18 Head-Turning Party Dresses to Wow in This New Year's Eve...and Beyond

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Where we spent 2021 in sweats, this year, we're ready to paint the town red—at least in the fashion department. Whether you’re headed to a small-yet-festive gathering with your nearest and dearest or prepping for a quiet New Year's on the couch with your hubby, you can still look—and feel!—your absolute best with a sparkly-chic party dress.

From holly-hued velvet frocks to New Years-inspired minis, we’ve got the scoop on 18 of the best party dresses money can buy, based on their ratings, price, quality and size inclusivity.

What to Look For in a Party Dress

  • Color: First thing's first: Are you seeking a classic holiday hue, like red or green, something metallic or none of the above? The answer can help you find your perfect match, as many stores will allow you to sort dress results by color.
  • Fabric: Party-ready materials, such as sparkly sequins, lush velvets or slinky silks, can instantly elevate any look, so entering these fabrics into the search terms can be an easy jumping off point when you're looking for a cocktail dress.
  • Style: Consider the vibe that you're going for when looking for your party dress. Is it sexy? Cool? Comfy? Asking yourself this simple question can make all the difference between whether you wind up with a ‘20s-inspired shift dress or a cozy sweater dress. You'll also want to keep in mind that the prettiest piece in the world won't be flattering if you feel uncomfortable in it. Since everyone has a different shape, the best dress for you will take your frame into account and emphasize your best assets.
  • Sizing: Speaking of feeling comfortable in what you wear, it's important to make sure you get the right size. We've included size ranges on all of these pieces, and we highly recommend checking out each store's measurement guides before ordering, as pieces can vary greatly from store to store—or even item to item.

Where to Buy Party Dresses

Now that you've got a good idea of what you're looking for, it's time to begin the search! Some of our favorite spots to shop for party dresses are those with wide varieties and speedy shipping, including Amazon, Nordstrom, Verishop, Anthropologie, J.Crew and Lulus (just to name a few). For more ideas, check out our curated list of standout styles below.

The Best Party Dresses at a Glance

RELATED The 20 Best Velvet Dresses for All Your Holiday Bashes

party dresses ray dress

1. Sabina Musayev Ray Dress

Best Fancy Dress

As the priciest party dress on our list, this stunning creation is also arguably the most ornate, with a plunging V-neckline, bow-shaped shoulder accents, cut-out back detailing and delicate metallic threading that looks a bit like fancy tinsel from afar. In short? It's the cream of the crop for those seeking a show-stopping look that's worthy of a night to remember.

Available in sizes XS to XL

dresses tiffany

2. Dress The Population Tiffany Dress

Best One-Shoulder Dress

For a stylish piece that will stay in your wardrobe for years, try a classic one-shoulder shape, like the one seen in this Dress the Population frock. This sophisticated element, along with the slight slit in the back, lends intrigue to this otherwise typical LBD. You can snag it in five colors, including black, blue, burgundy, off-white and hibiscus pink.

Available in XXS to XXL

dresses maner

3. Maner Glitter Dress

Best Spaghetti-Strap Dress

Full of glitz, glamour and all that jazz, this dress will be aces for cutting a rug. Its ombré color combos range from a striking ruby red to a classic golden champagne that will stun under the spotlight—er, Christmas tree lights—especially if you pair it with shiny jewelry and heels.

Available in sizes S to XXL

dresses romwe

4. Romwe Plus-size Satin Dress

Best Cowl-Neck Dress

Up for grabs in nearly 10 colors, this slinky satin mini will hug your curves in all the right places. It boasts a fabulous cowl neckline for a bit of added intrigue, and customers say it's surprisingly comfortable—a huge bonus on a night that calls for heels.

Available in sizes XL to XXXXL

dresses shein

5. Shein Plus Size Bodycon Pencil Dress

Best Puff-Sleeve Dress

This elegant number is anything but plain. With stylish sheer sleeves that are embellished with pearl detailing, it's got all the right ingredients to let you stand out in a crowd. It also hits right above the knee for those looking for a less showy style—just note that the sleeve fabric is delicate, so you'll want to take care when handling it.

Available in sizes Large Plus to XXXL Plus

party dresses makemechic

6. Makemechic One-shoulder Cocktail Dress

Best Ruffle Dress

When you really want to wow 'em, there's this ruffle dress with a single shoulder strap. Coming in a thick-yet-stretchy material, it will be comfortable to wear while still looking effortlessly chic. You can also machine wash it in a pinch, though hand-washing its recommended.

Available in sizes XS to XL

dresses dgmyg

7. Dgmyg Bodycon Mini Dress

Best V-Neck Dress

This mini dress offers a unique take on your run-of-the-mill sequins thanks to the delicate, string-like placement of its concave embellishments, which hang down from the sleeves for a fringe-like effect. We also like the V-neckline which will lends a bit of sex appeal to the otherwise modest look.

Available in sizes S to XL

party dresses amazon

8. Jasambac Cocktail Dress

Best Off-the-Shoulder Dress

Show a little shoulder with this A-line dress in a festive royal blue velvet. (Or purple. Or dark green. Or just about any other color you can think of.) This high-low hem keep the skirt length modest without completely covering you up, and the neckline is convertible, with straps that can be pulled up if your clavicle gets chilly.

Available in sizes XS to XXL

party dresses l vow

9. L'vow Puff-sleeve Dress

Best Mini Dress With Sleeves

Those looking for a more daring option can end the search: This dress with fun mesh bell sleeves and a low-cut sweetheart neckline will be the perfect buy. It's got a bit of stretch, so you won't be stuffed in too tight to breathe, but the bodycon fit will still show off your form.

Available in sizes S to XXXL

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10. Jenny Yoo Ellis Dress

Best Velvet Dress

For an especially luxe look, you can snag this maxi dress from Anthropologie for just under $300. Made from winter-ready velvet in a super rich, dark berry shade, this longer silhouette features bra-friendly bust cups and a largely open back.

Available in sizes 0 to 19

dresses mimi

11. Dress The Population Mimi Dress

Best Fit-and-Flare Dress

Hourglass shapes will adore this midi-length dress, which has a fit-and-flare skirt that's seemingly tailor-made for wider hips. The sweetheart neckline, meanwhile, is flirty and fun—particularly in this striking emerald hue that looks far pricier than its under $300 price tag.

Available in sizes XXS to XXL

party dresses adore

12. Nookie Adore 2way Dress

Best Bow Dress

Got a flair for the dramatic? So does this jaw-dropping ruched dress. Made in Australia from a nylon and spandex blend, it features a slim-fitting boned bodice that leaves the theatrics to the oversized bow-topped train at the back. When you need to take things down a notch, just leave the train at home—it detaches for a two-in-one look.

Available in sizes XS to XL

dresses lena

13. Dress The Population Lena Dress

Best Sleeveless Dress

Heading to a particularly fancy soiree this holiday season? We’ve got you covered with the Lena Dress. While the silhouette is on the simpler side, it’s a seriously elegant gown that features both a pretty V-neckline and a curved V-back. Its threads of shimmer also lend just the right touch of glam without taking it over the top.

Available in sizes XS to XL

dresses dana

14. Leota Dana Dress

Best Casual Dress

Those in search of a more dressed-down getup would do well to seek out this Leota Dana dress. Made of an easy-care, wrinkle-free jersey, it's got a draped, flowy fit that will allow you to move about with ease. The neutral zig-zag pattern is one that will work well beyond the holiday season, but the forest green hue also make it perfectly appropriate for a seasonal fête. Top it off with sleek leather boots or patterned tights for an easy, put-together ensemble.

Available in sizes XS to XXL

party dresses grace karin

15. Grace Karin V-neck Mini Dress

Best Cheap Dress

The devil's in the details when it comes to this glitzy frock that will have you look like a million bucks for under $50. From the sheer panel of the deep V-neckline to the eye-catching tulip hem, it's smartly designed so as to flatter shapes ranging from a ruler to a pear. It comes in a ton of colors (12, to be exact!), and you can even select from two different types of fabric.

Available in sizes S to XXL

party dresses shein

16. Shein Plunging Cape Dress

Best Cape Dress

Make a serious entrance with this this statement-making cape gown. Between the deep V-neck, the elongated sleeves and the leg-baring length, this dress will make a lasting impression on anyone who sees it—even if it's just your Instagram followers.

Available in sizes XS to XL

party dresses lulus aeila

17. Lulus Ailey Dress

Best Plunging Neck Dress

The sweet fit-and-flare skirt of this skater dress is tempered by its ultra-sexy deep plunging neckline and knotted racerback. It's on the shorter side (something to bear in mind if you're über-tall), but it will be just right for hitting the dance floor thanks to its twirl-ready shape—even if it's a makeshift one in your kitchen!

Available in sizes XS to XXL

dresses norma 2

18. Norma Kamali Shirt Dress

Best Shirt Dress

Tunic shapes, like that of this Norma Kamli shirt dress, are arguably among the best silhouettes to reach for when celebrating the holidays—you can eat, drink and be merry without having to worry about loosening up any pesky buttons. Better yet, there's a front-and-center bow to conceal any problem areas.

Available in sizes XXS to XL

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Freelance Writer

Melissa has been writing, editing, and producing product roundups and brand reviews for the past four years. She graduated with a degree in journalism from SUNY Oswego in 2019 and...

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Freelance Writer

Jackie Manno is an avid shopper, and is always staying up to date on the latest products, especially in beauty and fashion, to help empower readers, make them feel beautiful and...