My Holiday Party Dress Search: A Mission That Failed

Here’s what I wore to my friend’s holiday party last weekend: a black velvet Betsey Johnson jumpsuit from 1998 that I stole from my mom, a black wrap coat I found at Zara that I can’t wear without everyone asking me whether I’m wearing a robe, Gwen Stefani-circa-1992 buns, and black lipstick.

It was a Goth-themed holiday party, in case you can’t tell; which was wonderful for lots of reasons, one of which was that I didn’t have to go shopping for a holiday party dress – because of all the looks in the world, Goth is one I have a decent amount of familiarity with thanks to about three years in the ’90s when I thought Fairuza Balk’s character in The Craft was pretty much as cool as it gets.

So I didn’t need a holiday dress for that party. But I have a few events coming up in the next couple of weeks, including a little cocktail party I’m hosting for stella and dot at my place, and I’d like to look festive-ish. Perhaps some sparkles. Red? Maybe a fancy neckline? …Heels? (Probably a no on that last one, but you never know.)

So I convinced my father to take my children to see a movie, and my mother and I made our way across town in the snow (snow!!!) to Zara, where I tried on preeeeetty much everything in the store, and then asked you guys whether any of them worked.

zara holiday cocktail dresses 2017

This was actually better in person that it appears in the photo. I came close to getting this, but 88% of you said “No,” so I figured I should probably go with the popular opinion.

zara holiday cocktail dresses 2017

This deep olive-green wrap dress was super comfortable, and I loved the fabric, but I wasn’t crazy about the neckline or the length of the sleeves; they made it feel a little more conservative than what I wanted. (I like how it’s styled on the Zara website – paired with matching wide-leg pants – better.)

zara holiday cocktail dresses 2017

I was so opposed to this one that I didn’t even open it up to a poll…and then got a gazillion “no but this one is great!” messages.

I have to say: I think it might look better in the photo than it did IRL. Between the super low-cut front (which I adjusted to make this photo PG-13, because omggggg there was serious danger of exposure) and the fact that it was technically a romper (those are shorts), it felt wayyyyyyy too young for me. Which is a kinda depressing thing to say, but the other day I went for an eye exam and the ophthalmologist advised me to get a retinal scan because I’m “approaching the Big 4-0,” so…Jesus.

zara holiday cocktail dresses 2017

Speaking of low-cut…this dress was just a huge, massive hell no. All the tape in the world wouldn’t have even come close to being able to contain my boobs. (It would work on a very tall, thin woman with no breasts or hips, but so would all dresses that have ever been made, so that’s not a huge revelation.)

So what am I doing for Friday’s party? My feeling is dressing like your actual self (as opposed to your “holiday party self”) is always a good idea, so I’m thinking maybe the striped leggings I did end up buying plus a fancy top from Rent the Runway (or…let’s get real…probably an oversized grey sweatshirt that I put on at the last minute when I decide that the fancy top makes me miserable).

And if not, any of the below dresses that I found during last night’s omg-I-have-nothing-to-wear-let-me-Google-it session would be A-OK.

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