3 Can't-Miss Outfit Ideas for Every Kind of New Year's Eve

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I found myself plopped in the center of the dance floor at Tao, champagne in one hand and a slider in the other, two-stepping to “7 Rings.” The event was Andy Cohen’s New Year’s Eve party, and my outfit was perfectly suited for the occasion: my go-to skinny black jeans, a gray tee, heeled suede boots, and a spiffy snow leopard-print jacket. My friend and I, having essentially fasted two days prior in preparation, took every opportunity to indulge and celebrate the promise of 2020.

Cut to a full year later, in the midst of a global pandemic and post-presidential election, and my New Year’s Eve outfit looked radically different. In fact, I think I slept through the whole shebang, not really remembering—or wanting to remember—what I did or didn’t do that whole holiday season. It’s become a blur. Though, I’m pretty sure I was snuggled in gray sweats and a hoodie, because that is all I wore for the better part of 2020. No champagne. No Andy. No Ariana. It was just me, my body pillow, and most likely the soothing sounds of Enya.

This year, however, I plan on doing the absolute most. Now that my booster shot is scheduled for next week, I'll be ringing in the New Year at a party similar to the ones I see in Hollywood films. You know, the ones where martini glasses and champagne flutes are overflowing, the twinkle in the grand crystal chandeliers is mesmerizing, and Artie Shaw tracks are blanketing the room, beckoning all to cut a rug in pairs. Ladies are in sequin gowns, accessorized in heels that are just the right size for dancing. And gents, of course, are in tuxedos, preferably in velvet, complete with cufflinks and dinner slippers. Quite a sight, right? Make sure to watch Topper or Indiscreet to really understand the vibe.

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Here, folks, are three on-point examples of New Year’s outfit ideas. And depending on what you’re feeling this time around—from an equal parts raucous and refined party that only a Bravolebrity could host, to a night in sweats listening to “Orinoco Flow,” to the Grand Poobah of glittering affairs—we have gathered all the styles you need. Check 'em out, and fingers crossed for 2022.

Photo by GETTY.

If you want to make like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Studio 54-style, you're going to want to pick items that are pronounced, comfortable, and easy to move in. You'll be at a club or pub, hopefully bopping on the dance floor with someone like Liza, so there is no need for formalities. Still, you want to dress to impress. And the best way to do this is with a spiffy jacket, preferably in a print, interesting fabric, or combination of both. Just keep the silhouette streamlined. Then add a nice tee, dark pant, a heeled boot (for that clean line), and some bling, and you'll be more than ready to cut a rug.

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Mayfair Print Quilted Zip-Up Cotton Jacket

GOOD MAN BRAND
$298 AT NORDSTROM

A jacket is always a fun flex for New Year's Eve, especially when it's cast in an eye-catching pattern. 

Slub Classic Tee

BUCK MASON
$35 AT BUCK MASON

Since you're not doing the black-tie thing, opt for a black T-shirt instead. This one from Buck Mason will serve you well throughout 2022 and beyond.

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511 Slim Fit Flex Stretch Jeans

LEVI'S
$30 AT AMAZON

And to round out the apparel, black jeans. They're a little sturdier than tux trousers and have more stretch, in case the night takes a turn for the adventurous.

Marcy Link Necklace

THIRD CROWN
$800 AT THEFOLKLORE.COM

It's not a New Year's Eve outfit unless you have some bling.

Wyatt Waxed-Suede Chelsea Boots

SAINT LAURENT
$995 AT MR PORTER

Chelsea boots will rarely do you wrong, but one with a heel will always do you better.

Photo by ARCHIVE PHOTOS / GETTY IMAGES.

No man wore a tuxedo better than Cary Grant. And the secret to rocking this most formal of styles is the fit (visit a tailor to make sure everything is up to snuff) and, perhaps most importantly, the attitude. Carry yourself with distinction, wit, humor, and all that jazz. Basically, carry yourself like Cary, and rest assured you'll be the toast of any glittering bash, shining brightest and sharpest among a bunch of ill-fitting black suits. You'll also need some bling and the right shoes to complete your leading-man look.

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Josh Slim Fit Velvet Tuxedo Jacket

TED BAKER LONDON
$798 AT NORDSTROM

Something a little classier on the docket for the evening? A velvet tuxedo jacket blends sophistication with a winking sense of humor.

White Double-Cuff Cotton Shirt

TURNBULL & ASSER
$335 AT MR PORTER

Keep it crisp, and do your best not to spill too much champagne on it when the ball drops.

Globe Revolve Cufflinks

TATEOSSIAN
$495 AT SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

If you wear velvet tuxedos and cufflinks regularly, you're probably a jet-setter, or aspire to be one. Which means you need a Tateossian pair to drive the point home.

Porter Pleated Wool-Blend Trousers

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ACNE STUDIOS
$350 AT MATCHES FASHION

Black trousers don't have to be boring. This pair is pleated and tapered, giving it a whole lot of personality.

Velvet Crown Loafer

CHURCH'S
$775 AT CHURCH-FOOTWEAR.COM

If there's one night of the year when you can wear embroidered smoking slippers with abandon, this is it.

Photo by GETTY.

It's been a long, non-stop season. From all the deadlines to the meetings to heading back to the office for the first time in years (yes, plural), the sudden change in routine was a mindfuck. This sits on top of Omicron headlines, school shootings, and overturning Roe v. Wade. It’s enough to make you curl up in a ball and hibernate. We don’t blame you. If anything, we totally understand forgoing New Year’s Eve altogether and just staying indoors and getting some R&R. But before you cuddle up under your comforter, you’re gonna need some new sweats, cause the ones you have, after the years we've been through, are surely looking a little worse for wear.

Short-Sleeve Cotton Tee

THEORY
$45 AT SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

A very good white tee keeps things on point.

Trim Fit Full-Zip Hoodie

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REIGNING CHAMP
$124 AT NORDSTROM

Does the idea of venturing out on New Year's fill you with dread? Then don't. Instead, stay in and relax in some very cozy sweats.

Slim Fit Sweatpants

REIGNING CHAMP
$120 AT NORDSTROM

You will, of course, need the pants to complete the look.

Wool Camp Sock

FLINT AND TINDER
$18 AT HUCKBERRY

Don't forget that your feet need some warmth and a little TLC.

Camp-Sole Slipper

GLERUPS
$140 AT HUCKBERRY

And to finish things off, some incredibly comfy slippers, officially endorsed by us.

FromEsquire US

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About The Author
Barry Samaha
Barry Samaha is the style commerce editor at Esquire, where he covers all things fashion and grooming. Previously, he was an editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Surface, and WWD, along with overseeing editorial content at Tod’s Group. He has also written for The Daily Beast, Coveteur, Departures, Paper, Bustle Group, Forbes, and many more. He is based in New York City and can't seem to find enough closet space for all his shoes.
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