Party Dressing

Michelle Smith at the Milly Spring 2016 runway show

Holiday parties are the perfect time to break out the glitter and girliness, and Michelle Smith, the founder of the fashion label Milly, is just the lady to show us how to do festive dressing.

Smith started Milly in 2000, after studying in Paris and working in New York’s Garment District. Her designs incorporate sophisticated lines and luxury fabrics but exhibit an easy American sportswear sensibility, accomplished through playful embellishments and fun interpretations of classic shapes.

And if you need evidence that the designer knows how to have a good time, you only have to check out her Instagram account, @millybymichelle.

Milly front row for Spring 2016 show: Malin Akerman, Samira Wiley, Solange Knowles

Malin Akerman, Samira Wiley and Solange Knowles at the Milly Spring 2016 show.

What advice do you have for holiday dressing?

Since your coat is the first thing everyone sees, I like to invest in a statement coat in a gorgeous look-at-me color or with some kind of special detail, whether it’s a fur or a sequin collar. It instantly completes every holiday party look, but it also elevates everything else you wear during the season—even jeans and a sweater on the weekend. This is always the first thing I buy every holiday season; it goes the distance.



Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Meet Leah Watkins, a talented fashion designer and self-described jack of all trades with personality to spare. Not to mention just a lovely human being. We brought her to the quirky Palladian Hotel and spent the day playing around the boutique accommodations. Because, why not? Our only regret was having to leave the one-of-a-kind pillows behind.


Holiday Party Dress Ideas--Sequins

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On dressing for a party: “If I’m going to a cocktail party, I’m going to want to feel beautiful and sexy without showing everything off. I like to show a little hint of skin and let the imagination do the rest. I love hemlines short, but sometimes I just want to evoke the spirit of Stevie Nicks and dance around in a floor-length maxi dress. I tend to gravitate towards black, and I don’t mind a little sparkle here and there.”

On her style: “My personal style is really influenced by motorcycle culture, rock & roll and the ’60s and ’70s. I definitely dress according to my mood, so some days I might wear lots of flowing florals, and some days I’m head to toe in black. I love vintage and try to incorporate at least one special and unique piece with every outfit. Nothing spices up an otherwise simple outfit like a great hat, a printed scarf or a very unique bag. One thing I can’t live without is my leather moto-jacket. It goes with everything!!”



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Party Dresses: Make an Entrance

Eliza J Metallic Tulip Dress

Eliza J Metallic Tulip Dress

Office functions, galas, family gatherings, friendly get-togethers—between now and the new year there are a lot of parties coming. Bring ‘em on. We love a good party; it’s an excellent excuse to buy a new dress. Win, win! If you’re of the same mind, head over to our dress trend guide. It’s full of metallic minis, lacy LBDs and all manner of other beautiful frocks.

Shop: Our Party Dress Guide

Vince Camuto Sequin Scuba Shift Dress
BB Dakota Lace Fit & Flare Dress | Vince Camuto Scuba Shift Dress


It’s almost time to ring in the New Year, but thankfully there’s still time to find the perfect party dress, and we’re talking about that dress to greet 2014 with a stylish bang! And our fabulous frock roundup includes dresses for every budget.




The invites are stacking up, but what to wear to your holiday get-togethers? Whether it’s for your company Christmas party or cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with friends, here are six of our favorite little party dresses and trends that are fit for any fête.



Deck Your Legs for the Holidays

Nothing says holiday like festive stockings adorning a fireplace mantel, right? This year, our window designers at the Nordstrom Seattle flagship store put their own spin on what to do with decorative stockings—why, flaunt them, of course!

From bold patterns to high shine, these stockings were made for glitzing up your legs during this chilly time of year—so make sure they’re seen.

Get this center look and add some shine to your winter style statement.
Pretty Polly Embellished Tights (Nordstrom Exclusive) | Sam Edelman ‘Pryce’ Pump
Joie ‘Tesla’ Lace Dress | Sondra Roberts Sequin Pouch | Ariella Collection Cocktail Ring
Cara Accessories Small Crystal Cuff

Find more fun hosiery options for every cold-weather occasion!

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