.
In our humble opinion, holiday parties warrant more than just a simple LBD but that’s not to say they won’t do. For a Christmas party, the more sparkle, glitter and brocade in an outfit, the more points you get with the celebration gods this season.
We totally get it. Your mind is a bit fuzzy from shopping for holiday office party dresses. If you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help with some celebrity inspiration.
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If you’re the type who likes to stop people in their tracks, the Paula Ko LBD that actress Lily Collins recently wore will not just stop people, it will actually trip them and say, “look at me!!!” A show-stopping embellishment like a huge white satin bow is perfect for a holiday gala where black tie is the dress code.
The best time to wear sequins is on New Year's Eve and when you’re hosting a holiday party. (The hostess always gets to stand out more than her guests, right?) Actress Jessica Chastain wore a festive Chanel sequin dress that would make any holiday party hostess shine. Not only does her couture frock sparkle but the diagonal stripes take it a step above any old sequined dress. So if you're looking to find that razzle dazzle without the boredom, look for a dress that has uses the sequins in unexpected patterns.
If you’re attending a wedding, wearing white can be dicey but for the holidays it's more than appropriate.
Try going entirely snow white with a dress like this one worn by former “Gossip Girl” actress, Leighton Meester. Meester’s white Calvin Klein number would look lovely with a festive pair of patterned nylons or boots to keep your legs warm.
If you do decide to wear white, be careful not to booze it up so much that you’re sloshing your eggnog all over your pristine dress. Hello, dry cleaning bill!
Traditional English Fabrics
Houndstooth and tweed have a decidedly festive quality because they just make you look fancy and dressed-up. “One Tree Hill” actress Sofia Bush wore a great houndstooth sheath that would make for the perfect holiday party dress. We suggest adding a little embellishment like a brooch for some extra seasonal sparkle or a red patent clutch for a pop of colour.
Trust us, you want to wear a dress with feather embellishments like this navy beauty, worn by “Glee” actress Lea Michelle. An elegant plume could potentially keep your tush warm and more importantly, how regal do feathers look? We encourage you to swish them around while dancing to your favourite holiday remix of "Jingle Bells."
The art of wearing lace is as delicate as the fabric itself. If worn incorrectly, you could unintentionally give the wrong impression to fellow partygoers. Due to the boudoir-ish nature of lace, the fine fabric tends to look classier when less cleavage is visible and leg slits are kept to a minimum.
Michelle Williams looked chic and respectable in this red Erdem A-line lace dress, which is highly recommended for any holiday gathering.
While fur is generally best for cold winter nights outside, a cute faux fur-trimmed dress à la Mrs. Claus can be worn as a joke to a fun holiday party where anything goes with the dress code.
Former “The Hills” star Audrina Patridge wore the perfect fur-trimmed Santa dress for an occasion such as this! (Or, save this sexy outfit one for a private holiday party with your significant other.)
You can’t go wrong with a tartan dress during the holidays, especially if it looks anything like the one worn by multiple celebrities like Chloe Grace Moretz, Emma Watson and Rihanna. The Alexander McQueen tartan frock with a dramatic full skirt is perfect if you want an outfit with a bit more edge. Pair it with a leather jacket as Watson does or studded heels for a Mrs. Claus-gone-wild look.
Sometimes you don’t want to suck in your tummy all night or worry about busting the seams on your dress when sitting down. In that case, you want to opt for a sweater dress like the ones worn by Nicole Richie and Cameron Diaz. Note how they don’t look the least bit frumpy. It’s all in the styling and a great pair of heels goes a long way to creating a polished look.
Brocade is another one of those fabrics that are made for holiday party dresses because it has no use for other embellishments or flashy accessories.
Actress Demi Moore wore a fitted gold-and-black brocade dress that only required a simple black clutch and black pumps to complete the look.