If you find yourself having an occasion to wear a party dress this winter, here are a few tips and tricks for how to rock a velvet dress. Say the words “holiday dress” and everyone’s mind immediately goes to lush, sumptuous velvet, the material of choice for party frocks for decades. Classic and traditional can just as easily read as stiff and frumpy, however, so choosing and styling a velvet dress for the holidays correctly is particularly important. Keep an eye out for fresh, modern silhouettes when shopping for velvet dresses, and pair them with smart, stylish accessories to keep the look updated.
Though many tend to think of it for a formal event, sporting a special velvet dress with just a few simple details to a holiday dinner with family and friends can turn an annual get-together into a festive occasion. Boden’s Silk Velvet Party Dress in black, violet, or berry boasts a classic, sleeveless V-neck silhouette with a flattering empire waist. The fabulous thing about this versatile piece is that it can be easily dressed up or down according to your needs. Pair it with bold, fun jewelry and a simple pair of sling-backs for a semi-formal look or with strappy sandals and glitzy accessories for a dressier outfit, $194.00 at BodenUSA.com. Calvin Klein’s Femke velvet and voile paneled dress in creamy white has a vintage feel; pair it with camel or black accessories for a friend-and-family appropriate outfit or with metallic accessories for a formal look, $563.75 at TheOutnet.com
A velvet dress is a great choice for a cocktail party, especially when it’s in a rich holiday red. Aidan Maddox’s Batwing Sleeve Velvet dress in red has a dramatic silhouette and sexy slit sleeves; pair it with a crystal-embellished heel to set off the vintage-style rhinestone detail at the shoulder, $195.00 at SaksFifthAvenue.com. The Velvet & Lace Shift dress from Laundry by Shelli Segal gets its sex appeal from alternating stripes of black lace and black velvet, but keeps it demure with the long, blouson sleeves, $265.00 at Nordstrom.com. Skip the necklace, which would compete with the wide, romantic neckline, and opt for a colorful clutch and shoes instead.
A black-tie event always requires a stunning dress, but around the holidays needs you need one that’s extra-special. Rachel Zoe’s Ruffle Shift Dress is the chic woman’s answer to a classic tux; the black velvet ruffles cut vertically across the white wool dress to make this fun frock fully holiday-ready, $795.00 at SaksFifthAvenue.com; pair it with a black strappy sandal or a punch or red in the shoe or clutch for pop of festive color. Donna Karan’s Layered Velvet slip dress in stunning stone gray is a chic choice; the double-buckle belt and frayed chiffon hem give this sleek style a bit of edge, while the turtleneck will add some warmth on those cold winter nights, $1,695.00 at NeimanMarcus.com. Pair it with a stone shoe and silvery jewelry for a chic, monochromatic look. No one can call the strapless velvet gown by Alexander McQueen frumpy: the swath of sexy sheer chiffon between the fitted, black, velvet bodice and mermaid hem requires a confident woman to rock this statement dress, $6,850 at Net-a-Porter.com. A sexy pair of sandals in black, metallic, or a colored patent will complete the look.