Holiday Style: Chic Alternatives to the LBD

Photos: Stefan Krempl/WENN, Lia Toby/

Your LBD is your party wardrobe's best friend: reliable, flattering, always there whenever you need it. There's no denying we all need that go-to piece in our lives, but if this holiday season finds you yearning to break free of your safety zone and explore alternatives to the fail-proof little black dress, steal a glance at these stylish alternatives.

Just the right amount of sequins can transform your night-out ensemble from simple to stunning, literally in a flash. Give your LBD a break for the night and slip into a sequined dress that captures the spirit of the season. In a dramatic navy, a ravishing red, or a festive gold, a sequined dress displays your adventurous side. Just opt for a design that skews simple, not extravagant.  Don't combine sequins with froufrou chiffon or over-the-top ruffles, for example, or you risk being known as The Girl Who Tried Way Too Hard.

Black is a key neutral that earned its hall of fame credentials centuries ago. Yet red is now competing for the same title, as well it should – it's just as versatile, infinitely hotter, and even more appropriate for the holiday season. Of course, "red" and "holiday" are synonymous, but you don't want to channel Mrs. Claus. Go for a classy, flattering silhouette that calls attention to your best feature, be it your killer gams or your sculpted arms. Easy on the detailing – remember that the LBD is classic for a reason, so your red alternative should endure just as well.

Don't assume the alternative to your beloved LBD has to be another dress! Mix it up with a refreshed take on night-out style: try a pair of sexy dress pants paired with a dazzling top. Whether your preference is a burnished metallic or a long-sleeved tee dripping with sequins, you can achieve a high-impact, holiday-worthy look that packs just as much punch as a dress. Look to tuxedo pants that flow and flatter, or straight-leg styles that go with anything. Just remember that balance is key. Keep your bottoms matte so your luminous top really shines.

You've heard of winter whites – now it's time to actually wear them. Cue visions of winter wonderlands, snowflakes, and other dreamy holiday accoutrements. The LWD is just as festive, particularly if you go for a style that figures one of the season's best elements into its design. It's those details – a touch of metallic trim, a little lace, a bow embellishment – that will set it apart from a summery white dress. Paired with edgy heels, a show-stopping clutch or another dramatic accessory, you'll look instantly chic.

It's easy to set a new standard for evening style this holiday season. Sample any of these elegant alternatives and you'll soon find that your after-hours wardrobe doesn't have to be all about the LBD!