News & Politics

New Year’s Outfit Ideas

Your mission on December 31: Dress to get noticed. When the ball drops and everything goes black, don’t blend in with simple cocktail dresses and standard silver sparkles—stand out with color, quirk, and sophistication. Our guide to party attire works pie

Black may be the world’s greatest neutral, but there are still some pairings you seldom come across. This New Year’s, punk out basic pieces with unexpected shades of neon and golden yellow. This killer accent color injects wardrobe standbys with a dash of smarminess—perfect for the girl who grabs attention with saucy one-liners, razor-sharp wit, and rockstar sensibility.

Electric Mini-Dress. Necessary Objects sweetheart bustier dress ($65), Banana Republic drama chandelier earrings ($40), Forever21 patent platform bootie($24.80).

Downtown demure. Bird by Juicy Couture stretch wool skinny pants ($300), J. Crew ruffled Mary Janes ($169.99), Forever21 yellow top.

The Heels Have It. Velvet by Graham & Spencer Ottavia heathered slinky dress ($83.99), Linea Pelle Dylan long leather wallet ($135), L.A.M.B. Tailynn yellow heel ($279.99).

Body-conscious bandage dresses and skirts will showcase curves and smooth out areas you’re self-conscious of—could there be a better party staple? Just make sure to keep your accessories on the simple side—the unusual texture of these pieces will draw more than enough attention. If you’re looking to downplay some of your newfound sex appeal, oversized blazers, slouchy tanks, and opaque tights will help you cover up while staying on trend.

Shades of Blue. French Connection ribbon knits dress ($168), Forever 21 chain-mail pouch purse ($19.80), ASOS Harlow cross-front punched shoe ($25.50), Aeropostale solid black tights ($4.20).

Berry Bold. Hervé Léger Dégradé bandage dress ($1,113), Joan & David suede bootie ($244).

Rocker Wear. Alexander Wang wool jacket with motorcycle sleeves ($690), T by Alexander Wang racer-back jersey tank ($74), Arden B. Ombre bandage mini skirt ($44), Rebecca Minkoff suede lovenote clutch ($298), Dolce Vita flash bootie ($189.99).

We adore one-shouldered, and love black-and-white pieces, but it’s another thing entirely when they come together. This typically graphic color combo turns playful and fun with ruffle accents, quirky pops of color, and replacing big-time earrings and necklaces for nontraditional accessories. Studded gloves, jeweled hairpieces, and statement rings are all fair game when an ensemble’s color palette is this basic, so start getting adventurous!

Boho Black Tie. Haute Hippie embellished one-sleeve tunic ($395), Unlisted rhinestone satin sandal ($49.95), Apt. 9 jet-tone crystal flex ring ($13.40), Jessica McClintock rosette kisslock frame clutch ($58), Nordstrom pavé stud earrings ($88).

French Sophisticate. French Connection Sylvie spot dress ($149.99), Jeffrey Campbell Charo slingback ($114.95), French Connection studded gloves ($88), Bebe romantic chain handle clutch ($39).

Spanish Whimsy. ModCloth film festival dress ($84.99), Louis Mariette Lola Swarovski crystal hairband ($145), Arden B. satin feather clutch ($44), ModCloth Taste for Luxury heels ($67.99).

No night is more sparkle-friendly than New Year’s Eve. Skirts this loud will work with basic black or white, but why play it safe when jewel-tone tops are much more fun? Our favorite way to wear this year’s sequin trend is on bottom in a streamlined shape, paired with detailed basics and textured accessories. The one place to tone it down is the jewelry department—bling automatically becomes unnecessary when wearing a skirt with this much glitz.

Gossip Girl. Oasis shoulder top ($50), Alice + Olivia sequin mini skirt ($396), Betsey Johnson Kazan pump ($138.51), Juicy Couture sequin stone hair clip ($55 for two).

Midnight Stunner. T by Alexander Wang sheer cowl tank ($82), Alexander Wang sequined draped skirt ($595), Banana Republic diva tuxedo-rose necklace ($59.50), L.A.M.B. Lita sandal ($176.90).

Flaxen Violet. Vince sequined skirt ($275), Michael Kors cashmere V-back sweater ($318), Report Signature Newbury 2 sandal($179.99), Rachel Leigh gumball ring ($56).


Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.