Pay no attention to those Bah-Humbugs who refuse to discuss the matter of Christmas until December 1. They clearly do not have a festive and party wardrobe to plan and buy, and totally fail to understand that the must-haves, the lust-ables, the swoon-inducers sell out quickly, often well before December.
You’ve got to strike while the store drop is hot. There are lots of new mini collection launches by all stores, major and minor, constantly, endlessly, as they seek to keep their offer fresh and fashion-hungry shoppers on their toes, visiting frequently, whether into the shops or looking online.
The great and the good, the glam and the gorgeous, have been trotting out onto the red carpet for awards and premieres, which is handy, because it gives us mere mortals a useful nod as to what is most-wanted for the upcoming season of celebration (and therefore most likely to sell out soon after it hits the shops). Some celebs are also pretty useful at introducing a few new ideas for partywear, possibly featuring a couple of interesting and unusual party pieces that you might already own. So here goes:
1. The chiffon skirt: A must for the season, any length from short to maxi, as long as it’s floaty. Go romantic, if you like, in long pink and whisper grey tutus, or goth-like in black, navy and grey again (versatile colour) and team with boots and a leather jacket.
2. The velvet dress: Not unusual at Christmas, perhaps, except that velvet is having a moment this winter, and the look is definitely polished, not grungy. Look for chic fitted shift dresses with interesting necklines, midi-length slip dresses (I’ve just bought a sage green one from Anthropologie) and long-sleeved fit-and-flare maxi dresses. Colours: deep red, midnight blue, chartreuse green, purple and metallics, and black.
3. The mannish trouser suit: Or maybe that should be boyish, because it’s a slim-line look with cropped trousers. Go for a gorgeous colour, such as rich red, and you will be able to mix and match throughout the party season.
4. The red statement dress: Again, not uncommon at Christmas, but again, a key winter shade this year, and yes, again, the look is sophisticated, so go for a sleek maxi in a crepe, something simple with clean lines, and keep accessories to a minimum.
5. Shiny trousers: A fabulous trend for pants lovers, as metallic trousers are a wearable alternative to the party dress. Look out for all-over brocaded, sequinned, embellished and lurex-infiltrated pieces. Keep the top simple to let the trousers do the walking.
6. The metallic print top: Again, shiny, sequinned, embellished, brocaded, in gold, copper – and if you can combine animal print, go for it. Although slightly retro (as in 1980s), this look also needs a degree of refinement, so stick to plain black or dark lower halves.
7. The metallic wrap style dress: Similar in mood to the metallic top. Combining black and gold in the pattern is especially effective for achieving an edgier look. The wrap style is always popular, because it’s so darned flattering.
8. The boudoir look: Now, you can go slightly sexy with this, if you like, with slip dresses and maribou mules, but loose silk and velvet PJ-style trousers suits are far more classy. Or you could just grab a paisley silk dressing gown and wear that instead.
9. The posh sweater: Up/down dressing is an ideal way of showing that you like to dress up, but you’re really relaxed and cool about it. So choose your party skirt (the chiffon one would be perfect) and team with a crew-neck knitted jumper. Voila. The white shirt is an alternative (though a bit overdone now).
On your marks, shop.