Tis the season for holiday celebrations.

Although times are tight, many companies are forging ahead with their annual Christmas party plans, and even if you don’t have a work-related function to attend, there’s no end of social events taking place this season.

Between Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve, you’ll probably need to get all dressed up for something. If you’re a true bella on a budget, like me — you’ll be getting your glitziest dress out of the back of the closet, accessorizing and putting on fabulous makeup to the nines, and making what’s old look new again.

But if what’s old can’t look new again, you just might be in the market for a new holiday dress. Full figured bellas, I got your back — there are some surprisingly great deals this year on chic party dresses!

Come with me to Ashley Stewart. Like the Sam Sparro song that I love, their latest lineup is all about black and gold, black and gold, black and gold. Starting with the Little Gold Dress that you see up above. It stars on their apparel page, but why is it not available online anymore? I don’t know. Check your local Ashley Stewart to see if it’s still available in stores — that dress is super cute and was definitely less than $60 in the fleeting window in which it was featured on their website.

Online shoppers need not despair — black and gold garments abound on AshleyStewart.com. The black halter dress is fire, and I think the silver crochet trapeze dress is super fly at $59. Bellas who prefer two-piece glamor should peep the golden shimmer skirt — it’s $34, and tres chic.

Most often when I visit a Lane Bryant, I just want to find their garment designers and shake them until their teeth rattle. Some of their tops look like they could have come from the Dorothy Zbornak couture collection. I am so sick of garish prints, appliques, and tent-like tops!

But I was VERY pleasantly surprised by their selection of holiday dresses, which steered away from the frumpy and shapeless to the swingy and youthful. Lo, this adorable tiered ruffly black dress — $69.50, and cute enough to wear again and again.

The entrance-making earth mother in me is keenly attracted to this
dramatic printed halter maxi dress, but it’s $89.50, and to be honest, I’ve become so picky about buying clothes it’s not even funny. I prefer to go shopping alone, because I can try every last thing on and really ask myself if I need it in my life. This dress looks striking to me now, but it just might be the kind of thing I look back on in a year and wonder what kind of crack I was smoking when I bought it in the first place.

My B & Lu shopping experience made me a believer — trendy plus size clothes for an affordable price? GET OUT! And now dresses and skirts are 30% off till December 14! Sweet! I love, love, LOVE the midnight calisto dress — that vibrant yet sexy kimono dress will get you noticed anywhere. In a good way! And it’s a mere $64.

The off the shoulder Indra sweater dress is adorable for a winter fiesta — it’s the kind of color and shape that’s just begging for beautiful accessories. $52, and it’s the kind of dress you can bust out of the closet for many an occasion.

Meanwhile, the dress I bought at Kiyonna for my sister in law’s wedding is now on 30% off sale. Best believe I’m wearing that to my holiday party, I spent too much on it to just wear it once. I’m keeping my eye on sites like Kiyonna and Monif C for sales – in times like these, not very many can justify spending over $150 on an occasion dress, so I’d bet that the prices will start getting lower and the sales will become more frequent. And then I can swoop in when the prices drop to my level of affordability.

My amiga Natalie, the one and only Frugalista, shared a list of chic and cheap holiday dresses of her own. And Stylin’ and Profilin’ also featured full figured fashion — those Target numbers are cute!

What will you be wearing to the holiday parties, bellas? Are you going to any this year?

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Nubeauti says:
December 9, 2008, 12:36 pm
I don't think that I will be attending any holiday parties this year, but if I was going I would grab something out of my closet, as well.
Veronica says:
December 9, 2008, 12:56 pm
I just read the post on Stylin' and Profilin' and was about to go read Natalie's, and now I'm so excited about dresses for this season -- even though I don't have any parties on my schedule yet! Lol. But this is a really good selection, Afrobella, thank you. And thank you for pointing us to B&Lu... I though I knew of all the plus size brands but I'd never heard of that one before, and it looks fabulous! :o)
Jeanine says:
December 9, 2008, 2:03 pm
Hi Bella....I just called Ashely Stewart, and online they are out of stock. Thanks to Tasha, at the 1-800#, who checked the stores in my (non area) and found 1 of the "Little Gold Dresses". Unfortunately, it's about 200 miles away. Big ups, though, for excellent customer service. I don't have any plans, but I always do a standard of black dress pants and event approriate top. Keep up the great work.
WriteBlack says:
December 9, 2008, 2:07 pm
That kimono dress is *gorgeous.* Maybe I can scrounge up some pennies...
tanya says:
December 9, 2008, 2:18 pm
I have a feeling that gold dress is going to be gone, it's really nice. I'm not going to any holiday parties except for the usual family gathering. You know the one where your relatives pepper you with questions like, "When are you getting married?" and "Have you put on weight?". Not to threadjack, but how awesome is Sam Sparro? I have his album and it is really good.
B says:
December 9, 2008, 3:53 pm
This post just missed my holiday party! My office party was this past Saturday, but I managed to stay out of the mall and put together an outfit on my own. A grey knee-length pencil skirt with a billowy, off-the-shoulder silver top, and some killer shoes. I was definitely a bella on a budget who wished that she was ballin'...lol...maybe next year!
TJ says:
December 9, 2008, 3:58 pm
The kimono dress is really nice. I think I'm going to go casual with really nice accessories in white and black.
dee says:
December 9, 2008, 5:25 pm
I think I have 3 more on the agenda. I already went to my mother's "office" party(theme:Indiana Jones...they gave out fedoras). There's another party tomorrow and two more next week. One of them has a 60's cocktail theme. I have no idea what to wear, but I'm assuming pencil skirt is the way to go.
Nerd Girl says:
December 9, 2008, 5:34 pm
Not attending my office party this year, but if I were, I'd pull my black silk pants from the back of the closet, add a cute little top and rock on! Cute choices.
heyhey says:
December 9, 2008, 9:47 pm
Following up on Nerd Girl's cue, can you suggest hot looks for we (few?) non-dress gals? Something party-ready, sexy, but with pants? That's a look I aspire to, but when I miss it looks like office wear with too much jewelry.
Tara Pringle Jefferson says:
December 9, 2008, 10:28 pm
Oh, all those dresses are fierce! I especially like the last one. I'm probably not going to many parties this Christmas season, but I do like to dress up a little at work, so I'll be pulling my one or two cute dresses out to make 'em work! Tara http://theyoungmommylife.com
bella says:
December 10, 2008, 9:29 am
heyhey - Good point!! I did look at LB's dress pants, but didn't see anything that made me sit up and take notice. Will work on a pants post. And an undergarments post!
nolagirl says:
December 10, 2008, 10:27 am
I got that Kimona dress for the 4 Tops concert last year.... I am just looking for a reason to wear it again. Last year it was more of a brown I noticed they have two new ones now... but its the same style and look. Look out for Kiyona. while waiting for the sale to be big enough for me to justify the purchase, my size ran out :( I love the post!
kaliber says:
December 10, 2008, 10:49 am
on tanya's threadjack sam sparro is awesome with a thousand exclamation points. thx bella for sliding him in bc i try to invent reasons to bring up him up lol oh right, the kimono is gorge too. LOL
b. says:
December 10, 2008, 11:50 am
Oh, yes! Bella, do an undergarments post. My theory is that many women are cranky and having a rough day because they are wearing the wrong sized shoe and the wrong sized bra. Good quality for both are non-negotiable. Fixing those two things is like taking a full breath for the first time.
KindredSmile says:
December 10, 2008, 1:38 pm
I got that gold dress from Ashley Stewart as soon as I spotted it in the store, and that's a rarity for me as I didn't even have an event in mind for it. Lately, I've noticed that they're really focusing on pieces that can be dressed up or down, so I've found myself in their stores more and more often. Besides, the one near my office always has a clearance section where items are at least 50% off - great deals!
C says:
December 10, 2008, 1:41 pm
I got a cute black dress at LB too, that I wore at my 30th birthday party along with another dress that I got from Old Navy that was so perfect, I'll probably buy it in another color. Bandlu is awesome but make sure to check their size charts because they will occasionally mix juniors plus sized stuff in with the regular items.
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