Party Perfect Fashion in Dallas

Whether you're staying in town or are visiting Dallas, this breakdown of holiday dress codes helps figure out what to wear and where to get the perfect outfit.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year: the holidays. 

Football season is in full swing, cooler temperatures mean you can finally start to wear those fall fashions you bought back in August when we were still in the triple digits and the invitations are rolling in for holiday parties. The momentary joy you feel when you open something that’s not a bill can quickly be overshadowed by the perplexing thought, “Gosh, what will I wear?”

This is probably followed by “How can I get a cute outfit and not spend a fortune on something I probably won’t wear more than a couple of times?!” The first thing to do is assess the type of party that you’ve been invited to. Clever or cutesy dress codes can be confusing, so let’s break it down into the three most likely scenarios. 

Business Casual

Business casual from Clothes Circuit

This dress code request will most likely appear on an office party or professional invitation.

It’s natural to want to razzle-dazzle your coworkers, but the important thing to remember is that even in a party environment, you are always networking your way up the corporate ladder. Don’t blow it by showing up in a dress that’s too short or too low-cut. Keep it classy but fun.

Consider adding a statement necklace to your little black dress. You will find amazing baubles at affordable prices at Charming Charlie, Anthropologie, Francesca’s, H&M and Ann Taylor.

Ditch the Mary Poppins bag you tote around all week for a sleek clutch. It’s the season’s hottest handbag and perfect for a nighttime event. Peruse stores like Vintage Martini on Henderson Ave., Belk at Galleria Dallas, BCBGMAXAZRIA and Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) for fun options.

Holiday Festive

Holiday Festive look

This is probably the most common party dress code, and you will see it from friends and family.

Usually these soirées will be held at someone’s home, and while they are meant to be casual and fun, you still want to one-up your girlfriends on the wow-o-meter. Pants or a jumpsuit is entirely appropriate and can be paired with a fun strappy stiletto or perhaps fall’s hottest show trend, the open-toe bootie. I always find amazing shoes at Lou Lou on Lovers Lane, Nordstom Rack, DSW, Macy’s or Dillard’s.

Consider a dress that’s a bold color—red is always a popular holiday choice. Maybe look for a fabric that has some shine or metallic elements running through it. My favorite haunts when I need something with a bit of pizzazz are White House | Black Market, elements on Lovers Lane or Lela Rose in Highland Park Village.

Cocktail Attire

The Cocktail Attire look.

This is the dressiest of the options, and the typical choice is a cocktail dress.

Styles can range from strapless and flashy to a more conservative little black dress. Hemlines for cocktail attire are slightly above the knee or shorter. For a cocktail party, you will want to pull out all the stops. Call up Blushington on Oak Lawn Ave. for a professional makeup application (go for a bold lip or a smoky eye), then walk next door for a blow out at drybar.

Finding a fancy party dress is never a problem for me. Spending the money on fancy party dress that I know I will probably never wear again, though, is always painful. My solution is to shop smart and head for upscale resale stores where you can find amazing designer brands at a fraction of the retail price. My favorites are Clothes Circuit on Sherry Lane and Vintage Martini on Henderson Ave. I’m also a huge sale shopper and score amazing deals on cocktail frocks at Neiman Marcus or Nordstorm.

Regardless of the event, there are two accessories that are an absolute MUST for any party or event this holiday season: confidence and a smile. You can never go wrong when you arrive wearing those traits. Happy holidays!

Cynthia Smoot
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