Blame it on the season’s overabundance of twinkle lights and tinsel, or perhaps the shiny Times Square Ball, but sparkly dresses have become the unofficial uniform of holiday parties. Every lady and her mother—and her mother’s mother—are hitting the December social circuit in something spangled and, well…they all kind of look the same. It’s a little ironic, actually: sequins and glitter no longer stand out.
To really turn heads at a festive get-together these next couple of weeks, you need to wear something less flashy, that doesn’t rely on someone’s inner magpie for attention. The 21 dresses in the slideshow above do just that, with quietly cool details like open backs, flattering silhouettes and luxurious fabrics. Click through to (figuratively, not literally) shine at every event on your calendar.