Already have an account?
Get back to the

9 Stunning Holiday Party Outfits That Use Items Already in Your Closet

Celebrity stylists share how to accessorize clothing you already have so you wow for any occasion


There are so many celebratory events filling our calendar this time of year. And while we’re looking forward to toasting with family, friends and coworkers, finding a flattering and confidence-boosting ensemble for each gathering can be time-consuming, daunting and cost a pretty penny. Thankfully, it’s easy to put together a “new” look for every event effortlessly and without breaking the bank. How? Celebrity stylists advise taking a couple of items that you already have in your closet and giving them a holiday update with affordable extras that add pizzazz. Here, nine buildable holiday party outfits using staple wardrobe items that will help you look and feel like the belle of any ball.

Holiday party outfits

To shop your closet, stylist Samantha Brown, who’s worked with Candice Bergen and Jennifer Nettles, says it’s best to stick with solid-colored staples like a black top and bottoms, sheath dresses, skirts and more. “This allows you to add fun pops of color and some sparkle when accessorizing,” she notes. “And festive accents also make these everyday items more appropriate and feel special for the holidays.” Keep scrolling to see the holiday party outfits and accessories that do just that.

1. Holiday party outfits: Start with a sweater dress

Debbie Matenopoulos wearing a red sweater dress, an example of holiday party outfits

The cozy knitwear not only allows you to move around with ease when mingling at a party, it’s also a blank slate, which makes it so easy to dress up, says stylist Amanda Sanders, who’s worked with Marilu Henner and Rosie Perez. Plus, no matter what color your dress is, she adds that the fitted design hugs curves while the material’s ribbed, vertical lines visually elongate the body allover so you’ll feel extra confident.

Up the glamour of a sweater dress with gilded adornments

Wearing gold accessories from head to toe — like hoop earrings, a ring and heels — creates pretty pizzazz that instantly transforms a more casual sweater dress into a fancy frock. What’s more, the warm metallic shade brightens skin to offset the more pale tone that skin can take on in the cold winter months.

Gold tiered hoop earrings: Buy from Amazon, $11.99

Stacked gold ring: Buy from Amazon, 12.99

Studded heels: Buy from Amazon, $59.99

Related: 8 Christmas Party Outfit Ideas That Will Leave You Looking Festive & Fabulous

2. Holiday party outfits: Start with a black top and pants

Garcelle Beauvais wearing a black top and pants with velvet accessories

For a festive daytime or evening event, Sanders suggests starting with a black base. It’s not only slenderizing, the dark backdrop also allows any colorful accessories to really pop. Her tip to ensuring the monochromatic look doesn’t fall flat? “Add texture by mixing fabrics. For example, wear a matte cotton turtleneck on top and shiny faux-leather pants on bottom.”

Add a pop of color to an all-black outfit with velvet extras

Pairing an all-black look with touches of velvet, like with a topper, handbag and shoes, takes the look from ordinary to outstanding, says Sanders. Bonus: When on a duster or jacket, the soft, luxe fabric adds a layer of warmth so you’ll feel cozy while still looking chic.

Floral velvet duster: Buy from Saks Off 5th, $90.99

Bold velvet shoulder bag: Buy from Amazon, $17.99

Pointed-toe velvet pumps: Buy from Saks Off 5th, $79.99

3. Holiday party outfits: Start with a cream blouse or sweater

Martha Stewart wearing a cream top and gold metallic pants, one example of holiday party outfits

Wearing a winter white or cream top reflects the candlelight at a celebratory dinner or church concert so you look gorgeous and glowing. Plus, it complements any skin tone and adds a touch of elegance for an evening event, says stylist Eric Himel, who’s worked with Ali Larter and Rachel Brosnahan. Even better? A top with details like vertical buttons or a tie neckline directs attention up and down so the upper half appears longer and leaner to boot.

Dazzle even more in a cream top with metallic accessories

“Think of metallic extras as creating the perfect frame and you are the pretty picture,” says Himel. Plus, the shiny accents reflect light onto areas of exposed skin to warm it up for a radiant glow.

Metallic gold earrings: Buy from Ettika, $35

Metallic fold over clutch: Buy from Amazon, $37.95

Gold metallic pants: Buy from Belk, $70

4. Holiday party outfits: Start with a pair of skinny jeans

Vivica A Fox wearing skinny jeans and a sparkly duster sweater

Feel comfy and confident in your favorite pair of skinny jeans while at a festive brunch or happy hour. “Skinny jeans are super-flattering yet not too dressy for more casual gathering,” says Himel. And a dark-wash pair is best as they look a touch fancier and make legs look miles long at the same time.

Shine in a pair of jeans with sparkling accents

Light-reflecting particles from glitzy accessories such as a duster, bracelet and heels, illuminate skin and draw attention for all the right reasons. Whether you prefer silver or gold, accents in the same tone polish the look.

Detailed sparkly duster: Buy from Amazon, $47.99

Sparkly chain bracelet: Buy from Altar’d State, $24.95

Sparkly slingback heels: Buy from Shein, $12.60

Related: The Most Figure-Flattering Ways to Style Flare Jeans for Any Occasion

5. Holiday party outfits: Start with a pencil skirt

Cindy Crawford wearing a black top and a tan pencil skirt, an example of holiday party outfits

Whether you’re headed to an office party, a cocktail hour or gathering with your girlfriends, a neutral-toned pencil skirt takes your look up a notch, says Sanders. Plus, the skirt’s sleek structure showcase curves — all while still looking polished and pretty. What’s more, a high-waist design and below-the-knee hem help the silhouette appear more statuesque.

Jazz up a pencil skirt with black add-ons

Pairing with a black top, belt and shoes allows the skirt to be the focal point while creating a flattering color-block effect that adds a touch of sophistication, explains Sanders.

Cold-shoulder black top: Buy from Forever21, $17.49

Skinny black belt: Buy from Amazon, $15.99

Block-heeled black sandals: Buy from Macys, $33

6. Holiday party outfits: Start with a leather jacket

Elisabeth Moss wearing a leather jacket and sequined silver skirt

Leather toppers are actually pretty chic when paired with the right accessories. And the jacket’s structure flatters the figure, as its strong shoulders and waist-hitting length enhance an hourglass silhouette, so you’ll look great while sipping champagne and noshing on canapés, says Brown. Tip: Wearing the jacket unzipped prevents the garment from looking boxy and allows the angled lapels to lay flat so they direct the eye up to a beautiful face.

Add some sparkle to a leather jacket with silver-sequined accents

Shiny silver accessories dress up a leather jacket and soften its hard edges for a flirty, feminine feel. And choosing add-ons that highlight sequins on the lower body leaves you looking extra gorgeous from head to toe.

Sequined silver clutch: Buy from Amazon, $11.99

Silver sequin skirt: Buy from Lulus, $65

Sequin bow shoe clips: Buy from Amazon, $14.87

7. Holiday party outfits: Start with a black dress

Jessica Chastain wearing a black dress with beaded accents

For a cocktail party, there’s no better piece to slip into than a classic black dress, says stylist Dawn Del Russo, who’s worked with Vivica A. Fox and Rachel Bilson. “The dark color is slenderizing and it will mask any stains, so you can down those canapés and drink that Champagne worry-free.”

Make a statement in a black dress with beaded extras

Slipping on a few beaded accessories, like a pair of earrings, a belt and an evening bag, adds sophisticated sparkle to a little black dress, transforming the look from basic to beautiful.

Statement beaded earrings: Buy from Banana Republic Factory, $20

Beaded belt: Buy from Amazon, $19.99

Sparkling beaded evening bag: Buy from Anthropologie, $40.60

8. Holiday party outfits: Start with a white button down

Uma Thurman wearing a white button down and a gold sparkly skirt, an example of holiday party outfits

No dress? No problem! “You’d be surprised at how elegant that classic white button-down hanging in the back of your closet can actually be — it’s all about what you pair it with,” says Brown. To give the look an effortlessly chic finish and to allow accessories to take the spotlight, she advises popping up the collar and rolling up the sleeves.

Dress up a button down with shimmery gold adornments

Glittery gold accents, like a necklace, bracelet and long skirt, ensure the plain blouse looks more elegant than everyday, making it perfect for dressy events, says Brown. And the light-reflecting particles illuminate skin so you glow from top to toe.

Gold ‘tie’ necklace: Buy from Amazon, $15.99

Golden bangle set: Buy from JCPenney, $13.99

Sparkly gold maxi skirt: Buy from Amazon, $48.99

9. Holiday party outfits: Start with a full-length dress

Meryl Streep wearing a long red dress, an example of holiday party outfits

It’s not often we’re invited to a formal event like a holiday wedding or a New Year’s Eve soiree that calls for us to dress to the nines, says Brown. “But if you don’t already have a floor-skimming gown, any long dress you own will do.” The key? Pick a solid dress in any color, as long as it has no print or pattern, which tend to make a dress skew more toward the side of casual. And one that has a low neck or flowy skirt always gives off a fancier feel too.

Add polished pizzazz to a long dress with silver accessories

Since full-length dresses make a big statement on their own, opting for delicate accessories, like earrings, a bracelet and a clutch, in silver polishes the look without overpowering.

Sparkly silver drop earrings: Buy from Amazon, $23.99

Silver tennis bracelet: Buy from Anthropologie, $38

Sleek silver clutch: Buy from Amazon, 22.99

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

For more style tips and tricks, click through these stories:

Celebrity Stylist Shares the Best Outfits With Boots That Work for Any Occasion

Lingerie for Older Women: 13 Comfortable Pieces Guaranteed to Boost Your Confidence

7 Midi Skirt Outfits For Every Occasion From Errand-Running to Cocktail-Sipping

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.