Holiday Party Fashion for Women: Simple to Formal

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Holiday Party Fashion for Women: Simple to Formal
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You've bought your holiday gifts (most of them, anyway), decorated the house and RSVP'd to all of your holiday party invitations. The only thing left to worry about is putting together the perfect outfit for the many parties you'll be attending. But that doesn't have to be a pain in the neck. In fact, if you just follow a few simple tips, tricks and pieces of advice, it can be downright fun. And that's how the holidays should be, right?

Know Where You're Going
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Know Where You're Going

The first step in figuring out the perfect holiday party outfit is to pinpoint the kind of party you'll be attending. Is it just a group of friends getting together? Is it your office party? Is it a lavish formal fete, where a gorgeous cocktail dress like Zoe Saldana's would be a perfect choice? Knowing the party's environment will help you determine the unspoken dress code of the event, which means you'll be neither under- nor overdressed.

Dressing Up for Friends
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Dressing Up for Friends

Your friends love you no matter what you wear, but that doesn't mean you should put zero effort into your outfit for a holiday party with friends. You don't have to go over the top; instead, opt for a pair of great dark-wash denims, black jeans or pants, or even a pair of daring leather leggings. Pair it with a dressed-up blouse or tank and top it off with an attractive blazer, like the one "Revenge" actress Ashley Madekwe wore for a "Nylon" party in Beverly Hills, California.

Options for the Office
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Options for the Office

Office holiday parties can be difficult to dress for. While you're supposed to get into the holiday spirit, you're still expected to look polished and professional. Trying to maintain a balance between excessive and boring can be challenging, so it's always safe to stick to a simple black dress and black heels, says Lauren Finney, a freelance fashion editor and professional blogger. Finney suggests spicing things up with fun, festive jewelry to take this type of look from weak to wow while still keeping it office-appropriate.

Finding the Formal Fit
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Finding the Formal Fit

If you're heading to a more sophisticated soiree this holiday season, it's time to whip out the big style-guns. Don't hold back when choosing an amazing dress to wear. And though you want to look fabulous, make sure you're wearing something you can eat, breathe, sit and dance in, Finney advises. "Take it for a test drive in the store." You can also pull out those pieces you can't wear to everyday occasions, like your treasured diamond earrings or the glitzy shoes you've been dying to wear.

Don't Be a Slave to Dresses
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Don't Be a Slave to Dresses

A dress may be the first thing you reach for when getting ready for a holiday party, but Finney says ladies can look beyond this staple. Try out a ball gown skirt paired with a tank top, or pair it with a white button-down for a more classic look, she suggests. You can also opt for a printed party skirt -- Finney says either a metallic or brocade print looks amazing -- with black tights. For those ladies who are super daring, dazzle in a suit, like Taylor Swift.

Look Cool in Color
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Look Cool in Color

With everyone in a festive spirit, there couldn't be a better time to incorporate beautiful colors into your wardrobe. Stick with warmer winter colors for the best look; pastel pink or sunshine yellow won't quite fit in this time of year. And if you want to play with the traditional red-and-green combo without looking too cheesy, Finney suggests a stylish alternative, like malachite or a Bordeaux, similar to the color actress Diane Kruger wore to the Cannes Film Festival.

Don't Leave Beauty in the Dust
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Don't Leave Beauty in the Dust

For this most wonderful time of the year, your hair and makeup should look wonderful too. The key is to go above and beyond your normal style, but only just. For hair, try adding curls or waves, throw it in an elegant-yet-casual chignon or opt for a beautiful braid (a side fishtail looks gorgeous). With makeup, go for a look that's bolder than you typically wear, but don't make it seem costume-y. Try a smoky eye shadow or a bright red lipstick -- like the one actress Cobie Smulders rocked.

Use Accessories as Budget-Friendly Add-Ons
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Use Accessories as Budget-Friendly Add-Ons

Of course, no outfit is complete without a few show-stopping accessories. And when it comes to the holidays, Finney says "anything that sparkles and shines" is a must. So whether it's a pair of big rhinestone studs, stunning drop earrings (like the ones here that Eva Longoria wore to the Cannes Film Festival), enamel cuff bracelets or a metallic clutch, make sure you don't leave the house without at least one amazing add-on. "Take a simple, solid dress and buy inexpensive seasonal jewelry to dress it up," Finney suggests.

Revitalize an Old Outfit
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Revitalize an Old Outfit

If you have several parties to attend this season, you may worry about how you'll keep your bank balance in the black. But you don't have to be concerned: Rely on accessories to change up that previously worn party outfit. Throw a belt onto a routine dress to transform the look completely. You can also opt for a cool pair of tights (textured, colored, polka-dotted or lace are all tons of fun) or wear a different sweater or blazer with a usual outfit to totally revitalize the look.

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