I’ve found that there are five key outfit essentials that help me get ready for any holiday party or event. These pieces can be mixed and matched for dressier events, or can simply be used to elevate my trusty jeans-and-a-sweater into an outfit that’s festive and fun.
Holiday party outfits can (should?) be a little extra, and these five things have really delivered year after year.
In the video below, I go through my crucial clothing and accessories, how I typically style them for holiday parties (hint: often with jeans), and highlight a few brands that do each of these pieces really, really well.
Holiday Party Outfits Should Be A Li’l Extra: 5 Dramatic Essentials That’ll Wow
As a bonus, I’ve added two additional things to the mix — they’re not as crucial as my top five, but one of them is darn useful, and the other is really REALLY fun (and especially good for NYE).
So, in total, it’s a seven-piece holiday capsule wardrobe.
And for more holiday outfit inspo, run (don’t walk, sellout risk is real) to our holiday style page!
1. ‘Wow’ Statement Earrings
Featured: My exact earrings are sold out (they’re from J.Crew a few years ago), but J.Crew makes really fun statement earrings in general and is usually a good place to start.
Here are a few earrings (some from J.Crew) that I can see myself using to perk up a holiday outfit, whether it’s just dressing up jeans and a sweater or adding a finishing touch to a dressier outfit.
2. An Elevated Evening Bag
Here’s a roundup of evening bags that have enough personality to transcend trends. (That said…Amazon has some seriously good ones that are also amazingly affordable. I actually did a full review of Amazon evening bags under $50 last year because I couldn’t believe how good they were.)
3. A Pair of Party Shoes
Featured: Loefflar Randall’s emerald-green sandal heels are a nice pop of drama, and for the boots, I’m wearing Jeffrey Campbell’s neoprene pointy-toe Siren booties.
As I mention in the video, nothing transforms jeans and a sweater quite like a really fabulous pair of party shoes (or boots!!). I’m always on the lookout for something really special yet still walkable. And I never hesitate to add socks, if it’s cold. Here are a few fun party shoes and boots that you can wear on their own, over tights or with socks.
4. A Gorg Silk Slip Dress
Featured: My exact silk slip dress (size 6) is from Reformation. The color I’m wearing is sold out, but it’s available in several other gorgeous color options.
Reformation is easily my favorite place to find beautiful silk dresses (especially silk dresses), as is Fleur du Mal. That said…Quince makes a simple silk slip dress for under $100 that’s shockingly good. Here are several 100% silk dresses that made me swoon a little (and, hey, a few are on major sale at Saks).
5. A Chic Faux-Fur Jacket
Featured: All of the faux-fur coats I feature are pretty old, but this short BlankNYC faux-fur is similar to the one featured in the video.
On the off chance you haven’t yet found a good faux-fur coat, here are few I’d recommend. Any of the coats below could fit into the “useful, warm and cute” categories.
6. A Sparkly Sequin Top
Featured: I’m wearing a seriously fun sequin top by Emerson Frye (size small) in the video, and I LOVE it. Highly recommend. Not only is it from a slow-fashion brand, but this top looks just as cute over a turtleneck as it does on its own. The oversized fit gives a nonchalant vibe that strikes me as timeless. Highly recommend (did I say that already?).
That said, I found a few other sequin or sparkly tops that would be wildly fun to wear…
7. A Pair Of Fancy Pants (Or Skirt)
Featured: The striped pants I’m wearing in the video are from small business BURU (one of my favorites), and the black high-waisted trousers are from Reformation. I’m wearing a small in the striped pants and a size 6 petite in the Ref trousers.
It dawns on me, however, that while I focus on pants in the video, the key piece here can either be pants OR a statement skirt. Frankly, I wear a giant, ballgown-esque skirt even more often than the fancy pants. A skirt like this creates even more drama, and has the added advantage of being so long that I’ve literally layered thick leggings underneath for warmth, and no one’s the wiser. The ballgown skirt I’ve worn for years is BURU’s gold tiered skirt, but — new this year — it just released the same skirt in black too.