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Ask Belle: Cocktail Dress Alternatives

Dear Belle,

I have three post-Christmas parties to attend.  It’s weird.  It’s not a New Year’s party, it’s not a Christmas party.  I get the feeling the dress code for all three is somewhere between cocktail and business, but the last thing I want is to buy another damn cocktail dress.  What can I wear instead?  

If you told me I could go naked, I probably would at this point.  Save me.  Steph

Oh, honey, I know the feeling.  I once had six weddings in the same summer, with the same friend group.  By August, a few of us were swapping dresses because the thought of purchasing one more occasion dress was about as appealing as Pap-smear.  But never fear, I have an idea…

What about a really fun skirt?  Like sparkly or swingy or flirty.  The kind of piece that you could wear with a message tee or a silk camisole or simple sweater and still rock it out.  Here are some suggestions.


Shoptiques Tulle Skirt ($59)

There are few occasions in life when a tulle skirt is appropriate, so why not take advantage of the one before you?  This skirt has a wide waistband, a fun shape, and a good price.  I also like this midi-length skirt from Bailey 44 (also in white).  This JOA skirt has a full shape, no pleats, and a cool striped detail that looks like there are ribbons running through the skirt.


Endless Rose Sequin Mini-skirt ($39)

I love this sequin mini-skirt so much that it has me asking questions like, “Am I too old for a mini-skirt?” and “What party can I wear this to?”  I just love the mix of metallic hues and the stripes.  Piperlime also has a similar version in black that runs in sizes up to XL.

Want something with sparkle, but a bit on the longer side?  This BCBG sequin-panel skirt is phenom.  Need something under-$50?  Wallis has you covered (just don’t wear it with those shoes).


DvF Scotia Lace Pencil Skirt ($97)

Lace is another great option for semi-formal parties or fancy dinners.  This skirt from DvF also comes in black.  I also like this full skirt in a creamy ivory lace.  I’d also consider this Topshop skirt with a lace overlay.  It gives you the length of a pencil skirt with the sultriness of a mini.



  1. Mo says:

    Thanks, Belle! I have the sequin miniskirt but hadn’t thought of pulling it out as holiday attire with tights and heels or boots.

    December 18, 2014/Reply
  2. Jssatx says:

    I thought this was a perfect solution! Damn Belle, you’re good! Wishing now I had somewhere to wear that BCBG number…

    December 19, 2014/Reply