5 Things Not to Buy for Holiday Parties (and What to Buy Instead)

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Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

We’ve all been there… There’s a party coming up that you want to look really good for, but you waited till the last minute to shop for an outfit. So you either order everything that could possibly work via overnight shipping, or you head to the nearest Zara or department store to scoop up something you’ll likely never wear again. (It's not the best feeling, as I know from experience.)

So what have I learned from my mistakes? There are certain things, as tempting as they may be at the moment, to simply avoid buying when shopping for holiday party outfits. From the wrong kinds of bags, to the not-so-useful dress choice, to read about all five, and of course shop what to buy instead, just keep scrolling.

One-Off Party Dresses

You know, those flashy, statement-making dresses that might not even fit that well but look really good on Instagram? Odds are you’ll never wear them again. Instead, look for versatile dresses you can get multiple uses (and hopefully years) out of.

Uncomfortable Shoes

Step away from the painful but pretty heels. I know, you’re one perfectly matching shoe away from feeling party-ready, but is it worth throwing hundreds of dollars away? Since comfort is relative, seek to build an arsenal of versatile comfortable-to-you shoes throughout the year.

Impractical Bags

What makes a bag impractical? How about a clutch so small it doesn’t even fit your cell phone? Another example would be buying a super-specific color that matches one outfit but pretty much nothing else. Instead, opt for functional nighttime bags in neutrals, metallics, or colors that would blend in with the rest of your wardrobe.

Unnecessary Outerwear

This is also one I’m definitely guilty of: buying a fun-feeling coat or jacket just to go with my nighttime outfit, even though I’m pretty much just wearing it to the car, in the car, and out of the car before giving it coatcheck (never to be seen by my fellow partygoers). Instead, buy outerwear you can wear day and night. I promise you, your black overcoat is just fine for getting to the door. 

Expensive Trend Jewelry

Listen, I’m all for a trendy jewelry find—right now, for me, it’s crystal earrings, chunky gold necklaces, and anything with hearts—but if you’re buying something for a party and you know it’s just a fad, don’t break the bank on it. Save your money for investment pieces, and try to stick to under $100 when it comes to the trends.