Separates span seasons

New Year's Eve is always more fun if you have something new to wear. You can find everything from floor-length gowns to cocktail dresses to sparkly separates in the stores. Separates are a great choice if you want to feel like you're wearing something special, but don't want to be overdressed. They also offer a versatility that a gown or cocktail dress might not.

"Most of my customers like separates because they can reinvent them," said Gay Muenchrath of GM Clotheshorse. "They're an easier fit and they can span the seasons."

For some, a slinky black dress might be hard to pull off, but pair a beaded top and a black satin skirt and you have an easy and pretty solution.

Sequin vests are sold out at GM Clotheshorse, Muenchrath said.

"Sparkle did well all over the place," she said. "That was fun to see. Some years they're afraid they'll be too dressed up."

Skirts both long and short also sold well, she said. But if you prefer pants, you have a choice of voluminous evening pants and satin trouser styles, among other options.

And more good news with separates: Pairing a new top with slacks or a skirt you already have is a great way to economize while looking like you have a whole new outfit.

Everything from richly embroidered tops to sequined sweater sets to ruffled taffeta blouses will dress up what's already in your closet.

Another way to look and feel festive without investing in a complete outfit: Add glamorous accessories such as bold, sparkling jewelry, a luxurious stole or fur-trimmed gloves.