Exquisite Holiday Dresses and How to Style Them

Holiday Dresses On the hunt for a holiday party dress?  Are you looking for something special, maybe something that isn’t black?  Shopping for holiday dresses can be a major pain.  In addition to the other shopping you have to do (be sure to check out my holiday gift guide here), writing cards, baking cookies, untangling the lights to hang outside, and whatever else you do, this is probably the last thing you want to think about.  Sure, you can just break out the same dress you wore last year, or you can shop for something new with my help.  Below, I have pulled together some holiday dresses to consider while taking it a step further.  You see, buying the actual dress is only half the battle (I know, ugh, right?), you also have to think about accessorizing your look.  Here are some tips.

Exquisite Holiday Dresses and How to Style Them

Tip #1- Go for metallic accessories

You have found an amazing dress, like this emerald lace one from J. Crew.  Thrilled it isn’t black, anxiety sets in when you find yourself worrying what color shoes to wear, what about the bag, jewelry, ahhhh!!!  Okay, take a step back.  One of the easiest accessories colors is metallic, it goes with everything.  Plus, once the holiday party is over, it is likely you’ll be able to use these gorgeous metallic pieces to spruce up much of your wardrobe.  You’ll probably be able to use them again for next year’s party without anyone realizing it.  Think black accessories are the most versatile?  Try metallic.

In the above outfit, the dress is styled with a pair of Steve Madden strappy gold heels, a gold clutch from BCBG, gold Ann Taylor bracelet and an emerald and green necklace from Bauble Bar.  The beauty of the green found in the necklace is that it’s such a versatile color.   It will work with just about any color dress you wear.

Tip #2- Pull one color from the dress for a pop accessories color

If you are wearing a dress that is more than one color or a print, look to one of the colors in the dress to use as a pop accent color.  For example, in this Tadashi Shoji dress (did I ever mention how incredibly figure flattering Tadashi Shoji dresses are?), I used the red as an accent color and styled the look with a pair of shoes that match.  Dye-to-match shoes can often be really cheesy and prom looking, however, when you pull a small accent color found in the dress and use it as pop it’s not as crucial that the colors match perfectly.  This is what I did with these red pumps.

To avoid being too matchy-matchy, I finished this outfit with a black clutch from Sondra Roberts and a pair of black Kendra Scott earrings.

Tip #3- Accessorize like you would your regular clothes

With my coloring, I am all over this dress, and if I had anywhere formal to go this holiday, I can bet you that my outfit would look like this.  I love this camel velvet dress from Modcloth.  When accessorizing neutral colored dress shades, like camel or brown, grey or navy, for example, remember that any color you can wear with black you can wear with any of these neutral shades.  Wearing navy?  Try popping it with green or pink or lavender.  Brown looks great with rich brights and, here, I am pairing camel with shades of teal, one of my favorite color combinations.

In this outfit, I styled the camel dress with a pair of teal Badley Mischka pumps, a pair of teal, turquoise and cobalt earrings from Bauble Bar, a clutch from Nordstrom, that gorgeously picks up all the colors of the outfit, and a gold Banana Republic bangle.

Tip #4- When opaque stockings are okay

Typically, opaque stockings don’t work for formal events. They’re usually just too heavy and dark.  If you’re going to wear stockings, sheer is better.  However, sometimes it works.  While there are no hard, fast rules, I find that opaque tights, like these from Spanx, work when the dress calls for it, like with this tunic dress from Boden.  The style is a bit mod in appearance and the tights work with these Via Spiga booties.  Consider opaque tights with short mini shift dresses, tunic styles or shapes in dresses that don’t have too much waist definition but are shorter.

Despite the tights, I still kept this look formal with a clutch from Style&co, and a pair of chandeliers from Max and Chloe.

Tip #5- Choose a formal layering piece

Wraps and Pashminas are great for coverage and warmth at holiday events.  If you are looking for something more, don’t just grab a cardigan you would wear for daytime; it’s just going to bring down your whole look.  Instead, try a cardigan, like this one from Reiss, that is a bit more formal.  This cardigan looks like it goes with the metallic dress from Modcloth vs. looking out of place.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to purchase a whole new cardigan for after-five, use a daytime cardigan, but make sure it is in really good shape and consider adding some bling to it, like with a brooch.

This outfit is modestly ready for the party using a pair of Adrianna Pappell kitten heel d’orsay pumps, a velvet clutch from Banana Republic, grey gemstone necklace Stella & Dot and fine silver bracelet from Bauble Bar.

Shop for holiday dresses

With these accessorizing tips, check out these additional holiday dress styles.

  • tgchi13

    LOVE the camel outfit with all the trimmings! Yummy!!

    • Me too!!! Me too! My bedroom is actually in the same color palette. I have to credit my sister. After I painted my walls turquoise and teal she suggested the camel. It is so gorgeous together.

  • Jen W

    I love the camel outfit! Those are the colors I gravitate to most of the time. However, I have a red dress that I pull out for the holidays and wonder if you have any ideas of how to accessorize it to get more wear out of it the rest of the year? Almost this post in reverse I guess. I wear it with metallic and nude accessories during the holidays, but I have an event in early March that I would love to use it for without feeling so Christmasy.

    • Hi Jen. I find red to be such a tricky color. Why not wear it with metallic or nude accessories in March. Metallic certainly isn’t a festive-only color. I think it depends on what the style of the dress is. Any chance you can email me a photo? I’d love to take a look. You can send to bridgette at bridgetteraes dot com.

      • Jen W

        Thank you Bridgette! I’ll look for a photo tonight. I was just thinking it may be time to invest in a dress for my coloring since the two I have, one red and one black, were dictated by the events I originally purchased them for. I have “spring” coloring and find each to be a challenge to make work for me.

      • Jen W

        Thank you Bridgette! I’ll look for a photo tonight. I was just thinking it may be time to invest in a dress for my coloring since the two I have, one red and one black, were dictated by the events I originally purchased them for. I have “spring” coloring and find each to be a challenge to make work for me.

        • Yea, I can see that. I have spring coloring too and usually avoid both colors. I can now see why you were drawn to the camel dress.