December 2014 Issue

Dress Code: What to Wear for Every Holiday Occasion

Dress Code: What to Wear for Every Holiday Occasion
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As the number of invitations start to mount, so does the uncertainty of what to wear. But don't stress—we've got options for every event on your social agenda. Consider it our gift to you!

Occasion: New Year's Eve

Why It Works: Turn on the glitz like a grown-up: Instead of a predictably skimpy party-girl getup, play it elegant in a jewel-toned peplum top that gives structure to a voluminous accordion-pleated skirt. Intensify the brilliance with retro-glam extras, like a faux-fur collar and sparkly cocktail ring. One resolution you won't have to make? Be more stylish.

Shop It: C.Wonder scarf, $68, cwonder.com; Roberta Chiarella earrings, $88, robertachiarella.com; Tibi top, $295, tibi.com; DKNY skirt, $255, bloomingdales.com for stores; BCBG Max Azria clutch, $138, bcbg.com; Mawi ring, $350, at Fivestory, 212-288-1338; Elaine Turner shoes, $298, elaineturner.com.

Occasion: Karaoke Night

Even if your best rendition of "Let It Snow" doesn't leave them begging for more, at least your outfit will garner major applause.

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Why It Works: Channel your inner frontwoman and go for gutsy flourishes in the form of swingy fringe on a sweater (shake that tail feather!) and floral brocade pants. Oversize rings add sparkle when you hug the mic.

Shop It: TSE top, $525, tsecashmere.com; MoonRox rings, $28 (left) and $26 (right), moonrox.ca; Elizabeth and James handbag, $545, neimanmarcus.com; Topshop pants, $120, topshop.com; Sam Edelman loafers, $140, samedelman.com.

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Why It Works: Self-conscious in the spotlight? Turn to familiar silhouettes with a sly attack of sultry. A button-front in sheer silk looks daring, while an A-line skirt sheds its prim rep when worn with spiky ankle-strap heels.

Shop It: Vita Fede ear cuff, $265, vitafede.com; By Malene Birger jacket, $645, at Agua, 915-858-6300; Dressshirt by Marieclaire St John, $245, dresshirt.com; Jil Sander Navy skirt, $400, at Jil Sander, 212-925-2345; Unhinged rings and bracelet, $145 (rings) and $198 (bracelet), unhingedjewelry.com; Pour la Victoire handbag, $255, pourlavictoire.com; Vince heels, $495, neimanmarcus.com.

RELATED: 50 Pieces of Statement Jewelry Under $50

Occasion: Office Party

Show your co-workers you got the memo: celebratory but not over-the-top, personality-packed yet polished.

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Why It Works: How to reinvent the little black dress? With strikingly sophisticated splices of silver and silk. A ladylike top-handle bag and pearl earrings temper it for daytime—just slip off the blazer when the clock strikes 6.

Shop It: NYDJ blazer, $188, nydj.com; Club Monaco dress, $595, clubmonaco.com; Efva Attling ear cuff ($490) and ring ($275), efvaattling.com; DKNY handbag, $258, dkny.com for stores; White House Black Market shoes, $130, whbm.com.

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Why It Works: For a more casual approach, boost the wattage on your everyday pieces: A bejeweled crewneck and pleated skirt in lush teal go far after dark. Swap a tote for a rich burgundy clutch that says you're ready to mingle.

Shop It: Ann Taylor coat, $248, anntaylor.com; Equipment crewneck, $338, equipmentfr.com; Zoetik bracelet, $45, zoetik.com; Paul Smith clutch, $595, at Paul Smith, 646-613-3060; Tracy Reese skirt, $248, neimanmarcus.com; SJP pumps, $350, nordstrom.com.

RELATED: 9 Celeb-Inspired Outfit-Making Coats to Wear All Season Long

Occasion: Cocktails with Friends

Need an outfit worthy of raising a glass? Try combos of black and cream with a smattering of gold that's as bubbly as Champagne.

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Why It Works: There's nothing more festive than sequins, but steer clear of the Vegas vibe by pairing a mixed-media masterpiece with a sporty riff on tuxedo pants. Keep your (downtown) cool with spike earrings and modern mules.

Shop It: Apiece Apart coat, $595, apieceapart.com; 3.1 Phillip Lim top, $550, 31philliplim.com; Eleanor Kalle earrings, $135, eleanorkalle.com; Niki & Lola cuff, $110, nikiandlola.com; Lauren Merkin pouch, $150, laurenmerkin.com; Veronica Beard trousers, $395, veronicabeard.com; French Connection mules, $140, piperlime.com.

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Why It Works: Sometimes you just want to feel flat-out feminine. Relish that moment in an ethereal winter white shift dress made all the more charming with gilded splatters. Bring in some vamp with killer lace-up heels and red lips.

Shop It: 424 Fifth coat, $899, lordandtaylor.com; Rebecca Taylor dress, $425, rebeccataylor.com; Pursuits rings, $16, at Formoi Accessories, 646-818-8870 for stores; Dean Davidson cuffs, $195 (top) and $195-$295 (bottom), deandavidson.com; Kara handbag, $470, karastore.com; Nine West shoes, $99, zappos.com.

RELATED: The Most Stylish Holiday Dresses Under $150—Plus, How to Wear Them!

Occasion: Exchanging Gifts

A get-together this cozy calls for easy, comfortable layers that look cute enough for the inevitable tags on Instagram.

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Why It Works: Put a snappy spin on the holiday sweater with an ivory version that boasts a nubby texture and fringe. Match its offbeat mood by teaming striped pants with a plaid scarf in similarly warm hues. A metallic bag looks cheery.

Shop It: ASOS scarf, $36, asos.com; & Other Stories sweater, $130, stories.com; Vanessa Gade earrings, $125, vanessagade.com; J.Crew pants, $325, jcrew.com; Time's Arrow handbag, $625, times-arrow.com; Clarks oxfords, $120, clarksusa.com.

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Why It Works: A sumptuous blanket coat in tony camel streamlines a chunky turtleneck and adds distinction to denim. (Styling tip: Huge cuffs are officially a thing.) Leather-trimmed sneaks and a classic watch make for a subtle, luxe finish.

Shop It: Triwa sunglasses, $175, triwa.com; Zara poncho coat, $100, zara.com for stores; Mango sweater, $40, mango.com; Timex watch, $100, macys.com; Clare V. clutch, $198, clarev.com; H&M jeans, $40, hm.com; Massimo Dutti sneakers, $110, massimodutti.com.

RELATED: Holiday Edition: Statement Accessories That Work For the Office and Parties

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