Whether you’re hosting this year’s holiday party or you’re lucky enough to be an invitee, toeing the sartorial line between “basically pajamas” and “uncomfortably overdressed” can be as tricky as getting dinner on the table while it's still hot. Here, three levels of effortless and comfortable ensembles—from laid-back to fancifully festive—that will earn you the title of best dressed, no matter if you’re the hostess or a guest.
Give your jeans and favorite tee a night off, and take it up just a notch with the equally cozy combo of leggings and a sweater. This particular pair of faux-leather leggings is designed with a paneled, high waist—much like exercise pants—that won’t dig in, but will keep you looking trim... even after a second (or third) helping.
Mango sweater, $80; mango.com. Lysse leggings, $108; zappos.com. Marc Fisher LTD flats, $160; nordstrom.com. Baublebar earrings, $38; baublebar.com. Libby Edelman bag, $30; jcpenney.com.
Ready to get into the holiday spirit? A look that feels a little more special and a little less “everyday” is a good way to do it—try donning a dress in seasonal colors. A silhouette that’s slightly fitted at the waist will flatter your figure, but still leave enough room for an overindulgent visit to the dessert buffet. To bring this 70s mid-calf shape up to date, finish the look with soft suede boots that come up to the knee (or above), so the hem of the dress falls well beneath their tops.
Topshop dress, $75; topshop.com; Chinese Laundry boots, $130; chineselaundry.com; Urban Outfitters bag, $39; urbanoutfitters.com. Banana Republic bracelet, $68; bananarepublic.com.
If you’re hosting (or attending) a more formal affair, pick pieces with slightly primmer appeal. A ruffle-hemmed skirt is a timeless, feminine option—this one’s bright green hue adds a modern feel. Accessories with a minimalist bent will feel on-point whether your event is a cocktail reception or a fancier-than-usual evening at home. On your feet all night? Look to a shoe with sturdy straps for a little support.
J. Crew Collection skirt, $98; jcrew.com. Kensie top, $55; lastcall.com. Nine West heels, $89; ninewest.com. Chelsea28 faux leather clutch, $49; nordstrom.com. H&M ring, $13; hm.com.
Office holiday party? Drinks with your colleagues? Toe the line between underdressed and over-the-top by adding festive accessories to a piece you’d normally wear to work, like a black sheath. Closed-toe pumps won’t feel too formal (even if they have a little twinkle to them), while statement accessories in pops of gold or jewel tones add seasonal sparkle.
Zara dress, $70; zara.com; Mixit necklace, $15; jcpenney.com; Forever 21 bracelets, $6 for set of three; forever21.com; MICHAEL Michael Kors shoes, $120; zappos.com; Nina clutch, $55; dillards.com.
Just because the dress code on the invite says “cocktail” doesn’t mean your options are limited to a dress. Think outside the box and opt for a jumpsuit instead—try a fancier fabric (one with a little sheen will do the trick) and take it to the next level with glittering accessories.
Boohoo jumpsuit, $52; boohoo.com. Vince Camuto shoes, $99; bloomingdales.com. Sachin & Babi earrings, $250; sachinandbabi.com. Talbots bracelet, $45; talbots.com. Chico’s clutch, $70; chicos.com.