Figuring out what to wear to a holiday party can feel like a daunting decision, particularly if there are people you’re trying to impress. If you’ve already exhausted your go-to LBD (or tuxedo), it may be time to break away from the expected and try a different look for this season’s soirees. That’s why our editors have curated our latest lookbook, A Social Affair. Inspired by the glamorous, ’60s feel of Tom Ford’s A Single Man, each spread features stylish evening ensembles for men and women. Flip through the pages above, and then keep reading for five rules for perfecting your holiday look.
1. Ditch the dress for separates instead.
It used to be that a cocktail party was synonymous with a cocktail dress, but those rules have changed. “An elegant jacket or blouse with a tailored skirt or pants can make an equally impactful impression,” says Women’s Category Director, Sasha Skoda. “Separates feel more understated and slightly unexpected — you’re probably not going to see other women at the party wearing your same ensemble.” For a look that feels of-the-moment, try mixing prints in the same color palette or swap your go-to black trousers for an edgy pair of leather pants.
2. If you do choose a classic cocktail dress, give it a playful spin with accessories.
“I love the gold Judith Leiber bird clutch in our latest lookbook,” says Skoda. “It adds the perfect touch of whimsy, and it doubles as a great conversation starter!” Fauna is certainly on trend after Dolce & Gabbana‘s fall runway; when done in metallic, the motif can be surprisingly chic. Another alternative: toss on colorful bangles with a monochromatic look. The multi-hued accessories will really pop against an all-black or winter white ensemble and make it feel more fun.
3. For a man’s tuxedo or suit, focus on the fit.
When you have multiple men in one room all wearing suits and tuxedos, nothing sticks out worse than an ill-fitting jacket. “Pay attention to the shoulders,” says Men’s Category Director, Mayola Martinez. “If you can pinch more than an inch of fabric at the top then you probably need to go a size down.”
4. Mix in a touch of shine that’s still masculine.
Metallics go hand-in-hand with holiday dressing, but for men, it can feel tough to pull off. The trick: incorporate shine in small doses. “Finish the look with patent shoes or invest in a pair of silver or gold cufflinks or a vintage Rolex,” says Martinez. “It’s the perfect man bling for the holidays!”
5. Finally, if you’re staying in, keep your look equally stylish.
You’ve already been to multiple holiday parties including a rowdy office get-together, you’ve spent two weekends gift shopping and you’re working overtime to get everything done — if you’d rather stay home than RSVP to one more soiree, we understand. You can, however, make it feel special. “Slip into some cashmere or fur for a night in,” says Skoda. “It’s all about wearing luxe pieces that feel cozy.”