I needed a holiday dress, so I went to the Galleria. I lacked this handy guide. After an ill-advised shopping trip, I have to tell you something: At a moment when everyone south of College Station is descending on the mall to grumpily accumulate gifts such as “the damn toaster for Aunt Lisa*” while power walking to Macy’s, everyone's favorite mall may not be the most relaxing place to shop at the moment. I left there dejected with nothing to show for it. Bah. Humbug.

If only! I wish trips to the mall were as fun as these rascals made them out to be...

Instead of enjoying the sights and sounds of humans hating life, you might check out one of these local treasures to find exactly what you’re looking for without all the horror of parking in a multi-level garage. 

WildBloom
A new favorite in Rice Village, WildBloom carries a wide array of price points—meaning you have options no matter what your budget. One of their top picks for this holiday season: a blue jacquard Erin Featherston Winnie dress with sexy back detailing.

Photo: Erin Featherston

Dao Chloe Dao
A local favorite, Chloe Dao has been making flirty-and-fun dresses for all occasions since opening Lot 8 in the year 2000. Here, you’ll find options that transcend your typical little black dress—including a sequined dress with a sexy open back, seen at 3:35 in the video below. 

BHLDN
Yes, it’s a bridal shop (in fact, it's the first brick-and-mortar incarnation of this Anthropologie company in the country)—but it’s one that carries a selection of beautiful occasion dresses for those wanting something dramatic and detailed. Try the flowing Ava Maxi Dress for something that will stand out in a sea of tame holiday looks. 

Photo: BHLDN

 *Actually overheard during mall terror trip

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