Style Lesson: 31 Ways to Update Your Party Look

Three experts on the perfect festive pieces - just in time for soiree season.

what to wear to a christmas party
Three experts on the perfect festive pieces - just in time for soiree season.
1 of 25
Taghi Naderzad
Update Your Party Look
Olivia Palermo, socialite
"Overdress rather than underdress."

Buy a great oversize clutch that works for day or night. Keep double-sided tape in your bag to shorten a hem in a pinch. Mix hard and soft, masculine and feminine. Overdress rather than underdress. Forget red and green for the holiday season — too predictable. Try platform heels, which look hot but put less stress on your arches when you're standing all night at a party. Play with hot pink. Pack baby powder to absorb oil from both your hair and face. Load up on heavy gold jewelry. Invest in a long winter coat for evenings so your bare legs aren't exposed.

On Palermo, left: Blazer, $79.50, The Limited; dress, $660, Diane von Furstenberg; booties, $790, Dior; belt, $216, Linea Pelle Collection; bracelet, $113, Giles & Brother by Philip Crangi; ring, $185, Rosena Sammi; Palermo's own necklace. On model, right: Top, $595, Vera Wang; skirt, $995, Rachel Roy; shoes, $550, Boss Black; necklace, $1600, Subversive Jewelry by Justin Giunta.
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2 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Dress $630, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti; (212) 460-5500. Belt $120, Linea Pelle Collection; ronherman.com
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Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Ring $900, Mesi Jilly at Jennifer Miller New York; (212) 734-8199.
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Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Booties $450, Tory Burch; toryburch.com.
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Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Necklace $375, Polytima Designs at Fragments; (888) 6-FRAGMENTS.
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6 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Bra & Panty $75 & $50, Princesse Tam-Tam; figleaves.com.
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7 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Clutch $59, Melie Bianco; (562) 908-9830.
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8 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Cardigan $118, J.Crew; jcrew.com.
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9 of 25
Taghi Naderzad
Update Your Party Look
Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, designer
"Camouflage a belly and elongate legs with a slimming shift dress that hits right above the knee."

Boldly pair bright colors, like red shoes with a blue dress. Don't show too much cleavage. Invest in a strapless dress with a fitted bustier and full skirt. Add fun to a formal look with a high ponytail. Don't fall for too-trendy dresses that you'll only wear once. Try textured tights, bold statement necklaces, and large cuffs. Layer a turtleneck underneath a sheath dress. Belt it! Don't get so glitzy that you compete with the holiday decorations. Step into a great pair of heels — what are you saving them for?

On Gruss, right: Dress, $330, Shoshanna; shoes, $795, Yves Saint Laurent; pendant necklace, $1500, leaf necklace, $2775, Jennifer Meyer; bangles, $275 for set of six, Elizabeth Cole Jewelry. On model, left: Dress, $350, Shoshanna; shoes, $845, Jimmy Choo; earrings, $30, Nine West; cuffs, $165 & $195, Ted Rossi.
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10 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Shoes $495, Miu Miu at Bergdorf Goodman; (800) 558-1855.
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Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Dress $1595, Chloé; saks.com.
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12 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Necklaces $432 & $1404, Marni; marni.com for stores.
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13 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Dress $350, Shoshanna at Bergdorf Goodman; (800) 558-1855.
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14 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Bag $825, Tod's; tods.com for stores.
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15 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Bracelet $49, Banana Republic; bananarepublic.com.
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16 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Turtlenecks $158 each, J.Crew; jcrew.com.
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17 of 25
Taghi Naderzad
Update Your Party Look
Maryam Malakpour, Stylist
"Start with too much jewelry and edit down from there."

Accessorize with a gold men's Rolex, a Chanel cuff, a Scottish cashmere beret, or a string of pearls. Scour eBay for the perfect '80s Ungaro dress. Don't buy cheap shoes — it's hard to get inexpensive leather to look good. Tuck a Casablanca lily in your hair for an instantly festive look. Hit up secondhand stores for vintage diamanté necklaces to layer. Start with too much jewelry and edit down from there. Don't wear red lipstick just because it's the holiday season. Throw an LBD over skinny jeans or leggings. Try tartan, velvet, big sequins, and silver. Shine!

On Malakpour, left: Dress, $185, L'Agence; booties, $1070, Yves Saint Laurent; necklace, $1100, Stephen Dweck; oblong ring, $185, Rosena Sammi; Malakpour's own pink Marc Jacobs ring. On model, right: Top, $38, Alternative; skirt, $1450, The Row; shoes, $995, Christian Louboutin; bag, $2425, Chanel; wide choker, $135, R.J. Graziano; scarf, $600, L'Agence; Malakpour's own vintage necklaces.
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18 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Jacket $70, Golden State Clothing; goldenstateclothing.com.
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19 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Necklace $400, Boss Black; hugoboss.com for stores.
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20 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Jeans $248, Rock & Republic; rockandrepublic.com.
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21 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Clutch $625, Jimmy Choo; jimmychoo.com for stores.
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22 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Ring $200, Lia Sophia; liasophia.com for info.
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23 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Booties $584, Rock & Republic; rockandrepublic.com.
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24 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Vest $750, Elise Overland; eliseoverland.com for stores.
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25 of 25
Ben Goldstein
Update Your Party Look
Watch $4400, Rolex; (800) 36-ROLEX for stores.
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