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Slay Belle: What Is Holiday Attire, Exactly?

  Slay Belle: What Is Holiday Attire, Exactly? As fall winds down, the thick of the holiday party season is just getting started. No matter which holiday you celebrate, cold...


Slay Belle: What Is Holiday Attire, Exactly?

As fall winds down, the thick of the holiday party season is just getting started. No matter which holiday you celebrate, cold weather means you can finally start putting together a Nutcracker Suite of party looks.

Wintery jewel tones, sparkle and rich textures are all on the table this year, but how far should the theme go for your average get-together? What is holiday attire, exactly? Here's when and how to pull out the cranberry red and gold for your holiday parties this year.

What Is Holiday Attire?

The classic iconography and colors of your favorite winter fête often inspire holiday looks, but they don't have to be literal. Seasonal party looks range in formality. A casual holiday look is great for having a few close friends over, while you'll want to pull out a heavier-hitting garment for a work party three notches fancier than it needs to be.


When thinking of holiday looks, most people think of semi-formal or work parties, so what is holiday casual attire? It's just a wintery take on an everyday look. Reach for your favorite sweater-and-slacks combo or simple dress. Swap the heels for a pair of cozy holiday loafers, shiny sneakers or other festive flats.

To make these casual pieces interesting, experiment with texture. A sweater with fun graphic-printed fringe brings visual interest to even the most laid-back look. For a more traditional holiday vibe, try a sweater with metallic thread woven through it and match the metal to your jewelry.

Business Casual

For a business casual holiday party, think one step dressier than your average work outfit. Swap the typical black blazer for a fun texture or a silhouette switch like puffed sleeves. A sleeved dress that hits around the knee is another solid choice for an office holiday party that can transition to a night out.


A holiday party at a nice event space, restaurant or bar usually calls for a cocktail dress code. Details define a cocktail look, so reach for luxe options like the white faux fur coat and bag that Lupita N'yongo used to elevate a pleated dress.

A dressy holiday party is the perfect occasion to pull out all of the jewelry and accessories your heart desires. In addition to rings, bracelets, necklaces and belts, you can pop some sparkly shoe clips onto any pair of plain shoes. This way, your work shoes can match your party outfit without splurging on a brand-new pair.

Try pieces that add visual interest with texture instead of shine to match piles and piles of jewelry to your dressy look. For example, a chic dress with mesh and three-dimensional petal accents can support all the jewelry you can throw at it.

5 Modern Holiday Attire Looks That Span Dress Codes

Now that we've covered the basics of each holiday party dress code, here are some ideas for versatile winter looks that can fit in one or two of the above categories. Holiday attire isn't immune to current fashion trends, so don't be afraid to incorporate them into your look.

1. Loose Dress in a Fun Print

A comfy dress with a loose fit can be casual or work-appropriate, and a print keeps the look interesting. Even better is combining a cool geometric print with a pleated texture and tons of fun color. Dress this look down with a fluffy fur jacket or a leather moto jacket. For a work event, dress it up with heeled boots and jewelry.

2. Statement Blazer

The "holiday blazer" is such an office staple it almost veers into cliché, but that makes it one of the most fun style moments to play around with. A bold blazer is an easy cornerstone of a holiday party outfit across dress codes and is a worthy investment for the season. Celine Dion wore a classic red velvet blazer for her monochromatic winter look.

3. Comfy Sweater Dress

Holiday attire can be about texture and fabric as much as color and shine. For a comfy take on a winter party outfit, try an elevated sweater dress.

Wrap silhouettes and interesting sweater textures are two ways to make this look pop, but you can also easily take a sweater dress monochromatic. Pair it with a same-color coat, bag, tights and shoes for a stylish holiday party look.

4. Wintery White Separates

If you want to stand out at your holiday party, look past jewel tones and metallics for the ultimate winter serve: all-white. With this color scheme, a simple blazer, blouse and slacks look turns into a high-fashion moment. Try a white top and skirt with a fluffy white scarf for a more romantic take on all-white.

5. Bright Color Blocking

One of the best ways to make holiday attire modern is to forget the winter color codes entirely. Who says you can't wear hot pink and coral when it's below freezing outside? A color-block pantsuit is an on-trend way to turn up the volume at any holiday event this season.

You can also mix and match items to create a color-blocked party look, but there are some color theory points to remember. Try to match the intensity and saturation of each color for a cohesive look, such as pairing neon-bright items with other neon-bright items.

Keeping your color-block choices in the same general color family can help with cohesion, too. Think back to the color wheel with cool, warm, primary, or secondary colors. In a pinch, an always-reliable graphic color scheme is black, white and bright red.

What Is Holiday Attire, and How Can You Make It Fashion With the Latest Picks?

The holiday season is a great time to start taking risks with your style or push the envelope even further. After all, what is holiday attire but a chance to celebrate what fabulous fashion means to you? At Kate Hewko, we're always looking for the latest trends in casual wear, business casual, formal wear and everything in between. Browse our new picks for holiday attire inspiration.


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