How to Be the Best-Dressed Person at Every Holiday Party

Tricks of the styling trade.

Holiday Party Outfits

Technicolor party dressing. | Images via andersphoto / Stefano Tinti / HUANG Zheng /

When you boil it down, standing out from the crowd is actually pretty easy. Three words: Wear. Something. Different. It’s not about wearing the most expensive clothes, or even the fanciest clothes; it’s about making a statement. And there’s no simpler way to do this than to veer from the rest of the fashion pack, even if only a by a few degrees. This means eschewing the tried-and-true LBD for, say, a sleek black jumpsuit (perhaps this one, which masquerades as a dress?), or ditching the sequined dress for sequined pants (obviously).

Easier said than done, perhaps. We’ve long been told, after all, that LBDs go a long way. And they do; they’re reliable, dependable, sturdy wardrobe workhorses that bear the brunt of our But what do I wear?! freak-outs. But as good as fail-safes are, they can sometimes be, well, safe. And standing apart is anything but. 

A few go-to tips for ruling the night:

1. Wear pants. Or culottes. Or a jumpsuit. Anything but a dress.
It seems most people immediately jump to the cocktail dress for a party. But don’t! Go for pants. Go for sequin pants. Go for shiny pink silk pants (seriously, check these out). Remember Tome’s emerald green wide-leg culottes? Think of those when getting dressed.

2. But if you must wear a dress, make it a tunic. And throw it over pants. (Hear me out.)
Olivia Palermo did it. See that? Copy it. Buy this tunic and these pants and wear them together. Voila!

3. Have fun with your bag (or your shoes).
The easiest way to inject an extra little something-something into your look is with your bag. Kate Spade has season-appropriate hard clutches (a gift-wrapped present! a champagne bucket!), and Charlotte Olympia’s still the queen of conversation-starting bags, though they’ll cost you more (how about a facial profile rendered in perspex?). Or go for a big poof of faux fur. Why not?

4. Redefine sexy.
Forget short-short. My favorite way to show skin in a non-Real Housewife way is to wear a robe-like silhouette, like this slinky bronze dress. Keep hair loose and unfussy (give the straightener a night off!) and jewelry minimal. Now slink in there like you own the place, you vixen, you.

5. Wear all one color. (But try not to fall back on black.)
A head-to-toe color scheme (or neck-to-knees; you can have fun with your shoes) is super-chic. See this look for inspiration. Festive, no?

6. Or all colors at once!


Art of the blend.

Mix up your colors and patterns for a I-just-took-the-coolest-stuff-from-my-closet-and-wore-them-all-together look. (All looks above from Topshop; all shoes from Net-a-Porter.)


Ready to party? Go get ’em.