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5 Holiday Party Knitwear Outfits That Don't Involve Ugly Sweaters

Festive without the gimmick.

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Look, I love a good theme party as much as the next person, but I’m completely over the whole “ugly holiday sweater” narrative. I want my holiday celebration style to be elevated — and I never feel my best in a gimmick-y, over-embellished ugly look. Besides spreading holiday cheer, I want to spread party knitwear outfit ideas that don’t feature bells or blinking lights.

I swear I’m not the Grinch. I just have a hard time feeling attractive in any piece referred to as “ugly,” a term that becomes synonymous with maximalist and oversized around this time of year. But here’s the thing: There’s nothing ugly about maximalist and oversized pieces. If you want to channel your inner statement-maker this holiday season, I suggest pairing a simple fitted sweater with a sequin-covered midi skirt. Or if you — like me — tend to reach for oversized sweaters, there are plenty of ways to make them feel sexy for festive get togethers. (I’d start with a miniskirt, sheer tights, and knee-high boots.)

Now that (hopefully), we’ve taken a step back from “ugly holiday sweaters,” let’s discuss why knits in general are actually perfect for parties. First of all, it’ll keep you toasty as you travel to and from your destination. Because of this, you can wear your favorite chic party jacket that might not be the warmest. Also, knitwear makes the best removable layer. Unless you’re the host, there’s no way to know what kind of climate you’ll be walking into, so an extra snuggly layer will have you prepared for anything.

And, finally, my favorite argument for sweater supremacy? Comfort. There’s nothing I hate more than dealing with a zipper that won’t lie flat or something riding up whenever I sit down, and my preferred route eliminates those stressors and still look incredibly chic.

If I’ve convinced you to climb aboard the chic holiday party sweater train, welcome! And keep scrolling for my favorite knitwear outfit ideas for the festive season ahead.

Go Monochrome

There are few shopping moments more satisfying than finding two separate pieces in the exact same hue, just begging to be worn together for a monochromatic look. This specific pairing is holiday party perfection: the fitted sweater is cozy but still elevated, and the silky pants are fitting for any holiday occasion. Not to mention, if you too choose to go the magenta route, you’ll be ahead of the trend towards Pantone’s 2023 color of the year.

Unexpected Neckline

When shopping for sweaters, I often forget necklines beyond crew- and turtlenecks exist, especially asymmetrical, off-the shoulder silhouettes. A baggy tweed trouser pairs perfectly with a sleek, more form-fitting top. And because it’s the holidays, I love to wear fun footwear and accessories — these Kate Spade champagne cork heels (below) really lay on the charm.


I’ve recently been obsessed with channeling my inner Miu Miu girl by wearing sweater vests, button-downs, and trousers. It’s chic, classic, and most importantly, holiday party perfection. Despite the fact that this isn’t a skin-baring moment, I think there’s still something sexy about a powerful menswear-inspired look. It’s also the ideal opportunity to swap out heels for flats or loafers.

Mixing Textures

Mixing fabrics and textures is always a good idea. Sequins and knitwear is the ultimate high-low party vibe. And if you’re feeling especially festive, a feather bag is the perfect conversation-starter.

Little Black Sweater Dress (LBSD)

Little black dress but make it knitwear. The classic LBD is always holiday party-appropriate, but I’m taking it to a more comfortable place this season by working in a little black sweater dress. Pair with tall boots and your favorite statement bag for a look that you can dance the night away in.