It’s that time of year where the festivities grace our social diaries and I spend my days drinking green tea knowing my evenings are going to be spent drinking the other festive colour….a great big jolly glass of red! Party season is here and I’m ready for action. But there can also be a hint of knicker twisting anxiety that can go with the party season. This season can go hand in hand with the big sigh as you stand staring at your closet and utter “what the f$&@ am I going to wear tonight?” Don’t get yer tinsel in a tangle!
You know I adore fashion, style, clothing, a bit of bling along with a silly shoe or two. This is the season to kid myself I am in Vegas and not Ottawa. This is the time to dress up and aspire to party with Eddie from Absolutely Fabulous and not Uncle Eddy in his Xmas 1987 Argyle jumper. This is the time to forget that I will go ‘cold turkey’ in January and suffer the consequence of December, when I battle into the new year with a tight waistband and the shakes for sugar and booze!
But these days my diary is full of fantastic dinners at a friend’s place or festive catch-ups at one of our favourite spots to swap the stories and craziness of our recent adventures. I don’t need a ball gown for New Years Eve neither do I wish to spend two weeks wages on an outfit for the ‘work do’. These days I need my capsule staples that make me feel fabulous, have my friends declaring “that is so you”, let me eat and drink and be the cause the biggest smile on my face as I celebrate the festivities.
My capsule party wardrobe
Over the years it seems that I have subconsciously created my own capsule ‘Dressy’ wardrobe. This has evolved over some serious bargain beaut sales purchases from the tail-end of January sales past or magic finds on eBay. My capsule ‘going out out’ wardrobe has hands down, been more luck than judgement. But as I jot down some Xmas outfit plans, I realize that this is the one and only section of my wardrobe that I’m completely happy with. There are pieces that are 12 years old with their timeless classic cut and sublime tailoring. Good old All Saints! Best affordable tailoring in my book. I’m holding onto those gems. There are also the annual additions that I spied and couldn’t leave the shop without. Greet those outfit transformers with open arms.
Wearing: Equipment silk star print shirt, Zara faux leather skinny jeans, Whistles patent leather button toe flats.
The key pieces that work for me
So what will always appear in my razzle and dazzle dressy wardrobe?
Black: And bloody tons of it. Black is such an easy elegant gem that looks great in the party wardrobe. It looks great as a fine wool sweater or cashmere cardigan. Black silk shirts or black leather trousers offer subtle notes of foxy.
Animal print: Leopard, Cheetah, Tiger, you name it. I’d give Bet Lynch a run for her money any day. Jenna Lyons is quoted stating “leopard is a neutral”. Animal print screams playful and fun. It’s bold and daring. I just love it!
Metallic: Gold, silver, bronze. Love them all. My favourite metallics always come in the form of a well placed balanced outfit topper such as a scarf, shoes, boots, belt or bag.
Fur: I adore a bit of fur. I will happily take a good faux fur, or a cheap and cheerful fun coloured ‘stay away from the candle flames’ faux fur. There is something so fun and timeless about fur. Party styles that remember the 50’s and 60’s instantly make me feel like Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly and allow me to drink a ton of martinis as really, I’m just absorbing myself into the role!
Textures: There is nothing like mixing beautiful fabrics and textures. I’m talking silk, fine merino wool, lame’, cashmere, leather and satin. As soon as you mix textures together you add depth and substance to an outfit. A party outfit revels in being unique with substance.
Skinny trousers: Black skinny jeans are my go-to. I love my Topshop high-waisted Jaime knee rip version along with some black All Saints coated Ashby skinnies.
Heels and flats: I love a simple black heel or chic flat just as much as a full on ziggy stardust-esq ankle boot. Whether they are simple or statement. I am learning to buy the ones that fit (don’t even go there, I’m ridiculous) and ones that I can walk in without looking like a orangutang! Never a good look on a woman!
What I adore this season
Dear Santa, I may not have always been consistently good but at least I’m honest and let’s face it, would rock theses gems with all my might. Justified xx F
Top row left to right: Zara Chain necklace $39, Bella Freud Rockers sweater £275 Harrods, Kate Spade faux fur stole $148
Middle row left to right: Topshop gold pleated skirt £68, Topshop premium stretch leather pants $390, J.Crew wool and Metalic chainmail skirt
Bottom row left to right: Nine West Rustic strappy Sandals $80, Topshop silver Betty ankle boots, J.Crew leopard gladiator flats
Party outfit requirements and plans
There is an art to dressing for the festive party. It’s that look that whispers effortless and cool. It conceals the truth that you spent three hours to look like Emmanuel Alt with her ‘woke up and looked shit hot’ !! It also needs to conceal the truth that I had 10 mins flat to get out the house with my fingers crossed there were no Cheerios in my freshly salt sprayed
bird nest tousled locks. The party wardrobe is part of the event. It’s the riotous experience and sparkly memory you keep. It’s part of the packaging. Once you identify what you need from your outfit you can go forth and conquer the mini bar night!
For the party where you are well fed
I love these parties! Always hosted by my Italian, Portuguese and Lebanese friends. You pop by for festive drinks and nibbles and spend the next five hours working through nine courses. We’re talking serious buffet pant requirements. Why on earth would you wear something sleek and sultry to a ‘well fed’ event?! A relaxed waistband that will help to eradicate the papa smurf look (when you’re so blue in the face from breathing in). A cool little number that will accommodate those gorgeous Coconut encrusted shrimp and not just the bloody lettuce they are laid on.
Think stretchy skinny jeans and loose hip length silk blouse. Done and dusted!
Top L-R: Equipment silk stars shirt, Temperley cream blouse, Equipment black silk shirt
Bottom L-R: Topshop leather leggings, Topshop Jamie rip knee skinny jeans, J.brand black skinny jeans
For the party where you are well watered
I also really love these parties too! I love to be well watered and quite frankly, feel I am very good at it. I can only really go ‘hell for leather’ on the sophisticated cheese and wine gatherings if I know there are no big demands the next day. A lot of corks popping and suggestions of ‘try this one, subtle tones, don’t you think?’ as we laugh and just down the bloody lot! Cue a slightly pissed Flic! These parties require a fundamental key outfit piece. It has to be the flat shoes (no arse over tit moment can be truly named festive). This party night also requires a little forward thinking. I always ensure the promise of a Netflix weekend morning the following day with the kids (with an agreed volume of no higher than 7).
Think flat embellished ankle boots, pointy witchy poo shoes, metallic brogues or bejewelled beautiful flats!
Top L-R: Boden, Sophia Webster
Middle L-R: Zara patent pointed flats, Topshop, Charlotte Olympia
Bottom L-R: Boden ankle boot, Mango bow flats
For the party where you are prim and posh
Take a leaf out of Coco Chanel’s book and as you leave the house, take one item off. Sometimes less is more at a prim and posh do. No one needs to compete with the Xmas tree. Simplicity can look very expensive. Simple black elegant pieces with a delicate necklace can look fresh from the pages of net-a-porter despite them coming from the high street.
Go big or go home
I love a touch of statement jewellery. It can be a unique boutique piece or a vintage gem that knows how to party from its previous life. Take a peek at the high street along with a little online therapy with Etsy.
Clockwise from the top: Zara fringed necklace, Topshop earrings, Zara necklace, Topshop fluffy earrings, Topshop necklace, Zara earrings, Topshop ring
For the party where your knickers are in a twist and the outfit rejects are piled high on the bed
Oh, bloody hell. We’ve all done it, haven’t we? The countless times my bed has been stacked high with clothes. Finally, I find something that I don’t feel like Lily Savage in. I’m now running late so rush out the door to then return at 2am. That magical time when I now have to do the ‘arm extend over the pile’ and rake the clothes onto the floor to deal with tomorrow when the room is not so fuzzy!
Think simple skinny jeans, loose jersey top with your statement skinny scarf or necklace. Put on your bright lippy and you’re good to go!
Proof of the pudding
This is me heading out to my workplace Xmas dinner last week. This is the night I had an hour to get ready. I came home from work and instantly had to find a good hiding place for the Aritzia delivery box on the doorstep as my husband walked up the garden path. He is highly unlikely to open the freezer tonight? enough said, in its goes, it’s a talent! Next I refereed a wrestling match between my boys as I quickly rustled up a ‘boil and drain’ pasta dinner with salad for the crew. I ran upstairs and showered then threw on this easy Zara metallic jersey top with a black skinny scarf to avoid looking like Metal Mickey with a neckline jewellery addition. Skinny black jeans with pony hair ankle boots. Done. I can walk easily after hitting a bottle of Red and eat to my heart’s content without going blue as I hold in my stomach
s. Throw on some mascara and a little red lippy. I came down and shoved the dinner dishes in the dishwasher and kissed the boys good night. Done and dusted. Ready for action, ready for a yummy Crimbo work dinner and ready for a good laugh!
Styling up your Party Wardrobe
Shop your wardrobe Rifle through what you already own. Any gems hiding that you’d forgotten about? Don’t rush out to the shops straight away to buy a new outfit. Maybe a fringed skinny scarf in store will be that lovely little lifter for the outfit you already love and adore. A lot kinder to your wallet, less impact on your wardobe space and helps with the fast fashion versus slow fashion revolution. Done.
Bring on the hotline bling! Never underestimate the power of the bling. What have you already got? anything you love and adore that just needs a hint of statement necklace to catapult into the party dry ice with its arms in the air. Bingo.
Beg, borrow, steal Help a sista out and vice versa. Why not borrow a mates fabulous key piece? Why not lend one out? Sorted.
Repeat a good outfit Worried about repeat outfits in Instagram feeds? Who bloody cares? Anyone who is focussing on your repeat outfit on a Facebook post as opposed to the great big smile on your face from having a holly jolly Christmas, needs to run and bloody jump. Who needs those miserable judgmental buggers in your life! Adios.
The bottom line
Always have a few pieces that look bloody gorgeous on you. These are the ones that suit your shape, your style and your personality. They are gold medal winners for their ability to look polished and party ready with the perfect balance of ‘effortless’. They say, “I really did just roll out of bed and threw on some clobber then looked like this!” I’m bloody
Kate Moss fabulous!
Always have your big smile and be ready to laugh. Life is too short. Life events are unexpected. I always watch ‘It’s A Wonderful life’ every year as I drown myself in Bailey’s and wrapping paper organizing gifts. I realize how ‘rich’ I am in love. My bathroom needs renovating, the boys stuck a ton of unsightly Harry Potter stickers all over their bunk bed that will not come off and the hallway could do with a serious lick of paint. But is this really what matters in my life?! I have a lovely healthy and ‘real’ little family. Crimbo is the opportunity to savour the moment, be happy, be grateful and certainly not to worry about the snug waistband. Who wants to grab a festive cuddle with a skinny deck chair when they can have a soft plump cushion. That’s my annual festive reminder to my husband anyway! Lol
Last words to end on. For those of us who say “I can’t wear that, it’s too dressed up, what will they think about me? It’s just too much” This lovely quote I found on Pinterest sums it up. Dress for yourself and be happy. Never let
miserable gits them dull your sparkle xxx