The Party Dress Trends You'll See Everywhere

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/ Getty Images.
Party invitations are piling up, but we can no longer convince ourselves that, with the right sparkly top, black skinny jeans fit any going-out dress code. For a White Elephant party or high school reunion drinks, sure, but for the office holiday fête or a New Year's Eve packed with dancing? Maybe not. So it's time to shift gears and focus on the oft-neglected (but incredibly fun) special-occasion section of our closets. Celebrities play this cocktail-attire-or-fancier game all the time, and we can cull all kinds of holiday-ready tricks from them.

Celebrities' sartorial choices eventually sway trends one way or another, and inform the styles we'll be seeing everywhere in a few months' time. This year, famous folks have given us a wealth of inspiration to break out during the holiday season, like the rise of the pencil dress and formal turtleneck, as well as the comeback of the power suit.

Now that it's party-dress crunch time, we're pulling out all the tips and tricks we've learned (okay, co-opted) from celebrities. Ahead, check out the five trends that have stood out from recent glamorous Hollywood affairs, and shop similar styles that'll surely suit the events dotting your calendar this month.

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Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images.
The Built-In Cape
What to wear when getting chilly is a distinct possibility? Or when you're feeling particularly heroic? Try the built-in cape. This can take shape as a dress, with a little extra fabric draped on the shoulders, or as a structured top, like Solange’s fluorescent Milly look. Either way, you'll take each step with a little more gusto.
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It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's the most sartorially savvy girl at the party.

Zara Asymmetric Dress, $39.99, available at Zara.
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The front of this structured cape dress has a blazer-like feel to it, so that's one less thing to wear or carry around all night.

C/MEO Night Rider Cape Dress, $231, available at Nordstrom.
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No fear of pinot noir spills in this number.

Sonia Rykiel Cape Dress, $1,375, available at Stylebop.
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The LBD gets a superwoman upgrade.

Forever21 Plus Size Layered Cape Dress, $27.90, available at Forever21.
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Pastels to the sartorial rescue.

Valentino Wool-Silk Cape Dress, $2,590, available at Stylebop.
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Sashay this way.

Reformation Escala Dress, $278, available at Reformation.
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Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/ Getty Images.
The High Neck
Turtlenecks have always been there for us, from the kind-of-chilly fall days to the coldest winter nights. However, when it’s proper dress-up time, this go-to gets cast aside. Not anymore: Celebrities have taken back the turtleneck as an all-occasion garment on the red carpet. It's not knit, but the neck-hugging goodness remains. Take, for instance, Darby Stanchfield’s textured Altuzarra number: A frilly, baby-blue collar contrasts with (and stands out against) the rich, golden velvet, making vintage-leaning details feel a bit more contemporary.
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Enroll in the Selena Gomez school of turtlenecks by opting for a dress with a neck band that opens up into a plunging neckline, a look amenable to warmer winter temps.

Boohoo Boutique Kate Sequin Printed Swing Dress, $60, available at Boohoo.
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The peplum comes out of its brief retirement for the 2015 party season.

No. 21 High-Neck Peplum Satin Dress, $937 $468, available at MatchesFashion.
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These florals may be dark, but the print still packs a punch.

Kenzo Shadow Flowers Mini Dress, $985 $689, available at Kenzo.
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Layer this dress over a long-sleeved T-shirt or thermal, and the cold doesn't stand a chance.

Zara Micro Jacquard Dress, $49.90, available at Zara.
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Even LBDs are feeling festive!

MSGM Embroidered Mini Dress, $655, available at Stylebop.
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A high neck isn't always frilly. The mesh inserts toughen up this put-together silhouette.

Sandro Resty Dress, $325, available at Sandro.
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Photo: Araya Diaz/WireImage/ Getty Images.
The Off-The-Shoulder
This classic silhouette gets an update in the form of a blunt cut, like the sharp neckline on Kerry Washington's Hugo Boss dress, or as unexpected cutouts that show a little skin without leaving your shoulders totally exposed.
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The burgundy hue is a nice refresher from our regularly scheduled LBD programming.

Boohoo Plus Claire Eyelet Open Shoulder Skater Dress, $35, available at Boohoo.
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The chicest way to give someone the cold shoulder.

Self Portrait Ayelette Cutout Double-Crepe Dress, $640, available at Neiman Marcus.
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We've got quite a few party tricks up our sleeves...

Pixie Market Feather Sleeve Dress, $144, available at Pixie Market.
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Earn your holiday stripes.

Finery London Sackville Stripe Cut About Dress, $155, available at Finery London.
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This dress has everything: spaghetti straps, a bandeau top, and an off-the-shoulder finish, for the partygoer who can truly do it all.

Three Floor New Generation Dress, $188, available at Three Floor.
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And that's a wrap on the search for a lovely, off-the-shoulder LBD.

Modern Citizen Liana Wrapped Off-Shoulder Dress, $105, available at Modern Citizen.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/ Getty Images.
The Pencil Fit
If we've seen one dress style rise above all this year, it's the pencil fit: The figure-hugging, midi-length silhouette is sophisticated and uncomplicated. Selena Gomez's ruby sequined Givenchy number from the AMAs, which was actually cropped from its original catwalk length (a flowy maxi), shows how contemporary some unexpected textures can feel. It's easier to walk and move about in than the floor-sweeping gowns that often dust the red carpet, but still feels dressy enough to get you through the wide range of party scenarios this holiday season.
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No need to master the art of small talk — this abstractly embroidered midi-dress is sure to be a conversation-starter.

Misha Nonoo Embroidered Sheer Fitted Diane Dress, $425, available at Misha Nonoo.
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This fuzzy jersey dress is as close to walking out of the house in your coziest blanket as it gets.

Kaelen Jimmy Tank Dress, $525, available at Kaelen.
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Ace the high-neck and midi-dress trends in one go with this ASOS style.

ASOS CURVE Premium Body-Conscious Dress With Eyelets, $99 $69, available at ASOS.
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A festive-feeling floral that's not too prim.

Suno
Blue Jacquard Pencil Dress, $595, available at Avenue 32.
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Going for the gold.

Topshop Gold Grid Lace Midi Dress, $160, available at Topshop.
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Even winter whites feel summery with this (detachable!) halter neckline.

Derek Lam 10 Crosby Detachable Necklace Dress, $795 $477, available at Derek Lam.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
The Sharp Suit
We've already established that the new suit suits us better. And celebrities are right there with us: Danielle Haim kicked it off at the Grammys with a creamy Stella McCartney ensemble; others followed suit at the Emmys and beyond. This season, we're ramping up the matching-set game with sharp, tailored blazer-and-trouser combos that are sleek, modern, and unquestionably cool.
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Do as Barney Stinson would.

Wildfang x Lucca Couture The Baccall Double Breasted Blazer, $148, available at Wildfang; Wildfang x Lucca Couture The Jagger Pant, $98, available at Wildfang.
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Seamlessly transition from office to office party with the swap of a blouse.

& Other Stories Shawl Collar Blazer, $275, available at & Other Stories; & Other Stories Tailored Flare Trousers, $175, available at & Other Stories.
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There's no such thing as too much cranberry this time of year.

Stella McCartney Cranberry Liana Jacket $1,250 $750, available at Stella McCartney; Stella McCartney Cranberry Octavia Pants $655 $394, available at Stella McCartney.
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This is what happens when the caped crusader suits up for the party.

Asilio Ignite The Night Cape, $202, available at Revolve; Asilio Show Me the Rings Pants $159.95 $71.99, available at The Iconic.
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"Go big or go home" is a philosophy we apply to life and to our trousers.

Temperley London Dominika Check Double Breasted Jacket, $1,565, available at Temperley London; Temperley London Dominika Check Culotte, $995, available at Temperley London.
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Prints, please.

New Romantics Kamala Blazer, $248, available at Free People; New Romantics Kamala Pant, $198, available at Free People.

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