Do you choose the dress in red or black? What about sparkles? How about a bow?

Presents aren't the only things to stress over this holiday season. With all the parties and other events, picking the right ensemble has become as important as selecting the perfect gift.


Don't fret. From those holiday work parties to that New Year's Eve toast, we've got you covered. We recruited a panel of fashion experts to help ensure you turn heads at your next holiday soiree.

Little black dress

Carol Peretz dress, $2,500, Jones & Jones, Cross Keys

"Black is the easiest go-to color," says Lana Rae, founder of Fashion Awards Maryland and CEO of KIS model agency in Annapolis. "I love this dress because it is black but it has a floral pattern. There is silver beading. I love the bow. It accentuates the waist."

Accessories: Use metallics, preferably silver, according to Rae. "Chandelier earrings would be great. Also a cocktail ring," she said. "Avoid a big necklace. That would be too much going on." Rae also suggests adding a "cute little clutch in red or silver." Use a black clutch for a monochromatic look, she added. Complete the look with silver shoes to "keep it in the holiday spirit. It also brings out the silver in the pattern."

Where to wear it: Any party

Little red dress

Halston Heritage dress, $295, Trillium, Green Spring Station

"Red — especially for the holidays — is the perfect color," Rae says. "If you want to be in the spirit but don't know the way to go, this is the look. I love this dress. It has long sleeves so it is perfect for the holidays and the weather. It looks pretty cozy." This dress reminded Rae of the Golden Globes dress worn by Lupita Nyong'o. "It's classy, and I like the shape of it," she says.

Accessories: "To keep it classic, I would add neutral accessories — preferably pearls," Rae says. "Add gold strappy sandals or a classic pump in silver or gold." Because of the dress' sleeves, Rae says, you can go sans bracelet. "Do a statement necklace, or small pearls," she says. Also, avoid green. "If you have on red and green, then it screams elf to me," she says.

Where to wear it: Any party


Diane von Furstenberg dress, $400, L'Apparenza, Mount Washington

"To me the dress is the statement. This dress would be considered your accessory," Rae says. "It's shimmery. It's the attention-grabber."


Accessories: "I would do light, simple accessories," Rae says. Rae opts for a mix of gold and silver. "People say you shouldn't mix gold and silver, but I say don't be afraid." Rae also says that black accessories or pearls would work. While a pair of earrings or a bracelet are perfectly acceptable, Rae says,avoid a necklace because of the dress' neckline and shimmer. "I wouldn't go too overboard," she says. "Pick one statement piece. Keep it simple and classy." As for shoes, Rae thinks that a black bootie works. Those who are more adventurous might add a metallic shoe to the mix.

Where to wear it: Trendy office party, New Year's Eve

Fit and flare

Pink Tartan dress, $445, Trillium, Green Spring Station

First lady Michelle Obama has made this dress shape her go-to. This look is ideal for most body types — especially for those women with curves, according to Latease T. Lashley, founder of Creatively Speaking, a Baltimore-based public-speaking company specializing in fashion commentary."This dress is the epitome of holiday elegance," she says. "It is simple and chic."

Accessories: "Take it up a notch by adding a black lace stiletto bootie and ring to add some unexpected drama," Lashley says. "The rich brocade design pattern makes this dress eye-catching and sexy. Add a fur shawl over your shoulders and dance the party away."

Where to wear it: Any party.

Color-blocked cutouts

Javier Simorra dress, $305, Trillium, Green Spring Station

"This dress is super sexy all by itself," Lashley says. "When a little black dress, little red dress and holiday glam collide, this is what you get — and it is haute." Lashley loves the details. "This red-sequined shoulder detail makes this dress stand alone and makes a bold statement," she says. "The black contrast makes your silhouette appear slimmer and sexier, which is always a girl's best friend."

Accessories: "Wear black satin stilettos as high as you can go to put you on the pedestal," Lashley says. "Wear this dress with your best accessory — confidence — and be the talk of the party."

Where to wear it: New Year's Eve party


Ted Baker dress, $475, Trillium, Green Spring Station

This blue cap-sleeved lace dress is "an update on the lace party dress in a bold, primary color," says Pam Haner, a Baltimore-based fashion stylist.

Accessories: "Keep jewelry playful and bright and save your sparkles for New Year's Eve," Haner says. "Skip the stiletto and make it modern with a sculptural, block heel shoe a la Celine in bold red and finish it off with Chanel's yellow Lego clutch."

Where to wear it: Conservative office party; dressy party

Animal print

Elie Tahari python dress, $998, Panache, Green Spring Station

This dress is "equal parts tough and sexy," Haner says.

Accessories: From L.A.M.B's leather and satin sling back booties to a fringed bucket bag by Saint Laurent, the dress has plenty of accessory options, according to Haner. When it comes to jewelry, black and gold pieces from Bande Des Quatres "make a statement without being ostentatious and complement the sleek silhouette of the dress," Haner says.

Where to wear it: Trendy party, office party, New Year's Eve

Short and strapless

Shoshanna dress, $400, L'Apparenza, Mount Washington

"The classic, strapless cocktail dress is the perfect foundation to try out some of the seasons hottest trends," Haner says.

Accessories: "Trade in your necklace for a side tied, skinny, silk scarf as seen on Prada's Fall 2014 runway and keep your baubles big and minimal," Haner says. "I love Uncommon Matters' platinized bracelet." As far as bags and purses are concerned, Haner opts for an updated Mary Jane from Dior or Marc Jacobs and Céline's leather paper bag clutch. "These will make this look both modern and classic," she says.

Where to wear it: New Year's Eve


ML Monique Lhuillier x goop collection white faille sleeveless top ($215) with black taffeta midi skirt ($385) at


This two-piece dress is for the "couture fashionista," Lashley says. "It folds art and classic shape together in the most chic style."

Accessories: "If you are not afraid to push the envelope, add a pop of color with a pointy toe red kitten heel," Lashley says. "Or take the haute route and add a pair of black Jeffrey Campbell high heels to heat up the party scene." Complete the look by adding a multicolored statement necklace and a red envelope clutch.

Where to wear it: Dressy party

Long and elegant

Theia gown, $1,495, Francesca's Atelier, Green Spring Station

Sometimes a short cocktail dress won't cut it. Try a long, elegant gown for a more upscale soiree. "I would get married in this dress," Lashley says. "It's so beautiful. The ornate beading makes its own sophisticated statement — subtly — on its own."

Accessories: A blush satin heel and small satin clutch will pick up the soft hues of the gown, says Lashley. "Add a creme fur shawl with a broach closure in the center," she suggests, and finish the look with diamond earrings.

Where to wear it: Dressy party