By Helen Venables, MD of House of Colour
For some the Christmas party season is all about the glitter, bling, or a dramatic look, but others prefer and suit a classic, elegant party look. Whatever your style, here is how to look fabulous this December whilst stepping away from the LBD.
The not LBD dress – We were told in the 90s that everyone needed a Little Black Dress that could be worn reliably dressed up or down for any party occasion. Whilst only one in four of us actually suit black (Winter palettes), knowing what your wow colours are means you can step away from the fallacy that black makes everyone look slimmer and away from the LBD, and look fabulous wearing the colours that actually suit you. Winters, who always suits cool colours, could look for dresses in burgundy or pine green, whilst Summers could try amethyst or sea green. Autumns and Springs suit warm colours, so Autumns could opt for colours like rust or heliotrope, whilst Springs will look fresh and gorgeous in violet or a bright navy. Alternatively, everyone suits primary red, so why not look for that LRD.
Go Eco – With the eco trend here to stay, whilst you might want a new outfit on your big night out, think can it be worn again and again? Recycling doesn’t just mean giving old outfits to your charity shop it means taking responsibility for the pieces we buy and ensuring we get great value and send less to landfill.
Flawless makeup is crucial to your look. The Christmas season may be the time when you try something a bit more out of your ordinary especially with nail art and a bright lip, but make sure you don’t look overdone. Flawless is key.
It’s all in the detail – Asymmetric necklines for dramatic clothing personalities and ruffles for romantics are perfectly on trend this season, but detail on accessories, coats and jewellery can be game-changing for any outfit. Have the fun factor in the party season by wearing or carrying a statement piece in one of your wow colours, fabrics and patterns.
Accessories – This A/W18-19 look out for stunning statement earrings and necklaces. Choose sparkle levels according to taste! Handbags have an edgy feel with unexpected shapes and fabrics while shoes offer a range of textures and finishes, from embellished velvet boots, to high shine court shoes and glitter ankle boots for those who dare.
Bold animal prints are a big trend this season from tiger, leopard and zebra to snake skin textures. Look out for unexpected colourways, as well as the more traditional colours, for a contemporary feel in bags and shoes. This will only suit some style personalities so be true to yourself.
Dressing Up – Asymmetric hems give the midi dress a modern twist with emphasis on waist-ties which can be worn with layers as the weather gets colder. Dark floral blooms are also a key look for A/W18-19. Look out for unusual sleeve details such as puffs and ruffles on dresses and blouses. Knowing what styles and details suit you will make or break whether your outfit works.
Jumping Jack – If you want to wear something different, try a jumpsuit if it suits your body shape and style personality. Jumpsuits can be fitted or loose-fitting, patterned or in block colours. Its not a look for everyone though, no matter how comfortable or chic it looks on someone else.
Materials – Look for embellished details in high shine satin and luxurious velvet fabrics in party wear. From chiffon dresses and blouses, to leather and knitwear and plush faux fur coats, take your pick as there is something for everyone. Create layers of texture for a contemporary feel.
In a nod to the 1980s, this partywear trend features all over sequins and strong shoulder silhouettes acknowledging the excess of the era and bold style personalities. Statement sequin dresses or sequin tops, jackets or skirts with tailored trousers or knitwear give a more casual feel, tapping into the hi-lo styling trend we have seen for the past two seasons. This season sequins come in all shapes, sizes and finishes. Look out for sequin stripes too.
And for the Gents
The Gareth Southgate waistcoat trend led to unprecedented sales in this garment. Its not over yet. If it works for you, why not? Try a rich burgundy, moss, sea green or royal blue to add party sophistication or a more formal black or navy according to your colour palette. Tweed is also making a come-back and works for those who suit a country gent or more sporty style. Some may want to try wearing it with jeans or chinos to vary the textures in the outfit. Waistcoats have brought back a touch of formality into menswear, but with a modern twist.
Your shirt is your game-changer and is worth investing in good quality. A crisp white Oxford shirt if you are a Winter palette will grab attention for all the right reasons. Alternatively try one of your wow colours or a neutral that suits your natural colouring. Patterned shirts are very on trend for men and make a great statement for the party season, choose a pattern scale that suits your own body scale – large print on a slimmer body can shout too loud!
Wearing well-fitting trousers is a style essential. Be choosey – make sure the cut, waist (snug but with a small amount of room), length, leg fit and ankle shape all work for you. That and pairing it with well-maintained shoes.
For a smart finish, make sure you own an amazing jacket. For casual know whether Blouson, leather, suede, quilted, shearling, or biker is your thing, for more formal looks try blazers, sports, tweed or even a waistcoat to best suit your individual style and body shape. Length is also really important. Then just make sure you get it in the right colour.