What to wear when hosting a casual holiday party at home

Q. I will soon be hosting a holiday party at my house and need some help with an outfit/accessories. It’s a casual get-together, but I still want to look put together. I’m going to wear dark jeans and possibly the JCrew scattered sequin sweater in red, or Ann Taylor’s cashmere wrap cardigan in red or blue. I’m not quite sure how to accessorize these looks with jewelry or shoes. I’m also open to other top options!


A. The key to putting together a successful hostess look is to find the right combination of holiday chic and comfort. I tend to get pretty hot when hosting a holiday party with all the time spent in the kitchen and tending to guests, so I avoid anything too warm. And since I spend most of the party on my feet, comfortable shoes are a must. For even a casual holiday get-together, I think it’s nice for the hostess to wear something a little special and festive — whether this translates to a sparkly top, a pretty dress, velvet pants, or something red depends on your personal style.

The two tops you are considering are perfect for hostessing. Either would look great with a pair of dark jeans or even one of these fancier denim options. For the sequin sweater, a pair of glam earrings is all the jewelry you need, while the wrap sweater would look stunning with a sparkly statement necklace. Avoid any jewelry that might get in the way like long pendant necklaces or stacks of chunky bracelets. For shoes, a pretty smoking slipper or special flat would be a comfortable choice, or wear one of your more comfortable heels or boots if you own any.

I also like to wear a dress and opaque tights when I host a holiday party — it not only makes me feel put together and a bit more dressed up, but offers more freedom of movement than jeans or skinny pants.

Back to Top