By Penny Goldstone
It’s never too early to start planning the perfect party outfit, especially since the invitations to office parties, Christmas dinners and festive tipples have started rolling in already. Whether you like to go all out with a sequin dress or prefer something more subtle like a velvet jumpsuit, here are some festive outfit ideas to suit all occasions, and I’ve also included those all-important finishing touches, like the perfect party bags and shoes – all available to shop on Oxford Street.
First made popular by Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and propelled to iconic status thanks to Hubert de Givenchy’s creation for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the 60s, the little black dress has gone from strength to strength ever since. Far from being a ‘boring’ or ‘safe’ option, this season it’s packed full of attitude, with shirring, cut out and sheer details aplenty. A silk slip dress is always an elegant option as well.
Undoubtedly the biggest trend to come out of the autumn/winter 23 catwalks (seen at the likes of Valentino, Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta), red is the hue to wear this party season, and it just happens to fit in with the festive theme too. Let your dress take centre stage by keeping the rest of your accessories paired back: I recommend barely-there black heels and a matching clutch bag.
You can always count on sequins to be in fashion during the party season. I personally love a maximalist Dallas-inspired mix of power shoulders and draping, however if you’re minimalist at heart, opt for a sleek long-sleeved column dress or a 90s-inspired spaghetti strap cami. Jewel tones are in this season, so go for greens, pinks and blues if you want to break away from the traditional silver and gold, though of course those will never go out of style.
Suits are incredibly versatile. Not only are they the perfect office-to-party staple (just add heels), they lend themselves to any occasion, from work dinners to winter weddings and more. A black tuxedo will always have a place in my heart, but this season, I’m really into white and velvet suits. As for the fit, look for blazers cinched in at the waist and wide leg trousers, which are slightly more elegant for an evening look than oversized tailoring.
Jumpsuits are a fantastic middle ground for those who are averse to dresses, but don’t want to commit to something formal like a suit. This Reiss jumpsuit is a real head-turner thanks to its cape, deep v-neck and tailored trousers. It would actually be perfect for a bride to wear to a winter registry office wedding. M&S’s black velvet jumpsuit offers a timeless alternative, while this sequined jumpsuit from Stradivarius is perfect to hit the dance floor in.
When it comes to shoes, the catwalk provided plenty of sartorial inspiration yet again. If you can’t stand heels, you’ll be pleased to hear ballet pumps and low-heel Mary-Jane shoes are huge this season, and come in party-appropriate satin and patent finishes. Black court shoes, seen at Prada and Saint Laurent, are a timeless, go-with-everything option, which you can also jazz up with a bit of glitter. Bows, always a festive staple, adorned shoes at Chanel, Versace and Loewe, a sure sign they should adorn your feet too.
Clutch bags are having a bit of a revival, and it’s the perfect timing with party season round the corner. For something timeless, opt for a minimal black box clutch or slouchy leather style which can work during the day too. If you’re looking for a more fun-focused bag though, then metallics, sequins, chain details and pops of red are the way to go.