6 Ways to Style for a Holiday Party

Elevate your look for your next holiday get-together with these expert style tips and outfit suggestions.

6 Min. Watch | How-To Guides


[00:00:00.08] What's up, everyone? I'm Donnell, fashion director and style expert. I'm here at the L.L.Bean headquarters in Freeport, Maine, to show you some of my tips on what to wear to a holiday party. Let's get started.

[00:00:12.29] [MUSIC PLAYING]


[00:00:12.29] Text, LL Bean Presents How to Dress for a Holiday Party.


[00:00:15.74] I'm in the work room, where I get a chance to play with textures, colors, patterns, all the necessary components for a compelling look. In this room, I am prepping for ad campaigns, commercials, catalog, everything you see on the website. This is such a special room. I get so excited when I'm in this room.

[00:00:33.38] There's something really special about dressing for the holidays. It's the most social time of the year. Meeting up with old friends, you're really wanting to showcase your best looks. And this is the time where you can tell a story without saying a word.

[00:00:45.53] Let me introduce you to my models for today, Emma and Mason. Come on in, guys. What's up? How you feeling?

[00:00:51.11] Great.

[00:00:51.65] Excited to be here.

[00:00:52.85] Awesome. Let's get into it.


[00:00:54.71] Red vest over denim shirt.


[00:00:56.48] One cool styling tip for the holidays is to be bold. Bring out those pops of colors, like we've done here with this puffer vest. You see the detailing here in this vest? It ties back to the printed turtleneck. We've paired it with the chambray shirt, which ties in with the jeans with all the cool distressing. Of course, we've anchored it with the classic Bean Boot. How do you feel about this look?

[00:01:17.24] I feel great. What I love about this is just most of it is pretty neutral. And then you bring in the pop of color, like you said, with the vest. And so it's not too much, and I feel very comfortable.

[00:01:27.26] Awesome. And that's what it's all about.


[00:01:28.97] Tip 2.


[00:01:29.60] Another tip I like to share is about embracing colors and patterns. So right now, Mason is wearing this black watch plaid shirt jack. It's Sherpa lined. The plaid matches the button-down, which is super cool. I love this. And we've added a pop of orange that really ties in with the boots.

[00:01:48.62] I know when I'm at a holiday party, I'm working up a sweat. I'm the first one on the dance floor and the last one to leave. The cool thing about wearing layers, especially with this look, is you can take it off and not lose a single element from the look. Let's try it.


[00:02:02.45] Takes off jacket.


[00:02:03.05] You see? You haven't lost a single element. You still got the plaid, the pop. It still ties in with the overall look. How do you feel, man?

[00:02:10.40] Yeah, I love it. I'd definitely wear this.


[00:02:12.85] Tip 3.


[00:02:13.79] One of my favorite styling tips is to mix it up by using a standout piece. Right here, the standout piece is this really cool green buffalo plaid shirt. I love it. It's from the men's collection, so we've borrowed from the boys.

[00:02:28.05] I love the fact that this is tied in with the stripe. I love a stripe. Never met a stripe I didn't love. And I'd style this look with this great washed denim that really, really ties back to the black that's in the green plaid. We've got the really cool striped socks and also paired with the Rugged Wellies. What do you think about this look?

[00:02:51.75] Yeah, I love this look. It's 100% something that I would wear. I think the black of the jean, the green of the shirt feels very grunge, which I love because it's unexpected. But it still has that holiday flair with the pop of color.

[00:03:06.51] Awesome.

[00:03:06.81] So love it.


[00:03:07.77] Try monochromatic looks.


[00:03:08.94] I get really excited about monochromatic dressing, just like you see here on Mason. Right here, we have a charcoal scotch plaid button down that is paired with this really cool beautiful waffle knit sweater and these really great charcoal cords that really, really help to tie in the look. You got all these really cool patterns textures that play off of each other.

[00:03:32.37] You know, with monochromatic dressing, you might not want to be the person who's the showstopper, right? Head-to-toe red, head-to-toe yellow. But this is a great entry point to that monochromatic dressing. It's effortless. It's chic. And most importantly, it's really stylish.

[00:03:49.56] Yeah. I feel like I could definitely just hang out by a fire at a holiday party, drinking some nice hot cocoa, and still looking good while doing it.

[00:03:56.49] Absolutely.


[00:03:57.56] Tip 5, dress for the occasion.


[00:03:59.50] One important thing to remember for a holiday party is dressing for the occasion. This party could be outside, apres ski, an indoor evening party. Whatever you do, just make sure that you're not wearing what you would normally wear to work.

[00:04:13.24] We're going to pull out these really cool buffalo plaid jackets, anything with a beautiful texture or pattern, crisp white shirt that reads formal, these great fitting black jeans, and, of course, the Bean Boots that has the buffalo plaid that ties back to the jacket. What do you think?

[00:04:29.26] Yeah, I think at first I was a little bit apprehensive because it felt very formal. But the second the jacket went on, it was like, oh, OK, this is more my speed, and I could definitely see myself wearing this to a holiday party, for sure.

[00:04:40.63] Absolutely. Well, you look amazing.

[00:04:42.29] Thanks. And I feel great, too.


[00:04:43.90] Tip 6.


[00:04:44.77] One thing that you'll hear from me most often is fit is key, just like this great birdseye-printed sweater on Mason. It fits perfectly around the neck. These seams fit perfectly at the chest. The seams hit right at the wrist, which is perfect.

[00:05:01.50] Now, we have these jeans on because it's a casual holiday party. We've cuffed them once just to kind of give you a little bit of a style flair. You have these great boots with the red laces that ties back to the Henley. But if you wanted to elevate this look, say you wanted to make this a little bit more polished, you could easily change out the jeans with a navy chino and a dark loafer and be ready for any elevated evening party.

[00:05:27.77] Yeah. I can picture it now. It already looks great. And I mean, I love this color, and the whole outfit just fits so well. I love it.

[00:05:35.00] Awesome, awesome. Well, you look great.

[00:05:37.04] Appreciate it.

[00:05:38.16] [MUSIC PLAYING]


[00:05:38.16] Donnel adjusts outfits on Emma and Mason.


[00:05:42.74] Now you have these really great tips for a holiday party, but I got to put these guys to the test. You remember any of the tips?

[00:05:49.16] Be bold. Mix it up with a standout piece. And dress for the occasion.

[00:05:53.61] Yes.

[00:05:54.56] Embrace colors and patterns, monochromatic looks, and fit is key.

[00:05:58.41] Oh! You guys are amazing. Thanks for being the best models today. And you guys are going to look great for your holiday parties, which you better invite me to. Thank you so much, you guys. You're going to look incredible. Take these tips to every holiday party. I'm sure you're going to look amazing.

[00:06:14.81] Share your go-to holiday party outfits in the comments below. For more styling tips, outdoor how-tos, and expert advice, visit llbean.com/explore. And don't forget to like and subscribe so you don't miss our next video.

[00:06:27.80] [MUSIC PLAYING]


[00:06:27.91] Various outfits hang on the wall, such as a Buffalo plaid flannel jacket with dark gray pants.

Holiday parties don’t come around that often, so they’re the perfect opportunity to create an elevated outfit and try something new. Your outfit can help you stand out, tell a story, and – most importantly – make you feel great. Here are six style tips for your next holiday party, courtesy of fashion director Donnell.

Tip 1: Be Bold

Nothing says “holiday spirit” like bright, bold colors! You don’t have to dress in full-body neon to make a statement, though. A bold pop of color can make your outfit stand out, while interesting and more muted details on layers and accessories can tie the whole thing together.

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Tip 2: Embrace Colors & Patterns

If you find a pattern you like, you can build an entire outfit around it – like wearing a plaid jacket over a matching plaid shirt, for example. Not only as a pattern- or color-based outfit cohesive, it means you can also shed a layer on the dance floor without losing that distinctive look.

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Tip 3: Mix Things Up with a Standout Piece

You can create a unique outfit by pulling in a single distinctive piece from another season or collection – like an oversized shirt, or a pair of rugged outdoor boots. Then, add some details in the rest of your outfit that tie to this piece, like similar patterns or colors.

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Tip 4: Try Monochromatic Looks

Maybe you’re most comfortable sticking with a single, more neutral color, like a grey or a brown. You can still make your outfit chic and interesting by playing with textures – for example, mixing a waffle sweater with a flannel shirt and corduroys. The colors may be the same, but the pieces still create a fun interplay with each other.

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Tip 5: Dress for the Occasion

The holidays are the time to mix things up from your normal look! Whether you’re indoors, outdoors, après ski or in a more formal setting, look for textures and patterns that nod to the theme. A single piece that reads a little more formal or a little more casual can transform an entire look.

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Tip 6: Fit is Key

Remember, comfort, confidence and style all come together with a good fit; you have to feel good to look good. Your neck, shoulders, chest cuffs and seams are great places to check and make sure your outfit looks sleek and is fitting well.

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Try out a few different looks, mix up and combine these tips, and you’ll be sure to come up with a memorable outfit you’ll love.

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