Dressing for a holiday party is a fine balancing act: you have to look put-together without overdoing your duds, and sprinkle in a bit of seasonal cheer without straying into Santa territory. Rather than wearing that tired “going out” shirt you keep in the back of the closet for special occasions, party hard from Christmas to New Year’s (and look good doing it) with these classics you might not already have in your wardrobe. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a few invitations from under the mistletoe.
A two-button velvet blazer
The velvet blazer is truly a holiday classic, and for good reason: not only is it stylish, it’s pretty damn warm, too. Avoid grabbing one in black, and instead reach for one in navy or burgundy for festive colour. This blazer from Dsquared2 adds a dose of flash, first figuratively with bold and playful peaked notch lapels, and then literally with a subtle shine effect on the material. Two buttons instead of three also ensures that the jacket fits at its most flattering, even if you let yourself go for a night. Oh, and permission to rock a bow tie? Granted ($1,357, SSense).
An (actually stylish) printed sweater
This kind of sweater will never get you into an ugly sweater party—and that’s a good thing. The key is finding a style that doesn’t sag, fitting your body to create a slim profile (and giving you the additional option of layering it underneath a blazer or jacket). In addition to snug ribbed cuffs and hems, this Birnir fairisle jumper from Norse Projects is made of a toasty combination of wool and super-soft mohair ($316.99, FarFetch).
Until they start making seasonal colours well for men, the perfect holiday shirt remains the white shirt, sans necktie. Opt for a spread collar that looks great open, and try to get it tailored to your body before the big night out for that little something extra. It’s all in the subtle details, so consider Thomas Mason’s bespoke-inspired shirt for J.Crew, which features real mother-of-pearl buttons, and use it as a neutral anchor for a look that throws together some accessories you can’t get away with on any old day ($148, J.Crew).
The right dress boots
Dress boots, with the right combination of ruggedness and classiness, mean you don’t have to choose between being uncomfortably warm indoors and freezing your toes off outside. There are a few choices here, but if you want us to make it simple, lace up these textured leather short boots from N.D.C. They’ll work well with slim and straight pants, but if you’re going to wear jeans to the get-together, make sure they’re dark and unmarred by too much wear and tear. The pull tab and contrasting brown, stacked leather soles give them an unbeatable silhouette ($692, StyleBop).