OK, so it's obvious, Thanksgiving break was a must — but getting back into the swing of things is harder than expected. To make things worse, finals are rapidly approaching and it's almost as if you can feel the pressure building; and the rain, which is likely going to be snow sooner rather than later, isn't helping either. In fact, probably the most appealing part of these next few weeks will be being able to wear big, comfy clothing — all bundled up and completely sedentary until that amazing late-December day when it's all over.

Since the future doesn't look so amazing (or healthy), let's not dwell. Instead, in the spirit of the holiday season, let's focus on something a little more fun, like holiday parties!

Who doesn't love getting all dressed up in an adorable party dress with glittery stilettos and that must-have clutch you've been eying all season? There are few things more fun than dancing around to "Let It Snow" with a red and white frosted martini glass in one hand and mistletoe in the other. That's the great thing about winter: The bad seems so bad until the good arrives, then you forget all about what once seemed so horrible.

Winter styles are very similar to the season itself in this respect. After wearing layers and layers of whatever is warmest — after throwing all style consciousness out the window to make room for comfort and warmth — those fabulously stylish little winter party dresses seem more like fashion lifesavers.

It's not just the dresses either: the shrugs, clutches, stilettos, earrings — everything is just so festive and adorable that you forget all about those hideous outfits you wore to class the day before. After you've been covering yourself daily in dark, dismal color combinations, party outfits give you a chance to bring some brilliant, bedazzled, booming color into your wardrobe. Sure, sticking with the simple little black dress is great, but safe. Instead, this year, try to mix it up a little: Throw on something a little more bold and vibrant, like a little red dress. Or perhaps pick something satin or adorned with sequins. However, I know what it's like to want to wear that favorite, classic, sexy black mini. So if you're completely absorbed in not seeing yourself in anything else, at least throw on some accent pieces: leopard pumps perhaps? What about a hot pink skinny clutch? Or maybe crimson red ruby earrings with red satin stilettos is more your forte. Just a little something extra and colorful can make all the difference.

However, there's nothing wrong with staying classic and simple. In fact, when it comes to simple, winter white has always been a favorite of mine. Especially when white sequins are involved; I have a serious, abnormal fetish for white sequins. In the specific case of winter white as a base, bold is not the way to go. Instead stick with Marie Antoinette-esque petal-soft pastels in order to compliment the outfit gracefully. Bold colors are sexy, they reflect confidence and seduction; calm winter colors on the other hand are beautiful, alluring and angelic. Both are equally gorgeous and have the ability to make a lasting impression. That is, if you can remember the No.1 cardinal rule when getting ready for a party: Wear the outfit, do not to let the outfit wear you — especially if you're planning on throwing back a few of those frosted martinis.

Another important point to remember if planning on making a lasting impression is to never be the first to arrive or the last to leave. After going to all the trouble to look so beautiful, the last thing you want to do is look like you spent hours getting that way. What I mean to say is, the perfect party girl never stays in once place too long and never appears as though she got ready for only one party.

You want to be able to leave that lasting image of everything from those gorgeous diamond earrings to those sexy, sparkling stilettos. Be remembered as the girl with the killer outfit, not the girl whose drunken "singing" killed the party. Designers may make the stunning clothes, but you make the outfit stunning.

Now go put on Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas," throw some curlers in your hair, and pair up those sexy pumps with that must-have winter mini — and get ready to party the crisp winter night away!

Sydney Burdick is a freshman intending to major in fashion journalism. Having issues assembling the perfect holiday ensemble? Direct questions or comments to [email protected]