Dresses for the festive big day should be dressy but comfortable, of course allowing room for expansion. Stephanie Smith picks out some rather special frocks from the High Street and online.
Draped black jersey mesh pattern dress
From: Reiss in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds and a new store just opened in Meadowhall Sheffield.
DETAIL: Called the Minogue dress, this fabulous, easy-to-wear, subtly shimmering dress is in a forgiving jersey fabric with a mesh sparkle and excellent drapery, perfect for camouflaging tummies while post-dinner lounging. The one-shoulder is dressy but you can team with a cropped cardi.
Suits: All, especially curvy and apple shapes.
Key accessory: Folk double oven gloves, now 8.99 at www.tch.net.
Sapphire blue wrap style jersey dress
DETAIL: This fabulously flattering frock in a jewel-rich blue jersey has more than a touch of Kate Middleton's recent engagement dress about it. It looks suitably queenly and will be marvellously forgiving on the tum after Christmas dinner, thanks to the easy wrap style. Team it with metallics, textured nudes, and with gold, bronze and silver.
Suits: All, especially curvaceous and pear shapes.
Key accessory: Big Love oven gloves, 13 at www.emmabridgewater.co.uk.
Abstract print tie-neck cap sleeve dress
From: Per Una Speziale at Marks & Spencer.
DETAIL: This is a relatively structured style of dress but the gathered pleats are flattering to both the hips and the tummy and the high tie neck is great for covering sags and jowls. The pattern is unusual and also slimming and it's suitable for daywear or for evening, if you add gold platform heels and jewellery, or pick out one of the print colours.
Suits: Slim to medium and pear shapes.
Key accessory: Double oven gloves, 11, at www.emmaball.co.uk.
Embellished shoulder grey tunic dress
From: Ted Baker.
DETAIL: This fabulous and unusual little dress is in a very fashionable nude grey tone and all that metalwork on the shoulders might jangle a bit, but it will look most impressive while sitting at the Christmas dinner table, while the flattering tunic shape will skim over any lumps and bumps acquired. It's got a lovely little pleated hem and all in all it's is a real keeper.
Suits: Most shapes, especially petites, and slim to medium, some pears.
Key accessory: Reindeer tea towel bale, 10, at BHS.
Baroque black and gold stitch tunic dress
From: Papaya at Matalan stores.
Price: Now 12.50 (was 25).
DETAIL: Available in sizes 8-20, this amazing metallic stitched tunic dress is ever so flattering, thanks to its scoop neckline and the dramatic, intricate patterning in gold thread which draws the eye to the middle. Catch it while you can as it's already in the sale. A real find and at this price, you just can't go wrong.
Suits: All shapes and sizes, including petites and some pear shapes.
Key accessory: Union Jack oven gloves, 3, at Store Twenty One.
strong>Asymmetric embellished shoulder dress
From: Sophie Gray at BHS
DETAIL: Yes, this dress is rather fabulous, and perhaps ever-so-slightly over the top, but some of us do like to get fabulously dressed up on Christmas Day, even if we do spend it in the kitchen and this gorgeous V-neck dress with drape detail has lovely flattering tummy gathers and will cling in all the right places. Just add teetering heels and, of course, oven gloves.
Suits: Slim to medium, pears and large busts.
Key accessory: Red spot oven gloves, 13, at www.emmabridgewater.co.uk.