The holiday season, and its seemingly never-ending stream of parties, lends itself to sparkly cocktail attire and demure shifts. But when overly feminine dresses don’t make many appearances in your default wardrobe, it can be hard to feel comfortable in those glamorous pieces that you find yourself wearing just once or twice a year.

There’s more than one way to dress for a party, however, and adding a surprising flourish can easily transform a simple dress into something much more interesting. For one, wearing a pair of pants underneath a velvety gown, like a deep red one from Attico, can create an unexpected contrast and provide some much-needed coverage in the frosty climate. Or, if you’ve been searching for a way to add some edge to that prim Oscar de la Renta houndstooth frock in your closet, you can layer it with a sheer mesh Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini long-sleeved top, finishing off the look with chunky Proenza Schouler oxfords. So whether you’re adding a hard-edged boot, a bold blazer, or flared trousers, shop these six unorthodox looks. Each one brings something new to the tried-and-true party dress.