How to Dress For Every Type of Holiday Party

Finding the perfect outfit for a holiday party can be hit or miss. Holiday parties seem to have some kind of unwritten dress code, and depending on what kind of party you’re going to that code can seem impossible to crack. Something you wear to a college holiday party probably won’t go over to well for your Grandma’s annual Christmas Eve party, and vice versa. How do you know what’s appropriate, and what’s not, for your next big holiday party? And where should you look to find the perfect outfit for every occasion? Read on and find out!

College holiday party

Holiday season on a college campus means an endless amount of social events, and as the end of the semester approaches you’ll find most girls frantically searching for the perfect dress (or dresses) for their holiday sorority mixer or the lacrosse team’s winter formal.

“At my school, most of the sports teams hold their winter formals at local bars off-campus,” says Lexi Tilton, a sophomore at the College of the Holy Cross. “I knew that I wanted a cute, shorter dress that still gave off winter vibes. I also tried to find one made of a thicker fabric, because I knew that I would probably be waiting outside for a little while.” 

Related: What You Should Wear to Every Type of College Party

A velvet mini dress like this one from Tobi is the perfect solution.It comes in a few different if you’re not crazy about burgundy, and it gives you the chance to show a little skin with a thicker fabric to keep you warm (though it’s still going to be a cold night!)

If you want something a little more unique, try playing around with different fabrics. Holiday season is pretty much the only time of year you can get away with wearing metallic, so take advantage of that with this stunning gold and teal Lulu's dress, or if you want to be even bolder, this gold mini dress is absolutely stunning. 

Finally, when in doubt you can never go wrong with a little black dress, like this one from Express. LBDs are a timeless classic that you'll certainly be able to wear again in the future. You cadfdn dress if up with a pair of heels and some jewelry, or dress it down with a denim jacket and cute pair of sneakers.

Family holiday party

What you wear while out and about on campus probably won’t work for a family holiday party, and planning an outfit that’s both chic and appropriate can be tricky. “When I’m getting ready for a family holiday party feeling good is the most important thing,” says Adelle Tedesco, a sophomore at Quinnipiac University. “I like to wear something comfortable but cute, usually a solid colored dress in a nice holiday color like burgundy or dark green.” This red swing dress from Lulu's is perfect for a laid back family holiday party. Paired with some killer jewelry and cute pair of booties, it's a great way to impress some more conservative family members. The loose fit also ensures that you’ve got plenty of room to fill up on holiday treats, which is what family parties are all about!

If your family holiday parties tend to be a little more high class, try experimenting with longer hems and fuller skirts, like this gorgeous midi-length skirt that would look amazing paired with a long sleeved black body suit, or this amazing Modcloth knee length velvet dress.

And if skirts aren't your thing, a killer jumpsuit and a pair of heels is sure to impress. This black wrap jumpsuit from ASOS is so chic, and will flatter any body type. 

Ugly sweater party

No holiday season is complete without an ugly sweater party! Thankfully you can find an ugly sweater in just about any store these days, and investing in one now is sure to be useful for all the ugly sweater parties of years to come. 

This adorable pug sweater from Target is perfect for dog lovers everywhere, and will go perfectly with a pair of jeans or leggings for a more casual party. 

You can even dress up an ugly sweater! This sequined snowman sweater would look so chic paired with a black tulle skirt. If you want to show off a little skin, this off the shoulder sweatshirt would also work with a fun, full skirt, and you could even cut off the bottom and turn it into a crop top!

New Year's Eve party

Rounding out the end of the holiday season is, of course, the New Year's Eve party! New Year's parties can come in all varieties, so make sure you're prepared for whatever you and your besties decide to do last minute.

A sparkling mini dress is the class New Year's go-to look for a more formal party, and this rose gold sequined mini is sure to be a showstopper. If you're going to a black tie party, a floor length dress is always a safe option and makes you feel super chic and grown-up. This metallic Bebe gown is the perfect mix of fun and formal for your next black tie gala. 

If you're New's Years plans are more along the lines of a casual house party, a cute bodysuit and a pair of jeans is the perfect option. You can get a bodysuit just about anywhere and in a ton of different styles, but some this velvet and mesh one from Urban Outfitters is so unique and cool, and if you want to show a little more skin this black lace-up bodysuit is sure to make a statement. 

Maybe you're New Year's plan is to grab a nice dinner with your girls, meaning you want to worry about looking cute while feeling comfortable.  A sweater dress, paired with some jewelry and boots, is the perfect choice, especially one like this super soft chenille sweater dress. And you can never go wrong with the classic staple, jeans and a nice top. This black lace shouldered top is the perfect mix of chic and casual, and this velvet peplum top will remind everyone that the holiday season isn't over until the clock strikes midnight!

Don't stress when it comes time to dress for a holiday party, because no matter what you wear it's important to enjoy celebrating the most wonderful time of the year while surrounding yourself with the people you love!