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With less travel and fewer company parties, the holidays will be pretty low-key for many of us this year. (But if you still plan to wear a tartan Christmas gown for your Skype Christmas—more power to you!) While we may have fewer opportunities to dress up in our usual cocktail dresses, we can still dress with comfortable, festive elegance for cozier activities. Consider these alternatives for counting your blessings this 2020 Christmas.

Easy sweater dresses

(Mary Orton in a casual fleece dress.)

Easy dresses such as shifts, swing dresses, shirt dresses, and sweater dresses are a great way to stay comfortable and stylish. They usually don’t have a defined waist—a plus for large holiday meals—and they can come in a variety of thicker fabrics for warmth. You can wear them casually with sneakers, or dress them up a bit with flats and holiday-themed jewelry. For more warmth, add tights or fleece leggings.

(Winter whites with a sweater dress.)


Even before the weather turned, this has been the year of the cardigan. People have been wearing them as blouses on their own, buttoned most of the way up, with high-waisted jeans. This youthful take on a classic piece can easily translate into winter with a heavier fabric, boots, and a jacket.

(Mary Orton paired her cardigan with leather pants and a duster.)

Paper-bag pants

Paper-bag waist pants are another fun, comfortable item for family parties because these pants look like nice trousers but are as free-flowing as pajamas! Because they are more voluminous, you will want to pair them with a more fitted sweater or blouse that won’t billow over the waistline too much. Wear a fitted sweater for warmth; add some fun with a patterned top, or try a classic button-down to contrast with the high-waisted femininity of the pants. Paper-bag waist pants look good with boots, heels, or sneakers.


(Kamrin of @NaturallyKam created a monochrome look, pairing her leather joggers with a matching sweater and head scarf.)

The keys to fancying up sweatpants—currently rebranded as “joggers”—are to stick to neutrals and soft colors, style them in monochromatic looks, and search out interesting details.

Unless they come in leather or velvet (see below), black and navy joggers usually read more as workout gear. Choosing neutral browns, beiges, whites, cremes, and blushes create a slightly more luxe look. You can then pair the joggers with a sweater or casual shirt in the same color or a similar tone. Wearing a monochromatic look elongates you and makes the joggers look more intentional. Add sneakers, simple jewelry, and a denim or leather jacket.

You can also find joggers in fun fabrics, such as leather and velvet, which further elevates the look. Wear these with a contrasting top in animal print, like Kamrin does here, or with stripes or plaid.

(Here, Kamrin paired black leather pants with an animal-print top.)

Simple, festive jewelry

Pull out the heirloom jewelry this year to remember loved ones who are far away or who have passed on. Wear your grandma’s brooch on your matching jogger set, or push up the sleeves of your cropped cardigan to show off your mom’s bracelet.

If you don’t have family jewelry, pair simple pieces like pearl earrings, small charms, or snake chains with your joggers or pajamas. Keep a look out for delicate versions of themed jewelry, such as snowflakes, snowmen, and Christmas trees.

Elegant pajamas

Plaid flannel pajamas are, of course, a classic theme for Christmas. Maybe try a simpler color scheme in red, blue, or green, so that you feel comfortable wearing them well past Epiphany and into winter.

You can also opt for classic cotton, silk, or satin pajamas in a solid color with trim, which may look less Christmas-y but will make you feel like an glam starlet from the 1930s.

However you are celebrating this year, you can totally stay snug, seasonal, and stylish at home.