4 Alternatives to the Party Dress That Will Leave You Festive, Fancy and Fabulous for the Holidays — And Perhaps More Comfortable, Too

I think I speak for the women of the world when I say, bless the person who designed the first dress. Likely, it was a woman who, once upon a time, needed a fashionable, multi-functional outfit that was easy to wear. And thus, the dress was born. Ah, necessity. The mother of invention. Ever since, dresses have served a multitude of magnificent purposes in our wardrobes. A well-tailored basic is a godsend on a Monday (or any day if you are me) when you are having a just-can't-get-out-of-bed type of morning, leaving no time to find an acceptable pants/top combo that remotely matches. Ugh, mornings. The little black dress is like the first responder of fashion, putting out last-minute style fires with its ability to be both casual and formal. And we can't leave out the beloved party dress, which can easily make us feel like the belle of the ball or the life of the party. Short, long, casual or glam, it would certainly be a sad fashion existence without the dress. 

Regardless of our love affair with this wardrobe staple, the holidays call for an abundant number of events that require getting all gussied up. So, we could easily tire of wearing and seeing the party dress. Everywhere. Not to mention, there are some really great alternatives out there in retail world that don't always get their time to shine. The party dress is kind of a seasonal spotlight hog, after all.

In terms of show-stopping trends, 2014 was nothing to shake a stick at. Designers and retailers went full-fledged, sequin crazy, whilst nearly all pants were of the printed variety and jumpsuits were red-carpet-ready. So, if you are looking to change up your seasonal style or have just tired of the same old thang, then check out how you too can participate in these trends for a change, and leave that party dress hanging in your closet!

1. FANCY TROUSERS

Over the past couple of years, pants have gotten a serious makeover. I am actually not even sure where one would find plain black trousers anymore or if anyone even wants to. Sequined, patterned and brocaded pants are super fun and could easily and effortlessly replace any knockout party dress. Pair them with a toned-down peplum top, your favorite sweater or a sleek blazer and you are ready for just about any event on the calendar.

Sequined Gold Silver Leggings, $37, pariscoming.com

Trouve Sequin Track Pants, $98, nordstrom.com

Joa Shine On Sequin Trouser, $98, nastygal.com

You Plaid Me At Hello Cropped Navy Blue and Red Plaid Pants, $49, lulus.com

2. SEQUINED TOPS

I have a slight obsession with all things sequined, so the infiltration of this sparkly embellishment into essentially every type of clothing has made me one happy fashion camper. Also, if there is anything that could kill the need for a party dress, it is a full sequin top. Whether in peplum tank, tee or blazer form, a sequin shirt shows you have gumption when it comes to holiday dressing. Plus, they pair perfectly with almost anything: dark denim, skirts and even the aforementioned fancy trousers will create a truly bold look if you're feeling extra brave.

Sequin Peplum Top, $20, topshop.com

French Connection Fast Mini Sequin Top, $130, piperlime.com

Three-Quarter Sleeve Draped Sequin Tee, $44, factory.jcrew.com

Sequined Blazer by Sam Edelman, $138, anthropologie.com

3. SHIMMERY SKIRTS

For a minute there, skirts were feeling a little tired, but now, they are having a metallic moment that is perfect for festive dress up. Traditional gold and silver metallic provide effortless shimmer while jacquards, beautiful berry colors and rose gold sequins (yes, there's more!) pump up the volume. Whether mini or midi, you can't go wrong with a shimmery skirt this season.

Metallic Jacquard Mini Skirt, $70, loft.com

Pleated Metallic Mini Skirt, $13, forever21.com

Whistles Metallic Pleated Skirt, $240, shopbop.com

ASOS Pleated Midi Skirt in Metallic, $66, asos.com

Sequin Pleated Midi Skirt, $140, topshop.com

4. JAZZY JUMPSUITS

What could be easier to wear than a dress you ask? A jumpsuit! A onesie in any form is the fashion equivalent of a good time, so I encourage you to test one out. With celebrities forgoing traditional formal wear in lieu of a romper on the red carpet over the last couple years, the playsuit has blossomed. An option that is both fancy and fun, jumpsuits can be found in various colors, from classic black to festive green and loads of other executions, including pretty prints and, you guessed it, sequins! Are you seeing a pattern here?

Glittery Jumpsuit, $50, hm.com

Monrow Crepe Jumpsuit, $192, piperlime.com

Backless Jumpsuit, $80, zara.com

Theory Stassia Silk Jumpsuit, $249, nordstrom.com

Dietrich Printed Jumpsuit, $158, anthropologie.com

RACHEL Rachel Roy Sleeveless Sequined Tapered-Leg Jumpsuit, $149, macys.com

And if all else fails, be cheeky this season with a messaging tank that overtly takes the place of the party dress you have vowed to retire.

This Is My Party Dress Tank, $25, junkinthetrunkvintageapparel.com

You can even style it with my two personal favorite dress alternatives, a plaid pant and the ever-glittery sequin blazer!

Dresses? We don't need no stinking dresses! OK, let's not be rash. We definitely need dresses, but let's help make sure this wardrobe staple doesn't wear out its welcome by giving it a rest this season. There are quite a lot of fun, fabulous alternatives to try out instead.

Images: Courtesy Brands; Junk in the Trunk Vintage Apparel

Must Reads