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Everyone Should Own a House Party Hosting Outfit

Practicality is NOT INVITED.

A woman in a little black dress holds a bottle of champagne while lying in an empty bath tub.
As everybody knows, a good house party always ends with champagne in a bathtub.
Getty Images/Mint Images RF

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While I was on vacation recently, I wandered into a secondhand store with my boyfriend and his younger brother. It was one of those spacious, heavily curated places where the clothing costs less than it would at retail but more than in many thrift stores (you’re paying for the privilege of not having to root around for an hour to locate the good high-waisted Levi’s).

So it took me about two seconds to zero in on the best thing in the place, hung on a wall like a work of art, which it was: a crimson, shin-length robe covered in zigzagging red sequins. I wanted it instantly and, at my travel companions’ avid encouragement, bought it the next day.

I know what you’re thinking, or what you would be thinking if you were one of my friends or co-workers. “But, Eliza, you wear the exact same khaki pants and navy sweater from Uniqlo every day of the week! Your idea of ‘mixing it up’ is wearing a pair of black ankle boots instead of the black Asics that you turned into your everyday sneakers after they wore out as running shoes. Is this fabulous jacket really a good use of $56? Where on earth will you wear such a thing?”


This is the greatest fashion hack I have ever devised, and I’m delighted to share it with you now. Generally speaking, the most sensible thing you can do while shopping for clothing is to ask yourself a rigorous series of questions like:

“Will this fit into my existing wardrobe?”
“Do I need to buy new and/or complicated undergarments to wear under it?”
“Is it too sheer/short/high for work, which is where I spend most of my time?”
“Can I wake up, blindly pick it out of a heap on my floor, throw it on, and roll out the door without having to look in a mirror?”

This really is the best way to minimize buyer’s remorse. But sometimes you come across an article of clothing that’s too fun and outrageous to pass up. Often these pieces are also wildly impractical: heels too high, fabrics too flimsy, bra-wearing all but impossible. Some people would wear these pieces out without a second thought, and to these brave souls, I say: Thank you for your service to the culture. But if you, like me, prefer a quieter mode of dressing in public, I say instead: Buy the thing and invite all your friends over for a party ASAP.

Barbra Streisand and Queen Elizabeth shake hands. Babs wears a silver robe with a hood.
Looks like someone’s ready for a house party.
Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The beauty of hosting a house party is that you don’t have to leave, you probably don’t have to walk more than 10 feet at a time, and you don’t have to deal with the elements. All your usual dressing concerns fly out the window. One of my favorite party-hosting outfits, from a few years ago, was a backless tie-dye dress with a short skirt that fluttered skyward at the slightest breath of air. It would have been misery on the streets of New York, but in the controlled environs of my home it looked as good as it did on whatever e-commerce site I bought it from. I think I wore it with some really high heels? And then I took them off and walked around barefoot.

Ideal qualities in a hosting outfit include:

  • Feathers
  • Be-poufed shoes
  • Diaper-butt jumpsuits
  • Really heavy clip-on earrings from your grandma’s costume jewelry collection that you can’t wear for more than five minutes at a time because they cut off your earlobe circulation(?)
  • Dirt magnets (light-colored suede and satin)
  • Anything Bella Hadid wears out to get a frappuccino on a Tuesday afternoon:
A pair of feet wearing pink velvet slippers with pom poms on the toe.
Seeing these dirt-magnet shoes out on the street is giving me HIVES.
Photo: Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

To further drive home my point, I will say that as a party host, it’s your duty to amp up the mood in the room, and there’s no better way to do that than by answering the door wearing something befitting an eccentric nightlife doyenne. (No, it doesn’t matter that you’re planning to kick your friends out at 10 pm so you can go to sleep.) And I’ll go so far as to say that dressing loudly — and therefore living loudly — on special occasions might encourage you to do so in your everyday life. Yes. Yes.

At the very least, you’ll have thrown a house party. God knows we all need more parties in our lives.

A woman wearing a red sequined robe. Her room is messy.
The author in her new party outfit. Apologies for the mess!