Fashion & Beauty

Fashion: Christmas is coming and 'tis the season to party...

Christmas means carte blanche to turn the glam factor up to 11 – even for the smallest of soirees. Whatever the dress code, Katie Wright has your festive finery covered

Phase Eight Gayle Asymmetric Sequin Blouse and Erica Metallic Jacquard Trousers, available from phase-eight.com
Katie Wright

WHETHER it's the office Christmas bash, a family get-together or mulled wine and merriment with the girls, the season they call 'party' offers a multitude of opportunities to get our gladdest rags on.

Even better, this winter's trends translate to after-dark dressing beautifully, from sumptuous fabrics to chic separates and everything in-between.

So take your pick and you'll be ready to dress up, and get down...

THE SOFT SELL

What will the fash pack be wearing at their uber-cool parties? Every It girl worth her socialite salt is voting velvet right now, and you'd do well to follow suit.

Literally – a slouchy two-piece or jumpsuit is right on the money, paired with chunky platforms if you want to tell a Seventies story, or barely-there stilettos and a choker for a nod to the Nineties.

Nineties-style velvet frocks are equally on-trend - think cowl detailing, bias cuts and spaghetti straps.

:: Roman Originals Cowl Neck Velvet Dress, £45, Kaleidoscope (www.kaleidoscope.co.uk)

:: JD Williams Velour Soft Jacket, £55; Velour Wide Leg Trousers, £30; Textured Red Top With Lace Trim, £30 (shoes stylist's own; www.jdwilliams.co.uk)

:: M&S Collection Velvet Culotte Sleeveless Jumpsuit, £49.50 (www.marksandspencer.com)

TOP MARKS

'I MUST have a new party dress' may be the most common mantra when the invitations start arriving, but this year we're seeing the return of the 'going out top', and that's a very good thing.

Why? Because you've probably already got the black tux trousers or pleated midi skirt that will perfectly show off an attention-grabbing top, be it satin, sequin-encrusted or – this season's hottest property – the body top.

:: Coast Evanna Embellished Top, £119; Jackie Wide Leg Velvet Trousers, £95; Leonora Statement Earrings, £19 (shoes stylist's own; www.coast-stores.com)

:: Phase Eight Gayle Asymmetric Sequin Blouse, £69; Erica Metallic Jacquard Trousers, £75 (shoes stylist's own; www.phase-eight.com)

:: River Island Silver Metallic Choker Plunge Bodysuit, £30 (www.riverisland.com)

MISTLETOE AND WINE

If a super-swanky invite calls for black tie dress code, you can go for all-out glam with a floor-length gown.

Flattering and festive (without being OTT), dark red or burgundy are ideal for winter formalwear, especially when accented with gold accessories.

And these winey hues provide the ideal opportunity to experiment with this season's dark berry make-up trend too.

:: Little Black Dress Collection Penelope Ruched Cross-Back Sequin Burgundy Maxi Dress, £80 (www.littleblackdress.co.uk)

:: Eliza J Long Sleeve Ballgown with Jersey Top, currently reduced to £126 from £180, House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk)

:: No. 1 Jenny Packham Dark Red Sequin Glitter Maxi Dress, £199 (www.debenhams.com)

SLIP SERVICE

Budget-conscious babes, don't despair, there's a frock out there that will answer all your frugal fashion prayers.

Strappy + sparkly = the most bang for your buck, so make a beeline for metallic or sequinned slip dresses that are dazzle-worthy at well under the £50 mark.

Add strappy sandals or sharp lace-up booties and you'll be party-perfect in no time.

:: Vero Moda VM Linn Short Sleeved Sequin Mini Dress, currently reduced to £21 from £30, House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk)

:: Therapy Syden Metallic Cami Dress, currently reduced to £19 from £38, House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk)

:: River Island Green Metallic Wrap Slip Dress, £55 (www.riverisland.com)

GET THE LOOK

Loved the disco-tastic jumpsuit Made In Chelsea star Lucy Watson rocked at the Pride of Britain Awards? The sexy, low-back all-in-one is yours for £65 from River Island.

:: River Island Pink Pleated Sparkly Jumpsuit, £65 (www.riverisland.com)

BUY IT NOW

Orla Kiely and Leith Clark are back with another serving of their astonishingly pretty L'Orla collaboration. Once again, the designer and stylist have focused on dreamy, prairie girl day dresses in chintzy cottons, with diaphanous florals and a smattering of sparkly jersey your eveningwear options.

:: L'Orla Pinafore Dress, £290 (www.orlakiely.com)

FASHION FLASH

:: ETSY GOES LOCAL

Following the success of last year's inaugural event, Etsy Made Local is back, letting you peruse and purchase handmade fashion, jewellery, crafts and more at pop-up markets between December 2 and 4. Sellers from the website will be peddling their wares at 25 spots across the country, from Aberdeen to Cornwall. Visit etsy.com/etsymadelocal to find your nearest location.

:: SAVE OR SPLURGE ON FESTIVE FASHION?

It looks like people may be tightening their belts this Christmas – and not just to minimise that mince pie bulge. New research reveals that 41 per cent of us won't be hitting the shops to bag a fresh festive outfit, while 27 per cent say they'll only spend up to £50. At the other end of the spectrum, the survey from TOFS (The Original Factory Shop) found 3 per cent of shoppers will be laying out up to £500, with the top 1 per cent splashing up to £700. Merry Christmas indeed...

STYLE STEAL

Everyone loves a 'twofer' offer, and here's one that's more stylish than most. Dune's Etwo Bag, £60, comes with two zip-on interchangeable flaps, so you can switch between leopard print and ivory or snakeskin and metallic, depending on the occasion (available in December; www.dunelondon.com).

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