Holiday Party Dress Ideas

Holiday Party Dress Ideas

Tis the season to be jolly and break out your holiday dresses! I love this time of year because no matter where you go, you can always dress up! Party dresses are (or should be) a staple in your closet between November and January. You never know when you’ll need one!

Have you ever heard the quote by Oscar Wilde, “You can never be overdressed or over educated.”? Well I wholeheartedly agree.  I always prefer to be overdressed than underdressed, so I like to keep a few dresses in my closet at this time of year to be prepared for last minute parties and invites. (See this post to read more of my holiday tips!) Today I’ll be covering how to choose the best holiday party dress for your parties and events!

How To Choose Your Holiday Party Dress

The first step to choosing a dress is to figure out how many parties and occasions you’ll need an outfit for. Decide whether you’d like to invest in a really nice one and wear it a few times, or choose a few lower priced dresses. In making this decision think carefully about the attendees to each of the parties on your list. If you’ll be seeing the same group of people at several events, I recommend going with the lower-priced options and choosing multiple outfits. However, if the majority of people are going to be different at your events or parties, investing in one great holiday dress might be perfect for you!

Things To Consider:

Of course, not all holiday parties require a pretty dress. Read the invitation carefully and consider the most appropriate outfit. Sometimes there will be a specific dress code, keep an eye on the location. If it is outdoors, or in a tented venue, you may want to go wit ha jumpsuit or something that will keep your legs covered. Ugly Sweater parties are big this time of year, you don’t want to be the only person showing up without one! What if you’re ice skating? You’ll probably prefer pants.

In addition to a dress you may need to bring a gift (aside from your hostess’ present) if it is a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. Understand where these things may fit into your budget. Finally you’ll want to consider the other guests. If it is an office party you may want to keep it more conservative with something like a fit and flare dress, but if it’s your friends and you’ll be heading to the bars after, a bodycon dress may be perfect!

Holiday Party Dress Ideas:

Once you figure out what is required at the party, you’ll then have your choice of dresses to choose from! In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a little black dress. They are classic and always a winner. During the holidays, a largely accepted color is red, so maybe a red outfit or dress is better for you being a little more festive!


Casual holiday dresses are great because you can wear them on other occasions too. They double as brunch outfits, or date night looks if you’re braving the cold this time of year. My parents host a Christmas party every year and it is a pretty casual affair. Over the years I’d go from wearing casual sweater dresses, and as I got older, sweaters and jeans.

My choice: I love a good sweater dress. This is one from last year that was perfect to wear to the office and straight to events when I didn’t have time to change. I linked some great sweater dress options available this year below!

sweater dress

Another Option: While not a dress, pants are the more casual option for holiday parties. I love these green pants that look great and are very comfortable to wear for a long time. This outfit is another one that you can wear to the office or out to a casual holiday party or dinner.

 I love these green pants that look great and are very comfortable to wear for a long time.

Semi Formal

If your party is more semi formal, then a cocktail dress or little black holiday dress would be perfect for the occasion. I wore the red dress pictured below to a holiday brunch that was more semi-formal than casual. Plus, I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone unhappy with you being overdressed! In my opinion, dresses are perfect for any occasion! If you aren’t given a dress code, a semi formal style is the way to go. 

I’d categorize all of the below semi-formal. The full sequin dresses definitely flirt with the more formal side of things, but since they are typically short and tight, I fit them in this category.

My choice: A red cocktail dress. I wore this pretty layered and lace dress to a holiday brunch last week and it was a hit! The brunch itself didn’t have a particular dress, but I wanted to look nice. My dress was perfectly holiday and appropriate! I got this one from Rent-the-Runway so I didn’t even have to buy it, and now it is being rented to someone else!

A red cocktail dress.

Another Option: A velvet faux-wrap dress. I love this style from H&M because it is under $20, comfortable, and looks pretty without being over the top. The length and style of the dress keep it on the more casual side, and the burgundy color just screams holiday to me. I also love that you can dress it up with tights or wear it with bare legs (if you live in a warmer climate like me).

A velvet faux-wrap dress.


This is the one everyone seems to struggle with. What does formal actually mean? Formal usually means cocktail dresses and up, but what it really means is you’ll see everything. From short dresses to floor length gowns. Men should be in full suits or tuxedos (not required). Just because you see everything doesn’t mean you want to be one of the everythings. Your host will appreciate you following the attire per her request. Formal dresses are typically floor length evening gown or cocktail dress.

My choice: I don’t do long dresses often, I don’t even like maxi dresses, so not even casually. However the only occasion I wore one was to Beats and Bubbly last year on New Year’s Eve, and it was a stunning completely sequin gown. However, in formal situations I typically stick with cocktail dresses since gowns aren’t very commonplace. I wore this pleated burgundy dress to my friend’s fall wedding and it was perfect! I received so many compliments and absolutely loved wearing it! I’m hoping I get a reason to wear it again this season!

Holiday Party Dress Ideas

Another Option: This gorgeous sequin number is one of my favorites this season. I borrowed this one from Rent-the-Runway and unfortunately didn’t get to wear it anywhere besides to take photos. It’s perfect for a formal occasion because it’s sparkly which usually means more fancy, and it’s a good length to move around in (plus it isn’t too tight)!  I love the long sleeves and high neck that keep it classy while still being a short dress.

See more holiday dresses here!

See more sparkly pieces here!

Holiday Party Dress Ideas

Leave a Comment


  1. Briana wrote:

    That sparkly dress is gorgeous! You pull it off so well!


    Posted 11.17.18 Reply
  2. Cathy wrote:

    I love these dresses! That red dress is fabulous-twirl! I need to pick up a dress for next week, this is perfect!


    Posted 11.27.18 Reply
  3. Emily Fang wrote:

    I have learned a lot from your article, so thank you very much for your sharing.

    Posted 12.30.20 Reply