In-person celebrations may be back this holiday season, but that doesn’t have to mean visiting a crowded bar for a night of debauchery. Celebrating at home can be just as festive, whether it’s an epic soiree with the family and friends you missed last year, or simply keeping things intimate with your partner and a close pal or two. At-home get-togethers are generally more relaxed, and the time spent often brings you closer to the people you cherish most. This doesn’t mean fashion is out the window, however. If 2020 proved anything, it’s that festive attire has a place in your abode. Sure, for some, that means PJs all the way. But if you want to dial it up a notch or two, a casual party dress is a charming choice.
“This year is all about celebrating,” says Intermix Chief Merchant Divya Mathur. “Whether you’re entertaining at home or [attending] a big event, this is the season to dress up. It’s revenge fashion at its best.” While a glittering sequin mini dress or bow-adorned midi is, indeed, in line with 2021’s fanciful revival, such styles usually aren’t the most comfortable for a gathering in the comfort of your, a friend, or family member’s home.
Instead, flowy styles cut from more relaxed fabrics, like Hill House Home’s cult Nap Dresses, are ideal for a merry look with comfort akin to a sweatsuit. The same goes for chunky sweater dresses, figure-skimming jersey and ribbed-knit designs, and full-volume sleeves and skirts cut from cotton. Matur suggests labels like Ronny Kobo, Aje, A.L.C., and The Line by K for said party-at-home styles, while stylist Rebecca Dennett favors another buzzy label. “Dôen dresses are perfect for an at-ease holiday celebration with flat shoes and gold jewelry,” she tells TZR.
On the matter of accessories, Mathur warns, “Not all people love shoes in their homes, so try not to have [them] be the focal point of your outfit.” In the same sentiment, Dennett says, “In a ‘shoes off’ house, imagine your outfit with no shoes and make sure you still love it.” Intermix’s chief merchant suggests a statement piece of jewelry offset by an understated one, like a bold necklace and simple earrings when footwear isn’t part of the outfit equation. However, if they are allowed, Dennett recommends velvet styles, like a plush loafer or flat from Charlotte Olympia.
Keep scrolling for an edit of low-key party dresses suited to various at-home soirees, from minimal to cozy and, yes, even a little bit fancy.
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Cut from cotton, sweet details from puff and flutter sleeves, to tiered skirts, and ruffled hems feel festive yet effortless for at-home parties. Mathur likes this dress style for a smaller celebration with friends and family, telling TZR, “A pretty midi-length dress in a winter floral” is her ideal. You can embrace more elegant fabrics to achieve this look, too. Simply aim for more relaxed silhouettes, like Merlette’s tiered Ophelia dress, and finish with pretty flats.
From metallic-flecked designs to winter white, a sweater dress is quintessential in the cold. A simple style spun from cashmere is Mathur’s go-to in a party setting, while Dennett likes more relaxed silhouettes for ease. “If you’re going to wear a knitted dress, go for something loose-fitting and belt it,” the stylist tells TZR. On the other hand, fitted shapes or bolder cut-out designs can undoubtedly work in a home setting, feeling more dressed-up but plenty comfortable.
For a slightly dressier approach to at-home party styles, embrace cocktail-worthy silhouettes cut from comfy fabrics that feel cozy on someone’s couch. Think jersey, velvet, or a silk-cotton blend in solid colors and pretty prints.
Silky styles can feel right at home in fluid silhouettes from kaftan-style maxis to wrap dresses with a boudoir-inspired feel. You can even opt for a satin slip dress, but layer it with a plush sweater for cozy ease.
If you’re accessorizing, Dennett suggests flats, like a shearling, velvet, or feather-trimmed pair. To give fanciful fabrics a low-key feel at home, Mathur says, “It’s all about balance; keep your accessories minimal to maintain that effortless look.”