5 Tips for Styling Unique Outfits for Every Holiday Party


The holiday season, if you have not noticed, is fully upon us. Some enjoy this time of year for the festive atmosphere, glittery decorations, and spiced drinks. I like it because holiday time means party time, and party time means it’s time to start assembling outfits!

I have a handful of holiday events to attend over the course of December, and I’m quite intent on wearing a unique, festive frock to each. I reached out on my personal Instagram to see if my friends would be interested in seeing a lookbook of the outfits I plan to wear throughout the month. I received an overwhelmingly positive response, so that will be coming soon, but I also received a suggestion from a lovely highschool friend to share my tips on assembling holiday outfits. 

I thought that would be a great precursor to the lookbook, so (1) y’all could understand the method behind the outfits and (2) I could get my creative juices flowing before embarking on the lookbook. So, here we go, my five tips for putting together outfits this holiday season.

Pick a Theme

Listen, you’re on your way to a holiday party you’ve already had to pick a Secret Santa gift and a potluck dish for, you don’t need to make any other hard decisions. Help yourself choose an outfit by narrowing the scope of possibilities.

An easy way to do this for holiday parties is to decide if you’d like to follow the standard whatever-holiday-you-celebrate color palette (such as red and green for Christmas) or if you want to go rogue and pick another color off the rack. Similarly, you can pick a texture, fabric, or print you’d like to feature and begin building from there. 

Featured items from left to right. First outfit: sweater, skirt, clips. Second outfit: blouse, skirt, earrings. Third outfit: blazer, pants, shoes.

To use a personal example, I have a great deal of red and green in my daily wardrobe. Yes, those would fit the Christmas color theme, but since I have so many pieces, it might be hard to decide on just one. Instead, I can focus on, say, the blue items in my wardrobe I use less often and build from there. Or I might decide that I’d like to include velvet in my outfit and see where that leads.

Setting guidelines for yourself also turns the process of getting dressed into a bit of a game, which makes it all the more satisfying once you find an outfit that successfully fits all your parameters.

Give New Life to a Favorite Piece

I’m a huge believer in confidence superseding style. Exquisite clothing and luxe fashions are nice, but there’s a certain je ne sais quoi that comes with comfort and authenticity. So, if your goal is to look good at a party, wear something you already enjoy wearing.

“But Kathleen,” you say, “I wear that piece every week. My friends/family/coworkers have seen it dozens of times. I wanted to wear something different!”

Solid argument. I’d feel the exact same way, which is why I recommend reviving the piece by pairing it with something a little different. This could be an item buried in the back of your closet you’ve forgotten or something borrowed from a friend.

Featured items from left to right. blouse, shoes, skirt, shirt, necklace.

I, for instance, picked up a black skirt a few months back that I cannot get enough of. I wear it at least once a week and have definitely been known to shoe-horn in second and third wearings. I know I’ll feel great if I wear this skirt, so I dug through my closet and found a sheer black polka dot top that hasn’t made an appearance in a few months. Pair the two together and– BAM never before seen outfit. I also took a peek into my brother’s closet and found this checked button-up to style with the skirt in case I’d like to wear it twice this holiday season.

Swap Black for Color

No hate to wardrobe staples like plain black bottoms/tops or denim, but, if you’re looking to quickly spice up an outfit, you might want to consider an upgrade. There are a couple of ways you can do this such as picking a different neutral color. See if an olive green, a burnt orange, or a mustard yellow would complement the look. Second, choose colors that accent your statement piece because they either match or contrast the statement piece. 

Featured items from left to right. First outfit: sweater, skirt, jeans, purse. Second outfit: sweater, skirt, shirt, earrings.

I’ve provided two examples for this tip. In the first, I went from pairing a graphic leopard print sweater with simple black jeans to an emerald green velvet skirt. In the other, I swapped a simple black top for a burnt orange sweater.

Go Hard with Pattern Mixing

This next idea takes the prior tip and turns it up to 11. We’ve abandoned all solid colors and eschewed the idea you’re only allowed one statement piece per outfit. All that exists now are patterns and we will make them go together, no matter what your mother told you about mixing polka dots and stripes.

Pattern mixing is my happy place when it comes to fashion. I strive to include some aspect of it in my outfits every day, so I’ve gotten to the place where I’m comfortable pushing the envelope. I know not everyone has established that level of comfort with it, though, so here are some easy tricks to get started:

Featured items from left to right. First outfit: blouse, skirt, earrings. Second outfit: blouse, skirt, shoes. Third outfit: blouse, pants, earrings. Fourth outfit: blouse, pants, shoes.

  • Pair solid colored lace with another pattern (ex: a white lace top with snakeskin bottoms)
  • Pair patterns in the same color family (ex: a black and white floral top with a black and white houndstooth bottom)
  • Pair small patterns with big patterns (ex: a dainty polka dot blouse with large windowpane bottoms)
  • Pair a neutral-colored pattern with a bright-colored pattern (ex: a leopard print top with a red plaid bottom)

Pick a Monochromatic Silhouette

If loud and proud outfits aren’t your thing, jump to the opposite end of the spectrum and don a full monochromatic look. It’s simple and chic but can make a big impact if you choose bright or rich shades. If you choose to go head to toe neutral, this look makes it easy to go big with accessories or makeup without overloading your look. A few keys to keeping this outfit interesting are:

  • Choose cuts and silhouettes that compliment your figure
  • Wear a variety of shades in your color of choice
  • Wear a variety of textures, fabrics, and even patterns in your color of choice

Featured items from left to right. First outfit: sweater, skirt, purse. Second outfit: blouse, skirt, shoes.

For instance, I put together an all-black outfit that mixes a knit pencil skirt with a fuzzy sweater and patent leather heels. For my second outfit, I chose a completely green mix of a velvet shirt, patterned top, and snakeskin heels.

And there you go! Five basic tips for putting together show-stopping outfits for any holiday soiree. Let us know how you make these tips your own by tagging @thepostrider on Twitter and my personal account @risetothesun on Instagram.