Affordable party dresses may be the fashion MVPs of the holiday season. Between work, family, and friends, you may have five or six (or more!) events on your calendar over the next several weeks. And if the invite lists overlap, you definitely don’t want to wear the same dress twice.
The shopping hack to find affordable party dresses
On the other hand, you probably don’t want to spend $1,000 or more on a collection of holiday party dresses that lives up to your style standards. To solve that problem, I have a shopping hack that may surprise you.
And I’ll warn you, this won’t sound like a good idea at first. So, please suspend judgment for a few minutes while I explain.
The shopping hack that can get you through the holiday party season in style without blowing your budget is this: Shop bridesmaids dresses. This is no joke.
The modern era of bridesmaids dresses are actually quite stylish. Even better, they’re cheaper than department store party dresses. Seriously.
Read on to see my picks for pretty, wearable, and affordable party dresses for all ages. You can wear these this party budget picks year and next. Even better, they’re all priced below $105 apiece. And, since they come from bridal shops, they’re available in a huge range of sizes and colors.
10 affordable party dresses to love this year
For the 20-something glam girl
AW Bridal’s Graziosa dress in navy satin will never go out of style. It’s glamourous, but also very simple. You can dress it up with accessories, or let the dress do all the talking.
If it’s cold, add a faux fur wrap over your shoulders. Or, a lightweight, belted trenchcoat in gray can keep you warm while en route to your party destination. Just be prepared for heads to turn when you slip out of that coat.
The asymmetrical straps allow for a slight cowl effect at the neckline. It’s pretty without being over the top.
Dress this number up or down. Wear it this winter and again in the summer. It’s versatile, flattering, and super sexy. The dress also has padding and boning, so it’s not flimsy. What more could you want from a dress that’s priced at $89?
For the 30-something goddess
Hello, New Year’s Eve dress of a lifetime! The AW Canoro Dress in burnished gold is the perfect choice if you want to show off your sexy arms and shoulders.
The velvet has such a beautiful texture and it’s more forgiving than satin. Plus, the mermaid shape shows off your curves in the very best way. That, along with a modest open back, will have you feeling like a goddess all night long.
This dress needs no accessories, other than your favorite lip color.
The Gigi jumpsuit features two long, pleated straps you can use to create your own neckline. Wrap and tuck them for a sleeveless design as shown. Or, experiment with a halter top, one-shoulder design, a flutter-sleeve look, and more. You essentially get nine jumpsuits in one.
Use those straps wisely and you won’t need to accessorize this jumpsuit, beyond shoes and earrings.
For the 40-something life of the party
Over-40 fashionistas, get ready to dazzle in a dress that won’t keep you from having fun. Spaghetti straps and scoop neckline highlight your top half in a soft, feminine way. Add in the flowy, a-line skirt with a high slit and it’s possible the party will come to you.
A dainty pendant necklace and nude, heeled sandals will be lovely complements to this dress.
Join the likes of Katy Perry, Emmy Rossum, Tiffany Haddish, and Anne Hathaway — fashion icons who love the formality of a one-shoulder, floor-length gown. A body-hugging shape, accented by a high slit and pretty pleating at the shoulder flatters in the very best way.
Plus, this dress is made of a stretchy crepe. That means you can have your fun on the dance floor without risking a popped seam or oxygen deprivation.
For the 50-something diva
Three-quarter length bell sleeves, belted waist, and deep v-neck combined are the statement-makers in this elegant jumpsuit. Wear your best bra and show off the girls, just because you can. Other than the neckline, this jumpsuit is modest and drapes beautifully. That makes it a nice choice when you don’t feel like participating in the how-much-skin-can-I-show contest that sometimes happens at holiday parties.
The embossed floral pattern on this gorgeous navy dress sets it apart from other bridal options. Draped, three-quarter length sleeves and a high-low hem add interest, while the fitted waist with sash and bold neckline show off your curves.
Expect to float around the party circuit like the diva you are in this elegant dress.
For the 60-something knockout
You don’t have to reveal anything to be a knockout in this dress. The tie-front design, paired with flared sleeves, body-hugging skirt, and scalloped hem combined have a flirty vibe that’s sure to have you feeling daring and confident.
Wear the burgundy AW Elspeth Dress with your best earrings, a flashy bracelet, and strappy shoes in gun metal gray.
The ruffle sleeves and neckline delicately camouflage shoulders and draw the eye up. The tie at the waist and fuller skirt deliver the right amount of shape. And the chiffon construction has a floaty femininity that’s hard to beat.
Wear your best pendant and subtle drop earrings with this dress. A sandal with a kitten heel can anchor your pretty party look.
Party on ladies
See? You can find affordable party dresses in your favorite bridal section, for around $100 apiece. That sure beats spending two or three times that on a label at Nordstrom.