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what to wear for the holidays – 3 looks for office, casual and cocktail parties

what to wear for the holidays

Christmas is just around the corner, and aside from the merriment of the season, that means it’s the time of year for countless holiday functions from work parties to family gatherings and Christmas cocktails with the girls. Yanking out stacks of fall sweaters, holiday dresses and the shoes that you wore to last year’s party? It can be challenging to figure out what to wear for Christmas events. Looking for some inspiration? As a fashion blogger, it’s true my closet truly overfloweth. But yours doesn’t need to in order to find a good match for holiday style. I’ve put together a holiday style guide addressing looks for work parties, casual get togethers, and cocktail hour during the Christmas season. Here are some tips in picking your holiday dresses, shoes and more!

How to dress for an office holiday party

The trick here is balancing professionalism and your personal holiday style. You don’t want to show up as “that girl” wearing a red vinyl mini while everyone else is in knee-length black – but you also don’t want to be the girl in a full pants suit when everyone else is sporting fun holiday wear. Depending on the size and location of your work place, you may be able to get away with more or less creative freedom. But a good rule of thumb that applies to all professional after-work parties:

For holiday parties, you can push the limits, just don’t push too far.

Do wear that super cute holiday dress you’ve been waiting for an excuse to wear, but throw over a blazer and match it with closed-toe pumps or booties to balance your bare skin. Once you arrive to the party, you can decide if it’s appropriate to ditch the blazer or not. If it’s cold, do wear tights. Even if it’s nice, don’t wear a hemline shorter than your fingertips when your arms are relaxed at your side.

what to wear to a holiday office partybest holiday shoes by bruno magli

photography:KUNDAN KUMAR | camera:CANNON 5D MARK III | office party holiday look c/o:BRUNO MAGLI + MAGALI PASCAL | casual Christmas party look c/o:BRUNO MAGLI + VINTAGE FINDS | cocktail holiday part look c/o:NASTY GAL + BRUNO MAGLI


For this example, I’m wearing a cocktail/day-dress by Magali Pascal, and a tailored blazer to balance where I’m covering skin. The shoes: If I had to pick one pair of shoes to sport the entire duration of the holidays, it would be these luxury fashion booties by Bruno Magli. They are a must-have for holiday fashion with their bold, golden embellishments and smooth leather finish. With a sort of military-inspired design, you’ll also be able to continue wearing them throughout winter season in the office and at the after party.

What to wear to a casual Christmas party

Are one of your friends-of-friends throwing an afternoon Christmas party over lunch? Hopefully they’ve communicated the dress code. If not, afternoon parties are typically a bit more laid back. But how do you dress casual and festive at the same time? Go for understandable silhouettes, in more festive materials like metallics, sequins, or lace. Dress in layers if you’re unsure and want to be able to add or remove layers as necessary.

casual holiday stylebruno magli women's boots

Even though I’m just wearing a light blouse and joggers, the look is completely festive with statement jewelry and a solid flash of sequins. If the party is casual, feel free to take some liberties in comfort. This look calls for comfortable shoes, so I’ve styled it with flat riding boots that show their sophistication in the butter-soft leather and subtle gold harness. These holiday boots are a great grab in rich brown or black, and will be the only high-calf boot you need for the rest of the season. They’re also fabulous over jeans or fitted leather leggings.

What to wear to a Christmas cocktail party

Aaaand for the most fun of them all, pull out all the stops for your Christmas or New Years cocktail party. You know that dress that you’re not quite sure if you can pull off but it’s soooo wow. Yeah. Wear it. Christmas cocktail parties are quite forgiving in the wild, crazy and downright inappropriate. However to avoid making a scene walking in from the sub-zero weather in a mini, consider layers that you can shed should the night allow.

what to wear to a Christmas cocktail partybruno magli loafers

Have you been waiting to try the vinyl fashion trend? Now’s the time to do it. For this look, I’m wearing a double-zipper, rose gold mini in alligator-print, vinyl-finish leather. Yeah. It’s wild. Cocktail hour appropriate? Absolutely. If my friends judge me, and least I can throw the “fashion blogger” card at them. However, fastly approaching my 30’s, I have decided to keep it classy (for now) with these limited tri-toned loafers by Bruno Magali, and a tailored minimal clutch. The great part about these slip-ons is that you can wear them with any shade of metallic, and the embellishments are always a perfect match. Since they’re open in the back, you can also extend your wear-time to transitional seasons in fall and spring. The look is still fun and has plenty of sex appeal, but the flats and tailored accessories help a lady avoid being mistaken for a girl of half my age. If you dare, rock the look with pumps and ditch the jacket – you only live once – and let’s be real, I’m probably going to loose it by the end of the night anyways.

Keep the champaign flowing, and have fun picking out your holiday outfits this year! Looking for something more minimal? Check out my minimalist holiday style. Stay posted for some more tips on how to survive the holidays from menu planning to setting aside time for TLC – and my ultimate luxury gift guide for all of the women on your list. Happy holidays!


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