December’s only just begun, and you’ve already managed to rack up the party invites. Between post-work happy hours, tacky sweater parties and a slew of holiday shindigs, your calendar is all of a sudden stacked with occasions that call for you to play dress up. Normally, we wouldn’t be complaining, but with so many Secret Santa gifts to buy, forking out beaucoup bucks for a shimmery sequin dress or a twirl-worthy tulle gown simply isn’t in our cards. But girl, we’ve got good news. We’ve done enough scrolling at our fave fast-fashion sites to know that sticking to a $100 budget *can* be done. Ahead, we’ve compiled a list of 20 festive AF holiday dresses that will have you decking the halls in style and reaching for your beloved ankle strap heels. Allow these Instababe-approved street style holiday outfits to lead the way.
1. Forever 21 Selfie Leslie Swing Dress ($58): Babe, you were clearly born in the wrong decade. This sequined swing dress with allover fringe was designed with the modern-day flapper girl in mind. You best believe you’ll be getting maximum wear out of this hero piece between now and NYE, especially once you add a feather headband and platform t-strap heels into the equation.
2. Tobi Till Sundown Sequin Shift Dress ($66): What to wear when you know you’ll be staying out until the wee hours of the morning? All signs point to this dazzling sequin shift dress that can’t stop, won’t stop being fierce. Pull style cues a la Kendall Jenner by teaming it alongside a blinged-out choker, a faux fur stole and sky-high heels for a double-tap-worthy look.
3. Topshop Low Back Velvet Skater Dress ($60): File this universally flattering velvet skater dress under things to invest in STAT. Wear it out to the bar with mid-heel ankle boots, slip it on alongside a beanie for ice skating at Rockefeller Center or accessorize with an edgy ear cuff for an evening spent wining and dining.
4. Bardot Makayla Spliced Slip Midi Dress ($89): Have a bajillion functions to attend, will scoop up at least one sultry slip dress. Try as you might, you won’t find an after hours-approved dress more worthy of your jam-packed sched than this slinky red slip that puts the va-va in the voom. You can play it safe by layering it over a white tee or channel your inner vixen with stiletto ankle booties and fishnet tights.
5. Free People Motel Gabby Velvet Mini Dress ($98): Nothing to wear to your S.O.’s office party? Puh-lease. You obviously haven’t locked eyes with this velvet bodycon mini that requires no introduction. While the scoop back leaves just the right amount to the imagination, it’s the allover metal studs that lend an alternative edge. Suede ankle booties and a bold red lip are non-negotiable.
6. Club L Overlay Midi Dress in Sequin ($83): More is more as far as this bangin’ sequined bodycon dress featuring a dramatic overlay is concerned. The olive green is sure to stand out in a crowd of sparkly red ball gowns. Our only advice: Bring your best dance moves and don’t leave home without some oversized hoop earrings for a little ‘90s throwback.
7. Zara Frilly Dress ($50): Cue the frills: We’ve uncovered the quintessential LRD (little red dress) that ticks all the boxes and then some. Whether you’re stepping up to the hostessing plate or heading out on the town for an epic GNO, this sartorial stunner is as red hot and fierce as it gets. Whip out some bow-topped party pumps and a faux fur topper for an after hours-approved look that’s ready to mingle.
8. Miss Selfridge Velvet and Lace Shift Dress ($80): Take the sophisticated route with this velvet and lace shift dress that will double for a post-work networking party, cocktails at a swanky new restaurant in town, you name it. Do less by dialing it down with some sleek ankle boots and a streamlined car coat that reads cool-girl-in-training. We definitely don’t hate it.
9. ASOS Choker Kimono Plunge Mini Dress ($53): Get ready to slay hard in this diva-style kimono dress featuring a plunging choker-style neckline. With statement-making chandelier earrings and lace-up ghillies, you’ll easily be the best-dressed babe by the water cooler. For your “something holiday,” a plush red Santa hat will be in order.
10. American Apparel Velvet Long Sleeve Deep V Skater Dress ($58): When you have no idea what to wear, this enchanting blue velvet skater dress isn’t too shabby of an option. Not only does the deep-V neckline give you free rein to accessorize as you please (hello, glam AF crystal choker and dangling star earrings), but the fact that it’s NOT red and sequined all over means you can still get plenty of wear out of it post-holiday madness.
11. H&M Sequined Dress ($70): Bring sexy back with this red haute sequined dress that’s not for the overly modest. It’ll fit the bill for a holiday-themed date night function and give you an excuse to get all gussied up for the five-to-nine grind. Snag a pair of platform heels for gorgeous gams that go on for days.
12. Boohoo Sequin Star Print Maxi Dress ($62): It’s true: This season’s celestial-inspired trend will have you seeing stars. Whether you’re hitting up a winter wonderland-themed formal or you’ve got dinner reservations at a romantic spot with your boo, this enchanting star-printed maxi with a sheer overlay won’t let you down. Pair with a metallic minaudière clutch, strappy Mary Janes and a bold red lip for maximum impact.
13. Nasty Gal Age of Innocence Velvet Dress ($78): Turn down for what? For a one-and-done look that can be styled in two seconds flat, toss this emerald green ribbed velvet dress on with some OTK boots, and voila — you’re ready to hit the punch bowl in style.
14. Zara Dress With Sequined Straps ($60): Once you’ve seen one sequined party dress, you’ve seen ‘em all, right? WRONG. In a sea of flashy dresses, this one would win by a landslide, all thanks to the oversized sequin paillettes that shimmer and shine just right under the midnight sky. The best part: You can forgo accessories altogether — with the exception of some pointed-toe ankle boots — and let your DDG dress do ALL the talking.
15. Free People Look into the Sun Maxi ($98): This cotillion-worthy maxi in a gorgeous shade of aubergine is straight-up #goals. Besides the goddess appeal, we’re smitten with the deep-plunging neckline and stunning empire waist that best belong on the red carpet. Dial up the drama with a dainty body chain and a Grecian-inspired gold cuff.
16. & Other Stories Sequin Embellished Turtleneck Dress ($85): Don’t let nippy temps stand between you and a late-night bar crawl with your squad. In lieu of a barely there slip dress that lends ZERO protection against the elements, this long-sleeved turtleneck dress with retro appeal will hold you down even when you can’t feel your toes. Plus, it’ll look fab with Chelsea boots and a leather biker jacket as you strut your stuff on the dance floor.
17. Forever 21 Selfie Leslie Embroidered Dress ($85): Do not wait to snatch up this embroidered lace dress with major traffic-stopping potential. Whether you’re reuniting with an ex over break or just want to make a killer first impression at a cocktail party, blending in with the crowd won’t even be an option. For a bombshell look, slip on a glam choker and toss on a leather jacket for a tough girl ‘tude.
18. & Other Stories Fibre Dress ($85): What would the holiday party circuit be without at least one sparkling gold frock? Give the sequins a rest by subbing in this unassuming (yet no less DDG) shimmery mini in for your next girls’ night out. We have a feeling patent loafers and a long wool coat won’t be too far behind.
19. Forever 21 Scalloped Mesh-Panel Dress ($45): You can count on this darling red scalloped dress being in heavy rotation ALL December long. It’s just that foolproof. Between the timeless fit-and-flare silhouette and the understated mesh panel in the front, this party-ready frock is this season’s piece de resistance — just add peep-toe pumps to complete the look.
20. Motel Sisley Glitter Dot Strapless Mini Dress ($90): Is it just us, or does this glittery strapless mini dress give off serious Cyndi Lauper vibes? True to form, it calls for a collegiate-striped bomber, old-school Chuck Taylors and a velvet choker for a trend-right look. Live a little, why don’t ya?
Which of these twirl-worthy frocks will you be investing in for the upcoming holiday party circuit? Follow us on Pinterest for more colorful style inspo!
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