An Easy Holiday Outfit Formula from Casual to Cocktail

Easy Holiday Outfit Formula from Casual to Cocktail

“Well you look…festive.” The bells on her reindeer antlers jingled disapprovingly as she gave my all black outfit the up and down. My bold red lips were all the festivity I could muster that day, and I was clearly the Wednesday Addams to their tinsel sweaters and Christmas light headbands.

In the holiday season there are so many invitations to parties and get togethers, and the dress code varies from ugly Christmas sweaters and Santa hats to black tie and formal wear. The worst is when you don’t know WHAT to wear.

The answer to “What do I wear when I don’t know what to wear?” is the accessories. As long as it’s not cocktail or above, wearing a nice sweater or a top in a luxe fabric like velvet with some ankle pants or a skirt and pairing it with some pave jewelry can get you on the best dressed list for everything from a work party to a gathering with friends or family. Even if you’re wearing all black.

In the Winter Wardrobe Guide I included a black velvet top that can be worn with jeans, ankle pants, or a skirt (make that a sequin skirt for a really dressed up look) for an everyday or festive look. Adding some pave jewelry gives it just enough sparkle and shine to elevate any of those outfits to the party-appropriate level. To take it up another level add heels instead of flats. You could also choose a festive color to add some more punch to your outfit.

Your easy holiday outfit formula

Basic bottom (jeans, ankle pants, or skirt)

+ Luxe top (shiny sweater, velvet top, festive color, etc.)

+ Pave jewelry

+ Shiny flats or heels

= Holiday party perfection

You can also reverse it and do a basic top with a luxe fabric choice on bottom. I have some shiny silver ankle pants and a silver sequin skirt that I love to wear to holiday parties with a simple black sweater and shiny jewelry. I put together 6 outfits below to give you some ideas.

Get the Perfect Accessories

I have just the perfect jewelry pieces for you! I’m so excited to announce my limited edition jewelry collection! I launched about 2 weeks ago to the Society members, and last week I announced it on the blog. The collection is already over half sold out! I’m overwhelmed by the amazing response, and I want to make sure everyone has a chance to buy them before they disappear.

Because they are a limited edition, once they are gone, they are gone! You don’t want to miss out on these. In the video below I’m sharing an up-close look at each piece. These are perfect for everyday wear, and also to elevate your look for those holiday get togethers. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Which of these outfits is your favorite? What kinds of parties are you attending this year? Tell me down below!


I love these silver ankle pants for a comfortable, but dressed up look. I plan to wear this to my husband’s company dinner. They haven’t set a dress code, but the company overall is quite casual. This will feel perfect whether some of the women show up in dresses or jeans. The pave jewelry is shiny and dressy enough to stand up to the metallic pants and sandals without stealing the show. I have a silver sequin skirt I could substitute for an even dressier look (see that gem below).

Holiday season is hectic, and on those days you HAVE TO go to a party and you really aren’t up for it, a chic black and silver outfit can save your sanity. A simple fitted black sweater and ankle pants are elevated by the pave jewelry and metallic accessories. This would be perfect for a holiday dinner. This is an outfit from the Winter Wardrobe Guide.

This velvet wrap top is part of the Bold Pure Hues Winter Wardrobe Guide. It gets a dressed up feel with these ankle pants and patent red heels. I love how the neckline frames the simple but elegant pendant. (You can sign up for the 10-day free trial of the Guide here.)

If you had a holiday lunch, daytime work party, or family party, this red sweater, ankle pants and flats get a festive upgrade with the pave jewelry, but I am completely comfortable. I can chase my 6 kids in this, but I still feel dressed up for the occasion.

I love this sequin skirt, and it is definitely cocktail appropriate. You could also wear a full sleeve turtleneck sweater, a boatneck black top, a wrap top, and a black tailored button up as well.

A little black dress is so versatile because it can go from work to cocktail. It’s the ultimate easy button option. Adding the pave jewelry and the metallic shoes and clutch make it perfect for a dressier event.


Looking for more inspiration? Discuss capsule wardrobes and classic style with a fun community of like-minded women in the Classic Capsule Conversations Facebook group

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10 thoughts on “An Easy Holiday Outfit Formula from Casual to Cocktail”

  1. Ohh… April, loving the black with the red shoes and lipstick! Second is the sequin silver skirt. Great looks! I have 2 events this week. Tomorrow night is our women’s event at the church. We expect about 500 ladies. I’m in charge of the raffle and will be wearing sequined black joggers with a plain black top and black quilted sneakers with satin bows. Tons of standing, Friday night is again a women’s event, Fashioned for Freedom that supports girls who are rescued from trafficking. I will again wear the sequin joggers with a black velvet heeled boot and shimmer silver, one shoulder sweater. Both with sparkle jewelry! Love the holidays ????

  2. Penny that sounds perfect! I hope you share pictures in the group! My first party is Friday, and then we have play tickets on Saturday. We are taking the kids to their first Broadway musical.

  3. Great Holiday outfits!

    I am interested in signing up for the 10 day free trial of the Rich and Warm Wardrobe Guide, but can’t find the link. (I did find the one for the Bold Hues Wardrobe guide, though.)
    Can you direct me to the right place?

    1. Hi Debbie, thank you! So the 10-day free trial includes the outfits for both Guides. I did that so you can see both color palettes and get an idea of which one appeals to you most. The one sign up is for everyone. Thanks for asking!

  4. I can’t even tell you how much I love this post! Black and bling?! DONE!!!! I probably have 10 versions of that already in my closet! Of course, that won’t stop me from now ordering the velvet top from the Style Guide! THANK YOU for a formula for holiday dressing I can actually use and for your continuous style inspiration! You simplify my life! I just love you!!!

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