Let’s do festive lunch

Rollneck jumper and sequin skirt At Phase Eight
Rollneck jumper and sequin skirt At Phase Eight
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Those holiday season lunches and meet-ups can really put a strain on the old wardrobe. Stephanie Smith has stylish suggestions.

“Oh, it will just be casual, you know – just a few drinks and nibbles. Come as you are.”

It’s all very well saying that a Christmas-time drinks party or lunch will be a small, “no fuss” affair. Actually, they are often anything but, especially if you are meeting up with old friends and family you haven’t seen for a while.

We are all another year older than we were last Christmas, which frequently isn’t kind to the appearance – at least, not once we are over 35. And, if an even longer period of time has gone by ... well, let’s just say we would prefer not to provide the festive shocker talking point of the season, due to the woeful state that we have allowed ourselves to get into.

Planning is needed. We might not be able to diet away a dress size or two, and there is no time to undergo full facelift and body sculpting surgery, but there are still a few weapons left in our Christmas armoury. And the chief of these is fashion. We can make sure that we are dressed to impress, while remaining comfortable and looking relaxed (this is key, because looking tense and trussed up is not a good look, and will be noted).

What’s needed is a cool selection of outfits, stylish, suitable and flattering enough to see us through all the various events of the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Bethanie Lunn, fashion and beauty adviser at Meadowhall shopping centre, Sheffield, advises going for a “dressed-up daywear” look: “Your Christmas outfit should be comfortable enough to allow for that inevitable expanding waistline, but glamorous enough to mark the occasion and reason to celebrate.”

She suggests going for embellished jackets or jumpers, and adding jewelled hair accessories (check out Debenhams for these – also great gifts for those who love wearing headgear). Bethanie says: “Today, you can wear them with more casual clothing choices for a truly modern look – don’t just save them for formal events.”

Picking out one glitzy separate piece is a useful way to start dressing for any daytime social occasion, not least because it provides a talking point (handy, if the conversation starts to peter out or strays into tricky areas).

Fortunately, the High Street right now is blessed with plenty statement pieces, with sequins and embellishment having been a key theme for a couple of seasons now.

Check out Mint Velvet (there’s a branch in Harrogate and boutiques in House of Fraser, Fenwick and John Lewis) for leather trousers and shimmery tops – perfect for an office-to-bar look. Also Phase Eight (outlets given above) have some fabulous statement pieces, like the gold glitter skirt shown here, now in the sale.

If you prefer to keep it classic, the festive holiday season really is the perfect place for the little black dress. Look out this year for ones with lace, sheer panels and embroidery detailing, bringing it up-to-date for this Christmas.

Special mention here too for the peplum, as a top, a skirt or as part of a whole dress. These have been really popular and do offer cover-up benefits for Christmas hips and tummies. I’m not sure how long they will stick around for next year, so now is the time to give one a try, if you haven’t already. Again, check out the sales for some real bargains. If you can hit the shops, this is a great time to buy a whole new going out wardrobe – good luck.

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ