From fancy to laid-back, here's what to wear as you (finally!) kiss the year goodbye.

By Julia Guerra
Dec 07, 2020 @ 1:17 pm
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New Years Outfit Ideas to Celebrate The Start of 2021
Credit: Getty Images

2020 is coming to a close, and I think it’s safe to say none of us are particularly sad to see it go. Personally, I still can’t believe I wasted such a cute outfit ringing in this dumpster fire of a year, but you know what they say: When you look your best, you feel your best, so I’ll be weighing my options for New Year's Eve outfits to help me channel only positive vibes going into 2021.

Unfortunately, the world will still be battling the coronavirus pandemic in the new year, which means celebrations can’t be as lively as you might be used to. Fortunately, there is a silver lining to a socially distant or fully virtual soiree at home: You’re under no obligation to wear heels or dress to the nines.

Of course, if a glitzy gown and strappy pumps make you feel festive, then by all means, do you. You might as well get one good wear out of your most outrageous holiday outfit. But, if your ideal New Year’s Eve involves heating up frozen appetizers in the oven, drinking boxed wine, and watching the ball drop in your pajamas, there’s no time like the present to live your dream.

However you want to celebrate the start of 2021, there’s a New Year’s Eve outfit for you. To prove it, I’ve rounded up a variety of looks from Instagram to inspire your festive style.

Stay Neutral

A neutral color palette says, “I’m looking forward to the new year, but I’m not getting my hopes up just yet.” Stay impartial by sticking with earth-toned basics, including items such as your favorite pair of denim, a white tee, and a beige duster to dress up the look just a tad.

Done-in-One

Done-in-one ensembles are a lazy fashionista’s dream. If you can’t be bothered to piece together an outfit, embrace the jumpsuit; it’s an almost effortless fashion statement. Accessorize with dainty jewelry, a sleek belt, and wait until plans have been cemented before deciding on footwear. Heels and flats are great if you’re seeing someone in your pod, but no one’s going to judge you if you opt for slippers or go barefoot around the homestead.

Athleisure

New Year’s Eve celebrations are expected to be low key this year, so if the extent of your plans include ordering takeout and ringing in 2020 with sound makers and paper hats on your couch, you might as well keep your OOTD casual, too. Get comfy in a celebrity-approved sweatsuit and call it a night. The only accessory you’ll need is a bottle of prosecco.

Something Sleek

A mini dress and matching blazer is the perfect New Year’s Eve outfit to start 2021 on a sophisticated note. Add a pair of sleek, knee-high (or higher!) boots and minimal accessories to tie it all together.

Monochromatic

Once stay at home orders were put in place, coordinated sweater sets became the “it” ensemble of 2020. Comfy-cute for vegging on the weekends and totally home office appropriate for camera-on zoom meetings, the elevated loungewear totally passes for a cute New Year’s Eve outfit. Layer a T-shirt or turtleneck underneath to up the cozy factor, and throw on a pair of white sneakers for any last-minute errands.

Sparkle and Shine

Don’t let the chaotic energy of 2020 dim your light heading into 2021. Instead, radiate confidence and excitement for a fresh start with a New Year’s Eve outfit that shines. From a pop of glitz to head-to-toe sparkle, a little bit of glam is sure to lift your spirits.

Throw It Back

Looking towards the future doesn’t mean you aren’t nostalgic for simpler, happier times like the 90s. Borrow some of the alternative era’s chill vibes with a grunge-inspired New Year’s style. The combination of ripped jeans and an oversized flannel will have you saying “as if” to 2020, and giving yourself snaps just for getting through it all.

Go Big

The theme of 2020 has been comfort — comfort clothes, comfort food, and the coziest ambience. And because no one knows what awaits for us in 2021, why break the mold? Snuggle into the oversized sweater that brings you the most joy and claim your seat on the couch or your side of bed if you’re celebrating at home. If you’re heading out for a socially distant gathering, pair the baggy top with skinny jeans or wide-leg pants.

Poufy and Puffy

The best thing about celebrating 2021 from your own home is that there aren't any rules and you can avoid judgement. Embrace your inner fashion influencer and dare yourself to pull on that poufy, whimsical dress you've been hanging onto all year. There's no time like the present, and perhaps it'll bring you some luck for the 12 months ahead.

Cozy Yet Classic

Another done-in-one option that’s both cozy and cute, the sweater dress is one fashion statement that never goes out of style. There are so many ways to wear a sweater dress, too: You can keep things casual with a pair of white sneakers or heeled booties, or dress it up with a chunky belt, statement jewelry, and strappy footwear. The possibilities are endless.

A Little Bit of Leather

Listen, I know it’s a huge to even suggest you wear real pants after the year you just endured, but trust me, (faux) leather pants are always a good idea. Something about the attitude of leather will put you in the right mindset to get you through the tail end of 2020.

Leggings

Pants have been optional for the majority of 2020, so why should you be expected to wear proper bottoms for NYE? Own your loungewear uniform and wear whatever you deem comfortable, be it a T-shirt, hoodie, cropped sweater, or a sports bra and zip up. The end goal is just to be unapologetically lax.

Pajamas

Props if you can stay awake long enough to see the ball drop, but if your track record mirrors Sleeping Beauty’s, don’t bother getting dressed for the occasion. Instead, rock your favorite pair of festive PJs as your New Year’s Eve outfit. This way, you’re ready for photo ops in true Pinterest fashion, and if you happen to fall asleep on the couch, it’s no big deal.