23 Party Dresses You’ll Definitely Want To Buy For Christmas (And Beyond) From £19.99

Don't scroll through thousands of frocks – we've done that for you.

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by Hannah Banks-Walker |

Debbie from accounts is crying in the loos, the sausage rolls have gone stale and your line manager’s on her seventh jaegerbomb. Yes, it’s the Christmas party - the night that everybody pretends to forget for the next 364 days of the year. Aside from dodging over-amorous colleagues and avoiding group karaoke, one of the major conundrums is often what to actually wear to one of these momentous occasions. Especially as, after the past 18 months, we're all a bit out of practise.

To dress down is to sometimes appear in jeans at the pub, only to find yourself in a sea of JLos at the 1997 Grammy Awards. Pile on the sequins and there’s the strong possibility that you end up feeling like Shirley Bassey at a Radiohead concert: ridiculous, out of place and generally confused. So, how to avoid such a sartorial nightmare?

party dresses 2021

In short, just pick a dress. They're a ready-made outfit which can be, ahem, dressed up or down according to the situation. This means you'll avoid both of the aforementioned awkward situations entirely.

To save you scrolling through thousands of dresses, I have selflessly undertaken such a tedious task on your behalf. I know, I'm practically a Christmas miracle. I am also a chronic over-dresser and I will not apologise for the fact, which is why I'll be making a beeline for 16Arlington's feather-trimmed pieces, Meadows' embroidered velvet midi and Sister Jane's dramatic dresses (any of them).

If, however, the mere thought of tulle leaves you feeling vaguely nauseous, despair not, for there are plenty of low-key options this year, largely thanks to the fact that fashion is (still) obsessed with the '90s. COS' slip dress, perhaps, over black trousers (I may or may not have worn my own pre-pubescent iteration of this to a millennium party) or Ganni's seersucker midi over boots. You could even just wear your pyjamas.

Of course, you've probably seen discussion around fashion's new preoccupation with 'sexy' dresses (again). From Nensi Dojaka's barely-there minis to Christopher Esber's cut-outs, skin is most definitely in. (NUÉ's Spiral dress is our latest obsession.) If, however, you're still very happy in your high necklines and low hemlines, fear not – The Vampire's Wife and Batsheva are still going strong, offering irresistible party dresses you'll wear forever.

And therein lies the key – whatever you choose, make sure it's something you know you'll wear to plenty of events for years to come. Not just for sustainability's sake but for maximum return on your investment, too.

So, whether you're looking for a black dress, mini dress, puff sleeve dress, sequin dress or wrap dress, I have personally selected 21 of the very best which you'll want to wear long past Christmas, when the tinsel is drooping and you're panic buying the latest fitness DVD from a Love Island reject (don't do that).

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SHOP: The Best Party Dresses For Christmas (And Beyond)

NUu00c9, Spiral Dress, £825
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NUÉ's very distinctive Spiral Dress, avec rhinestone bra, just one of example of the brand's 'sparkling day-to-night jewellery clothing'. Loved by fashion's inner circle - including Tiffany Hsu, Leonie Hanne and Camila Coelho - it's the ultimate take on the LBD.

Usisi Sister, Jana Velvet Dress, £545
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Designed in London - and produced in female-led fair trade factories around the world, using sustainably-sourced fabrics - Usisi Sister makes the kind of grown-up dresses (and gorgeous handbags) that will last much longer than Christmas.

H&M, Rhinestone Strap Dress, £19.99
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The clever thing about this dress is that on its own, it will dominate the dancefloor but, if worn under a chunky knit or slouchy jacket, it's just a great black dress that will work anywhere and everywhere.

Reformation, Velvet Mini Dress, £248
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Embrace the return of the mini with Reformation's velvet dress, complete with pretty tie straps. Available in four different colours, you can't go wrong with festive red.

Sister Jane, Midi Dress, £95
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Puff sleeves, oversized collar and the prettiest satin-feel fabric, this dress has it all without, somehow, being too much.

COS, Midi Slip Dress, £79
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Layer over trousers for peak '90s vibes or wear with tights under an oversized blazer.

Max Mara, Satin Slip Dress, £150 at MyTheresa
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Simple, timeless and something you can wear on its own with heels now and then over T-shirts or every white shirts for a more daytime-appropriate outfit.

Meadows, Embroidered Velvet Dress, £195
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You'll be desperately trying to find reasons to go out, just so you can wear this embroidered midi.

16Arlington, Feather-Trimmed Midi Dress, £895 at Matchesfashion
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16Arlington's feather-trimmed pieces are practically a party in themselves. Wear this delicious midi with your favourite heels and dance the night away.

Ganni, Seersucker Midi Dress, £212 at Net-a-Porter
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Try this with glitzy accessories by night and layered under chunky knits with knee-high boots by day.

3am Eternal, Strapless Taffeta Dress, £360 at Selfridges
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This dress will make you the best-dresses guest at any birthday party, wedding, christening or, obviously, a Christmas bash.

The Attico, Embellished Mini Dress, £1,517
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The Attico is the brand to go for if you really want to pull out all the stops. This dress is a prime example – keep accessories simple and to a minimum.

Rotate Birger Christensen, Long Sleeved Midi Dress, £195
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Long-sleeved party dresses can be hard to come by, and this one's a real winner. It can be dressed up or down, making it truly versatile.

Needle & Thread, Embroidered Midi Dress, £250
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For a fresh take on the classic LBD, try this romantic dress with its embellished bodice and tulle skirt.

Maje, Sequin Mini Dress, £279 at Harrods
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Sequins and cut-outs oh my! Maje's mini looks as great with cowboy boots as it does pointed flats.

Batsheva, Ruffled Prairie Dress, £375 at Browns
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Bring the prairie to the party in this ruffled frock from Batsheva. You'll wear it with everything from trainers (weekend outfit) to party platforms.

Uterque, Fringed Kimono, £305
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Not only can this be worn as the most fabulous dress, it can also be thrown over the top of something more simple for a real flourish.

Rasario, Puff Sleeve Dress, From £23
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The most cost-effective and sustainable way to get your party dress this season? Rent it. Luckily, My Wardrobe HQ has teamed up with Harrods to provide the perfect party edit, including gems like this Rasario number.

& Other Stories, Strappy Sequin Midi Dress, £135
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This looks far more expensive than it actually is and will look super chic layered over a black roll neck, too.

De La Vali, Satin Mini Dress, £178 at The Outnet
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De La Vali is a brand practically synonymous with partywear and this mini will quickly become your go-to piece for any night out.

Paolita, Wrap Dress, £390
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Wear this with a statement pair of earrings and strappy heels for a no-fuss party look. Layer a polo neck underneath, swap those heels for boots and you've got a perfect daytime outfit, too.

Rixo, Black Dress with Feathers, £305
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What's not to love about this dress? It's simple but super-glam and will suit all shapes and sizes.

M&S x Ghost, Satin Midi Dress, £79
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This is the ultimate day-to-night dress – all you need to do is switch up your accessories and you're good to go.

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