How to get dressed for this year's Christmas parties.

You’ve already been to three Christmas parties and it’s not even DECEMBER. Here’s what to wear to the rest of them.


Every year a secret dress code memo goes out to fashionistas about what they should wear for party season. I’m not sure how it crosses seas, lands and caprioskas and reaches all the truly cool people, but however they acquire their sartorial knowledge, there is one rule that is slowly filtering through to the common people (that’s us). This party season is all about looking as though you are not trying too hard, which means for God’s sake TRY, but don’t make it look as though you did.


That means avoid obvious party trick dressing: too much boob, too much skin, too tight, too bright, too OTT, too done, too Kardashian. That was last year.

Watch Paula Joye talk about her summer work wear style below. Post continues after video.

Video via Paula Joye

It does make sense that party dressing has taken shelter in easy glamour this year. Think about it. In 2014 everyone was singing about being happy with Pharrell, Iggy Azalea was still cool and that song It’s all about the Base was a huge hit. Things were a bit more In Your Face. This year the biggest hits are from Adele, and then there’s a bit of Uptown Funk from Bruno Mars. So think of Adele (substance) and a little bit of Bruno (special, cool style) when you get dressed. Think of their love-child.


Follow these wardrobe tweaks and the party will follow you.

1. Swap the cut-outs for sheer.

Cut-outs should be cut out (get it?).  They are impossible to bend, sit and walk in really, due to the fact that there is a piece of fabric missing RIGHT WHERE YOU NEED IT. Little peekaboo cut outs revealing side boob, or stomach or builders’ crack. Cut-outs can too easily be more boo than peek.

Sheer fabric means you can take it gently. Add a slip underneath, or opt for sheer in certain places only: the back, the sleeves, from the chest up, the thighs down.  Or you can go in your face sheer. Sheer top, coloured bra underneath. Percentage uptake of sheerness is up to you.

(L-R) Jennifer Lawrence, Shopbop dress, Edie Campbell. Images: Getty.

You can find the sheer dress here.

2. Forget the sugar.

Strong beats sweet this season. When you embellish and add detail to your outfit (brilliant idea) own it rather than look as though a swarm of little applique daisies and butterflies are trying to kill you by suffocation. Change sweet florals for wild dark ones and pretty little feathers for I-can catch-birds-with-my-own hands. Or try studs, metallics, bold broderie anglaise. You’re a woman not a little girl. Own the party don’t just play in it.

(L-R) Erin O’Connor, Seed dress, Diane Kruger. Images: Getty.

You can buy the dress here.

3. Shake it up.

Drop the party dress altogether for a tuxedo or a sculptural take on dress-ups. If a little daunted by the volume in a sculptured look, approach with caution and incorporate a full skirt, or bell sleeves, or a neckline with a shape that we don’t even know what it’s called yet (we don’t think Jessica – below – knows what her neckline is called either).

(Clockwise) Witchery jacket, Jessica Biel, Victoria Beckham. Images: Getty.

You can find the jacket here.

4. Rein in the skin under your chin.

Cleavage is okay, but not boobage (Macquarie definition: noun, when you go way past cleavage and basically see the whole boob bar the nipple, see the beautiful Salma, below). Of course, if your boobs don’t magically change size and shape with fashion trends, feel free to give the finger to this one.

(L-R) Salma Hayek (a prime example of too much cleavage), One Teaspoon dress, Sienna Miller. Images: Getty.

You can buy the dress here.

5. Undone yet done.

Hair pulled tightly off the face is only going to make you look as though you have no idea how to relax and have a good time. Exhibit A: Angelina and Brad.

arrives at the World Premiere Of Disney's "Maleficent" at the El Capitan Theatre on May 28, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
Ange and Brad. Image: Getty.

You still need to do your do, but let a bit of natural mix with really useful hair products. Even a loose mini plait (think Hunger Games) works.

attends the British Fashion Awards 2015 at London Coliseum on November 23, 2015 in London, England.
Georgia May Jagger. Image: Getty.

6. Accessories can change your life.

Well, your outfit. But for two, maybe three, minutes when you look down and see the most kick-arse pair of leopard print shoes, you will swoon in your head and your world will change. Use jewellery: layered fine jewellery or one bold piece (chokers are back). A clutch that is fun, not dainty or useful. Earrings that could light London at night. This is where to go OTT. Accessories let you do all the things you don’t feel comfortable doing with your outfits: if you stick to black, choose a wild colour in your shoes or handbag. Never worn sequins? You can in a clutch or on your feet or in your hair? Think bikie chic is dirty but kind of like it anyway? Pull on some studded pumps.

emma stone and heels
(L-R) Emma Stone. Image: Getty. Giuseppe Zanotti heels.

You can buy these shoes here.

And then… ENJOY.