It’s December. Which means it’s officially party season. So we welcome you to the W&W cut-out-and-keep guide to party dressing. We have a sartorial solution for every occasion this Christmas.
Party dressing isn’t what it used to be. Not because we’ve abandoned the brief dresses of our youth (we were more of the ‘jeans and a pretty top’ generation) but because we have less chance to get dressed up, so we make more of it when we actually do. Nice dress for dinner with girlfriends? Absolutely. Jumpsuit and fabulous heels for a 40th? Bring it on (this is what Alex wore to my 40th and very fabulous she looked in it, too).
And if there was ever a season that liked to party, this is it. The run-up to Christmas is all about glitter and sequins and mince pies and friends and laughter and candlelight. And sartorial dilemmas: is it possible to be too dressed up for the office party? (Not in our humble opinion. If that dress makes you want to party, then wear it.) Can’t I just wear that aforementioned jeans and a pretty top combo for drinks with girlfriends? (By all means, but why miss the chance to dress up if you fancy doing so?) Can I wear sequins? (We would be disappointed if you didn’t.)
The Work Party
Dress code: Dress up, but not all-out
Obviously, this all depends on where you work and where you’re going for your night out. If your company throws a mega-Christmas ball with endless champagne, fireworks and a red carpet, then skip this section and head to ‘Glamour-a-go-go’. If you work for a hip media company in the East End, then you’ll probably be wearing something so directional we’ll be writing about it in 2040. However, if like most people your work ‘do’ is just a little dressier then normal, then read on. When it comes to work parties, you don’t want to scare the horses, so keep with your normal style, but just zhush things up a bit. For a fail-safe, but super-stylish look, pull on a pair of faux leather trousers like these (I think biker styles look best and are less likely to bag at the knees) or smart jeans, add a lace top and a pair of heels (these leopard print boots are all the heart-eyed emojis) and BINGO. Finish with a chic jacket on top and you’re sorted. You can never go wrong with a jacket and jeans and if you accessorize it with big earrings, a couple of cuffs and a cool clutch, you’ll hit the work party nail on the head and quite possibly nail that promotion whilst doing so*
*just don’t get too p***ed and snog the boss.
Dress code: Wow
If you are lucky enough to be going to a truly fabulous Christmas party that means you can indulge all your sartorial fantasies and dress to the max, then enjoy! These kind of parties (or weddings) don’t come around that often, so really make sure you go all out. A dress is always great for these kind of occasions, as are sequins, so if you can tick both those boxes you’re doing well. A jumpsuit is a great alternative to a dress and Issa are rather excellent at these. This ruffly blue one is beautiful and incredibly flattering on. Just pair with heels, get ready to dance. and you’re good to go.
Shop the Look
1. Morgan Tuxedo jacket, £40, Linea; Sleeveless Caplet Dress, £95, Eliza J; 3. Sequin midi dress, £65, Lace & Beads; 4. Lace top, £55, Label Lab; 5. Roxy Ruffle jumpsuit, £70, Issa; Leopard print boots, £82.49, Moda in Pelle; 7. Faux leather biker trousers, £58, Morgan; Loverani courts, £80, Aldo.
The Family Party
Dress code: Casual
…and yet also it’s nice to look like you made an effort. You may not be in the same situation as one of my friends, who found herself visiting her new-ish boyfriend’s parents in December for what he unreliably informed her was ‘a relaxed family get-together’. It turned out to be akin to festive tea at Sandringham i.e. she was the only one wearing jeans – and not wearing some kind of inherited jewellery. Reader, she married him regardless.
You want to look festive here. You also want to be comfortable, because there are probably children involved and you may be required to get down on the floor/chase them. You may also (bad luck) be cooking (I love cooking; I loathe cooking Christmas lunch.) Think half and half: fabulous and comfort. Statement skirt, simple knit, great flats. Stand-out trousers and a tee. A deceptively simple and demure black dress (which could also take you into cocktails once the kids are abed/parked in front of an ipad) is good, too. Probably best to avoid anything too sexy.
(Someone at this gathering will be wearing a Christmas jumper. ‘Twas ever thus. It could even be you.)
Dress code: It depends. (Helpful, I know.)
Tricky one this. It rather depends on who you’re going out with. I have girlfriends whose motto is ‘Never Knowingly Under-Dressed’. I also have friends who think heels are an abomination. And those who work in exceedingly high powered jobs so swish into supper wearing power dresses. Unless you thrive of being the only person in a ball dress in a room of jeans (more power to you), it’s safest to cater to the majority. That said, this time of year I love dressing up and will do so with very little encouragement. This is the time to wear that glitzy skirt or sequinned leggings, or something your girlfriends will appreciate but your partner might not ‘get’ e.g. a tiered midi skirt in my case). This is also the occasion to wear those gorgeous but hopelessly impractical shoes. (Get a cab home).
Shop the Look
1. Maison de Nimes sequin t shirt, £69; 2. Miss KG flats, now £49; 3. Biba jumper, £49; 4. Biba pleated skirt, £69; 5. Helen Moore faux tippet, £39; 7. Linea blouse, was £49 now £27; 8. Sequin leggings, £59, Biba; 9. Biba beaded dress, £129
This post was in collaboration with House of Fraser although all words and picks are ours. Don’t miss their Partywear offer on now