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Holiday parties abound. There are office functions. Decked-out fundraisers. Seasonal soirees. New Year’s bashes.

You get the invite. You R.S.V.P. Now comes the impossible task of decoding the dress code. Interpreting attire suggestions during the holiday season can be tricky, thanks to clever Pinterest-inspired themes like “Denim to Diamonds” and “Margaritas Under the Mistletoe.” As if “festive attire” wasn’t confusing enough.

If the season’s party invites leave you scratching your head, fret no more. Our holiday-party lookbook has you covered — from a casual night out to a dressed-up affair.


(office appropriate, business attire, workplace casual)

Channel your inner Ellen Griswold for a look that’s unmistakably festive, but modest. Don’t wear short hemlines or show too much skin. Do dress up your everyday office wear with something unexpected.

Pearl button-up ($98) and green skirt ($108), Primrose Park,; Jerome Dreyfuss fur pouch ($495),; Kate Spade shoes ($163), Nordstrom; watch ($225), Kate Spade; earrings ($17.95), H&M.


(festive, anything goes, chic and casual)

Hate wearing dresses? This party’s for you. Keep it casual for family and friend gatherings with jeans, leather or sequin pants. Don’t be lazy and resort to your favorite yoga pants. Do dress up a comfortable look with statement jewelry.

BCBG leggings ($158), Rudsak Yuki cold weather booties ($295), quilted sweatshirt ($49.50), Ralph Lauren gloves ($58), all from Macy’s; plaid shirt ($29.95) and necklace ($12.95), H&M.


(creative cocktail, semiformal, after-five)

Now is your chance to dazzle. Don’t wear something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Do take a fashion risk — it’s the holidays and no one will think twice.

Gold sequin dress ($157), Primrose Park,; pink faux fur coat ($59.95), H&M; shoes ($350) and champagne bag ($28), Kate Spade.


(formal, black tie, dress to impress)

The occasion calls for your most glamorous dress (long or short) and most impressive jewelry (think big). Don’t pass on the invitation because you don’t have anything to wear. Do save money by using a dress rental service like Rent the Runway.

Tracy Reese dress ($75 rental, $428 retail), Rent the Runway; Kate Spade shoes ($398); leather gloves ($175), Pumpz and Co.,; necklace ($24.95), H&M.


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