How To Tuesday: How To Dress for Holiday Parties on a Budget

Apart from endless finals, December is an exciting time of year. The plethora of holidays during this chilly month bring gift exchanges, uplifting concerts and festive events. Possibly one of the best activities is a holiday party, but it is often difficult to decide what to wear. On a budget it can be especially tricky, as so much clothing boasts extreme prices leaving a complicated dilemma of how to assemble the perfect outfit without breaking the bank. Luckily this is possible and partygoers can create several looks for a low price.

One of the most versatile pieces for girls is an LBD or other classic-colored dress. Many already have this in their closets but for those who are looking for a new frock Forever 21 has several stylish options under $30; such as the Pleated A-Line Dress or the Lace Combo Smock Dress. This look can be dressed up or down from this point by changing other pieces and accessories. For example, girls can choose between a casual jacket or dressy coat, boots or fancier shoes, or scarf or necklace.

Guys can build many outfits around a basic long-sleeve button down. For those needing a new shirt, H&M has options between $15-30, coming in a range of colors and patterns. Pick a versatile color and pair it with varying accessories for casual and formal parties. For example, a blazer, nice pants and shoes and a tie work for fancier events, while an informal get-together may call for a leather jacket, jeans and fashionable sneakers.

All of these accessories and pieces are likely to be found in the average college student’s closet, making it possible to skip spending money altogether. However, anyone who desires some new items can find many styles at affordable stores, like the aforementioned Forever 21 and H&M as well as American Eagle and ASOS.

The above options will cover most get-togethers, but ugly holiday sweater parties require a different approach. This theme has become especially popular for its embrace of being unapologetically festive as well as showcasing personality. This is the time to wear the oversized snowman sweater hiding in a drawer or to ask family and friends to borrow their own hilarious knit pieces. If neither of those are options, thrift shops are great, as well as any clothing store selling holiday items. Forever 21, as usual, can also come to the rescue with affordable and hilarious styles. However it may not have the same homey feel as a sweater that is personal or from a more independent shop. Finish the look with casual jeans or leggings.

Holiday party fashion never has to be overly expensive and with the above tips it is easy to save and be sartorially satisfied. With just a couple basic pieces anyone can build a range of holiday looks without for a small price. 

Ali Webb is a Staff Writer. Email her at


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