Celebrate in style with these 21 holiday party dresses

Elizabeth Wallace, CNN Underscored
Updated Wed December 11, 2019

Holiday season, also known as occasion-dress season, is in full swing. There's the office party, your neighbor's artisanal cheese board gathering, holiday martinis with friends, multiple family celebrations— and that's just next week. What better reasons to shop for a fun new party dress?

We've pulled together what we consider the 21 best holiday dresses — across the categories of comfy-cool, day-to-night and serious sparkle — and bonus, many of them are bargains. Many of them can also be worn year-round — well past New Year's Eve — and from one festive occasion to the next. Or, if you're like us and have trouble making decisions, just say yes to the dress(es), and snag more than one. Dressing for the next month just got easier, and more merry. And if you're looking for some goodies that aren't dresses, we've also rounded up the best holiday pajamas and some 5-star Amazon fashions, too.

Feast-friendly

ModCloth Perfectly Proper knit A-line dress ($59; modcloth.com)

A Peter Pan collar, three-quarter sleeves, and an A-line cut make this more compelling than your average sweater dress.

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Topshop turtleneck sweater dress ($75; nordstrom.com)

The big fuzzy turtleneck renders this cute mini so cozy, you may well end up wearing it around the house while you wrap packages and make cocoa.

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Asos Design embellished Fair Isle Christmas sweater dress ($51; asos.com)

A festive, ready-for-holiday take on Fair Isle -- this option brings cheer wherever it turns up.

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Parisian Tall collarless shirt dress in floral print ($35, originally $44; asos.com)

Elegant enough to feel special occasion-ish, but also so easy that it's almost like you went to a holiday party in your PJs.

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Madewell cape-sleeve mini dress in metallic dots ($148; madewell.com)

Swingy and sexy, it's totally here for New Year's Eve. And the kicky length makes it right for almost any occasion well into next year.

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Never Fully Dressed puff-sleeve midi dress in red floral print ($141; asos.com)

There's an ethereal, nymphlike quality going on here. And yet, it's so wearable, it may become your year-round go-to occasion dress.

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Electra sweater dress, Eva Mendes Collection ($99.95; nyandcompany.com)

What's not to love about this? The puffed sleeves, the flattering cinched waist, the deep purple shade that feels luxurious, the versatility. And! It comes in chartreuse as well.

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Calico Skies midi dress ($168; freepeople.com)

If you want to bring a California-cool, unexpected bohemian vibe to your night, this one has you covered. ______________________________________________________________________________

Zattcas women's ¾-sleeve floral print faux wrap maxi dress ($25.99; amazon.com)

Can't wear yoga pants to the holiday parties? This stretchy maxi in a cheery rose print comes a close second in comfort.

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Chelsea28 Mock Neck Metallic Shift Dress ($149; nordstrom.com)

With its mock neck, shift dress silhouette and frilly hem, this is a dress that can go from the dinner to the after-hours cocktails in a snap.

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Day to night

Reformation Winslow dress ($268; thereformation.com)

Embrace a floor-sweeping emerald beauty. You are not going to be basic this year.

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Antonio Melani Luxury Collection Abigail genuine leather dress ($299; dillards.com)

Life is too short not to own a black leather dress. Once you commit to this, trust us, it'll become a staple.

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Hobbs London Zadie zebra-stripe wrap dress ($265, originally $335; bloomingdales.com)

Silhouette-shaping but in a relaxed fit — and yes, animal print is sort of this year's neutral.

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Adrianna Papell tuxedo sheath dress ($97.30, originally $139; macys.com)

A tuxedo-style dress that feels quite modern. Think: black-tie-optional-meets-laid-back.

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Splendid Allston puff-sleeve rib-knit dress ($188; saksfifthavenue.com)

Equally well-matched with a heel, an over-the-knee boot, or, yes, a sneaker. The mini length makes it feel fun and relaxed.

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Talbots sheer stripe Fit & Flare dress ($199, talbots.com)

This one shouts holiday, in the most elegant, classy voice. Plus, it has what more good dresses should: quasi-hidden pockets!

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Sparkly

Asos Design scatter sequin knot-front kimono maxi dress ($135; asos.com)

There's an effortless glamour to this kimono-style dress with a sexy knot-front. Understated sequins seem to quietly announce: The party can begin now.

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Geometric sequin long-sleeve mini bodycon dress ($59, originally $118; express.com)

There's a fantastic '70s glam disco feel going on here. It's an unabashed head-turner.

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Pleated A-line midi dress in metallic lace ($228; jcrew.com)

Found: the perfect party dress for the season -- in black lace! Which somehow feels both demure and completely contemporary.

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New York & Company sequin wrap-front sheath dress ($119.95; nyandcompany.com)

With a daring combo of sequins and stripes, this one proves that more is more. The season's statement dress has arrived.

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Aidan Mattox embellished floral metallic cocktail dress ($198, originally $440; bloomingdales.com)

Exclusive to Bloomingdale's, this number boasts embroidered sequins, beading, and metallic thread. It's truly a wearable sculpture.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.