The little black dress has some competition this party season.
"The little black dress never goes out of style," says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. "But if you want to get noticed, and really have that festive feeling, you might want to invest in color, such as deep shades of reds and purples and teals. They look beautiful and are flattering against any skin tone. It's fun to not go with the obvious color choice."
Another way to venture beyond the LBD is with a season-less metallic silver or bronze, Andrews says.
Red and cobalt are hot colors, says Connie Marsh, trend director of Dots. Cobalt, in particular, looks exciting and new. Jade is another jewel tone emerging this year, Marsh says.
"You can never go wrong with jewel tones, especially around the holidays," says Tracey Lomrantz, contributing style editor for Glamour magazine. "Citrus hues are also having an unexpected moment for winter. Orange is a brilliant way to stand out in a crowd. We're seeing a lot of cocktail frocks with sleeves this season, especially lace ones. I'd call it the Kate Middleton effect. Leather is also a really great and unexpected option."
When it comes to holiday dressing, Lomrantz says, pile on the glitz with a statement necklace or some sparkly earrings that will frame your face perfectly. Colored or textured hose can escalate the chic factor.
And if you decide to go with black, change it up a bit.
"Black looks newest in lace, sparkle and glitter," Marsh says. "Lace and sequins update the black dress, too, especially in accessories. Update a little black dress by adding a sequin belt, a glitter pump or a lace shrug, or a fascinator as a fresh look for hair accessories."
The sequin dress is a hot option, says Marissa Rubin, senior market editor for People Style Watch, as are bold colors, such as emerald greens and burgundies. Blush tones also are making it into holiday dressing, Rubin says.
"This season, there is not one particular style of dress, so choose the one that is most figure-flattering and what you feel best in," Rubin says.
Marissa Rubinetti, David's Bridal special occasion expert, agrees that women can update their look by donning a beautiful blush color, like light pink or lilac, or, for a bolder look, rich jewel tones, including purple and royal blue.
"This season, sweetheart necklines and one-shoulder stunners inspired by the latest designs on the runway and red carpet are very popular," Rubinetti says. "Ruched silhouettes, three-dimensional flowers, cascading ruffles and crystal embellishments add the perfect touch of style and elegance to any look."
This season's wow factor comes from rhinestone jewelry, flirty handbags and feathered fascinators, Rubinetti says.
Be sexy without being too revealing by following the trend of wearing a short dress with long sleeves, says Kimberly Collins, vice president of simplydresses.com and promgirl.com.
A long gown -- from one that goes to the floor to options such as mid-calf and below-the-knee -- can create a retro feeling, Rubin says.
Length depends on your preference and body type, Andrews says. The most flattering skirt lengths are from right above the knee to right below the knee, he says.
For footwear, a heel is a must, Andrews says, although how high you go is up to you. Make sure you try on the garment with the proper shoes.
If the dress is fairly simple, complement it with a statement necklace or pair of earrings. If it has some embellishment, choose a more understated accessory, Andrews says.
If that doesn't suit you, a lot of women will go with a more subdued dress and then show off a great shoe, so the dress is the canvas and the accessories become the focal point.
"And don't forget about your undergarments, because you need the proper undergarment so you won't be pulling or tugging at the dress all night long," Andrews says. "Don't let it become a battle between you and the dress."
People Style Watch offers these tips for party dress style:
Rock bright heels. Colorful platforms give a chic neutral dress a playful vibe.
Match your bag and shoes. With a solid-color dress, the look is pulled together but totally modern.
Wear bracelets in a fresh way. Pushing bangles halfway up your arms is unexpected with a little black dress.
Pair tights with heels. Black opaques with strappy sandals keep you warm and make a bright dress pop even more.
Work a statement dress. Simple shoes with unfussy hair and makeup let a bold-patterned mini-dress shine.
Try brooches. Pinned at your shoulder, they have a girly, vintage feel.