What to wear to New Year’s Eve party: start the new year in style

End 2018 the right way – wearing these incredible outfits

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It’s almost that time of year again. As we enter the holiday season, there’s a lot of styling decisions to make for various end-of-year functions, events and parties. 

That means you get to have fun with your style, particularly for the upcoming celebrations for New Year’s Eve.

But where exactly should you start? It usually depends on the context of the party you’re invited to and perhaps even who will be there. 

You might need to work with a dress code, consider the crowd you’re partying with – or maybe none of that matters as you’d prefer to take a surprising direction. 

Whatever the case, let’s take a look at what to wear to the New Year’s party.

Black tie

So you’ve been invited to a swish New Year’s Eve party with a black tie dress code. While that might sound like a lot of effort if you rarely have to dress for these events, the rules are pretty uniform and so that narrows down the options considerably. It often comes down to the details, which give you a chance to add your own flair to the outfit.

The basics – you’ll need a dinner jacket, bow tie and cufflinks. Ideally you could get a point collared dress shirt, as these look more modern than a wing collar, but that’ll come down to personal taste. A waistcoat is optional and many guys do dress for black tie events without one. Also remember to match any metals you’re wearing, so watches, buttons and cufflinks should all work together whether silver, gold or another colour. 

The clubbing look

If you’re planning to brave it and go clubbing this New Year’s, I salute you. It is certain to be manic, which is also a good reason to go. What you decide to wear ultimately depends on where you’re going and the kind of crowd that’s expected. Is it a pre-sale event with table service and a headline act, or rather a bunker techno rave with minimal lighting and oxygen?

You can keep it simple and go for a basic outfit for all scenarios. So a tee with optional shirt over the top, black slim-fit jeans plus black or brown boots. You’ll want to wear a jacket rather than a jumper, but either can be checked in at the cloakroom once you’re inside. Important things to remember are to wear shoes that are relatively comfortable for potentially long hours on your feet and also that a drink or two might splash, so best to leave your prized pieces out for this one.

Dinner party style

The great thing about going to a dinner party for New Year’s is that the dress code could vary between formal and casual. That also means you could be preparing to wear wildly different outfits, so you might want to check that first. If guests haven’t been provided with a dress code and you’re completely unsure how formal it is, it might be worth asking the hosts.

For some dinner parties you’ll need to wear a tuxedo, but this should be pretty clear on the invitation. Check out the black tie section above for that. If it’s at a friend’s apartment, then chances are jeans and a T-shirt will cut it just fine. But it’s also just as likely to be somewhere in the middle, so a smart casual outfit consisting of collared shirt, blazer, black jeans, along with dress shoes or sneakers, should do the trick.

House party

You’ll probably want to leave your best clothing out for this one. Styling yourself for a house party might be more about playfulness than following rules – you can just make your own. While you’ll want to keep it casual, it’s a good opportunity to show your sartorial flair through thoughtful colour matching or selecting a statement piece. Casual doesn’t have to mean less effort, after all.

You can base your outfit around basic items like a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, with a jacket or cardigan over the top. You could also layer instead with a chambray or flannel shirt over the tee. A simple approach would be to begin with neutrals and then add one bold colour over the top, or perhaps a pair of box-fresh white sneakers could round out the outfit if the weather isn’t forecast to be slushy.

Pub party

You can safely bet on casual for a New Year’s pub party. While the range you could go for might be smart enough to include an Oxford shirt and dress shoes, you could match these with jeans for balance. After all, you wouldn’t want to dress too smart when there’s really no need. Notwithstanding that, you might prefer to keep it super relaxed.

So you could match a white T-shirt with a chambray and dark jeans, or even go all black with a bomber jacket over the top to stay low key. While you can have fun with your colour coordination, there’s probably not much need to get complex with it, particularly if the venue is relatively dark indoors. 

Party at home

Whether this one is with family or friends, staying in for New Year’s celebrations can still be a style-focused event. After all, this day does only happen once a year. In comparison to attending fancy dinners or sticking to black tie conventions, the rules are completely open. What’s also great is that a party with your closest can also involve cosy items that you’d normally rug up in at this time of year.

A T-shirt and jeans combo is a good call if you want to be comfortable without the fuss. Where you might want to have some fun can come with a couple of knitted items. Why not opt for a quality Fair Isle jumper paired with some woollen socks? You could even pimp out this look with some cosy matching slippers. There’s hardly a nicer way to bring in the New Year.

Doing your own thing

So what if you’ve looked at all the choices and decided that you don’t care? It’s the end of the year, you’re off work and it’s time to let loose. Deciding how not to put in effort does sound counterintuitive, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw on just anything. It can simply mean that you prefer to flout convention and do your own thing.

You might prefer to ditch the tie for a formal event. Or you might wear a bright shade of red or green when you know this will stand out at the party you’re invited to. Again, it’s less about not caring and more about doing style your own way. That’s reason enough to celebrate.