As the invites pour in, the wardrobe options run out. By now, you've either already worn every fancy dress you own, or you're just plain sick of them. Fear not, there's a whole world of party-appropriate separates (such an unsexy word) to explore that look just as smashing. From sassy pants to sophisticated suiting, here are five frock alternatives to get you through the month.
Click away to see all the looks.
Frenchified Suiting This one is for all you Caroline de Maigret and Emmanuelle Alt fans out there. Nothing says "leave all those stupid girly dresses to the Americans" better than showing up to a fancy event decked out in a tux worthy of the Left Bank. Look for a bit of sheen in the fabric and make sure your blacks match. Also keep jewelry on the barely there side -- a teeny diamond pendant that hits right at the collarbone is perfect. Add a vampy lip and sky-high pointy-toe heels for a dose of femininity. There will be no garcon jokes at your expense!
1. Smart lux blazer, $130, available at Topshop. 2. Lux seam cigarette trousers, $110, available at Topshop. 3. Nars semi matte lipstick in Fire Down Below, $26, available at Nars. 4. Dana Rebecca Designs Lauren Joy necklace, $275, available at Dana Rebecca Designs. 5. Equipment Hunter blouse, $223, available at Equipment. 6. Jimmy Choo Talan pump, $837, available at Jimmy Choo.
The "Sparkle Frump" Grunge Special There's nothing we love more than taking something that's unabashedly girly and mixing it with a no-big-deal piece that looks like it was casually plucked from your bedroom floor. Harbingers of '90s-era fashion were experts at this -- see vintage Courtney Love. Sequins make for excellent statement pieces to be toned down with a casual knit, and for some reason -- no matter what the color -- they look best when paired with anything gray. Add black ankle boots for further toughness, and go for a red stain on your lips to complete the undone vibe. We're also picturing this with a messy updo, all the better to show off a pair of polished rose gold stud earrings.
1. Free people sequin maxi skirt, $268, available at Cusp. 2. Short angora sweater, 49.99, available at Zara. 3. Josie Maran Magic Marker lip and cheek stain in Flamenco, $19, available at Sephora. 4. Lena Wald medium pyramid stud earrings in rose gold, $250, available at Lena Wald. 5. Wraparound strap leather ankle boots, $149.99, available at Mango.
The Studio 54 Jumpsuit Goes Gamine
This look is all about channeling disco-era heroines like Jerry Hall and Bianca Jagger, but with a softer touch (think Vanessa Paradis). Choose a one-piece with camisole details, like lace and spaghetti straps. Add a louche, pajama-inspired jacket to further the decadent vibe, and go with a pair of exquisitely pretty heels to up the sophistication factor. Keep the jewelry super simple with an extra-long gold chain, and top it all off with a tawny pink lip.
1. Jumpsuit, $79.90, available at Zara. 2. Beautiful by Charlene 30" gold-plated chain necklace, $7, available at Etsy. 3. Kimono, $110, available at Topshop. 4. Manolo Blahnik lace BB pump, $695, available at Barneys. 5. Bobbi Brown creamy matte lip color in Warm Beige, $25, available at Nordstrom.
Quirky Pants Can Be Fancy Pants, Too Credit Jenna Lyons for this trend -- rarely will you find her on a red carpet wearing a dress, much less a skirt. Instead, she prefers pants. But not just any pants -- wildly patterned, high-shine cropped pants, to be exact. Follow her lead and choose a pair that meets this criteria, but style them with a solid sweater (unless you have a graduate degree in Lyons-style print-mixing, which we, admittedly, do not). Chunky, flashy jewelry is important up top to keep the look dressy, and a patent embellished loafer is right in line with the whole "bookworm letting loose" theme. Skip the J.Crew-inspired bright orange-y lips and opt for a creamy rose shade instead -- it's a catalog-to-real-life adjustment you'll be all the better for.
1. Hourglass liquid lipstick in Empress, $28, available at Sephora. 2. Dannijo rainbow drop earrings, $182, available at Saks Fifth Avenue. 3. Carven angora sweater, $508, available at My Theresa. 4. 3.1 Phillip Lim Quinn loafer, $695, available at 3.1 Phillip Lim. 5. J.Crew Collection silk-jacquard pants, $198, available at J.Crew.
As Britney Spears (kind of) put it: It's not a skirt, not yet a short. It's a skort! Take this personal style blogger–favorite for a spin by adding street style-inspired sporty extras, like a fancy sweatshirt and lug-sole platforms. Go over-the-top with accessories -- just anything really sparkly and eye-catching (you never know when Tommy Ton is going to be making the rounds). Tie everything together with the boldest hot pink lipstick you can find. And don't forget the tights!
1. MSGM floral sweatshirt, $186.71, available at Farfetch. 2. BLK DNM leather jacket, $895 ($716 through Dec. 2 at 11:59 p.m), available at Shopbop. 3. Kenneth Jay Lane crystal necklace, $123, available at Net-a-Porter. 4. Aldo Migon platforms, $76.99, available at Aldo. 5. M.A.C Retro Matte lipstick in Flat Out Fabulous, $15, available at Nordstrom. 6. Mini skort, $49.90, available at Zara.