Step Away from the LBD

7th December 2018

For some people, the Christmas party season is all about the glitter, the bling or the drama, but others prefer and suit a classic, elegant party look. Helen Venables, MD of House of Colour, tells us more about how to nail ‘fabulous’ over the Christmas season and beyond…

1. Be more confident with colour
We were told in the 1990s that everyone needed a Little Black Dress – something that could be reliably dressed up or down for any party occasion. Actually, though, only one in four of us can really wear black (…if you have a ‘Winter’ palette…), so knowing what your wow colours are means you can step away from the fallacy that black is for everyone. Instead, you can look great in colours that actually suit you. Winters, who always suit cool colours, could look for dresses in burgundy or pine green, as well as black, while ‘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, almost everyone suits primary red, so why not look for that LRD instead?

2. Go Eco
With the eco-trend here to stay, although you might want a new outfit on your big night out, think about whether it can be worn 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, so that we send less to landfill.

3. Maximise your makeup
The Christmas season may be the time when you try something a bit more out of the ordinary, especially with nail art and a bright lip. While it’s fun to experiment, it’s also important to feel comfortable and look like ‘you’, so don’t go overboard. Flawless is key.

4. It’s all in the detail
Asymmetric necklines for dramatic clothing personalities and ruffles for romantics are perfectly on-trend this season, but fear not if that feels like a step too far. Detail on accessories, coats and jewellery can be game-changing for any outfit, however plain. Feel confident in the party season by wearing or carrying a statement piece in one of your wow colours, fabrics and patterns.

5. Rock those Accessories
Look out for stunning statement earrings and necklaces. Choose sparkle levels according to taste! Handbags can 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.

6. Get ready to roar
Bold animal prints are a big trend this season from faux 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.

7. Twist up your style
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 this Christmas and beyond. Look out for unusual sleeve details such as puffs and ruffles on dresses and blouses.

8. Be edgy in a Jumpsuit
If you want to wear something different, try a jumpsuit, if it suits your body shape. Jumpsuits can be fitted or loose-fitting, patterned or in block colours. It’s not a look for everyone though, no matter how comfortable or chic it looks on someone else.

9. Mix up your 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.

10. Sizzle in Sequins
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 years. This season, sequins come in all shapes, sizes
and finishes. Look out for sequin stripes too.

And for the gents…

1. Waist not, want not
Gareth Southgate’s fondness for waistcoats during last Summer’s World Cup led to unprecedented sales of this neat and smart garment. It’s not over yet. If it works for you, why not?

Waistcoats have brought back a touch of formality into menswear, but with a modern twist. 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. Or try wearing it with jeans or chinos to vary the textures in the outfit.

2. The cut of the cloth
Wearing well-fitting trousers is a style essential. Be choosy – 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.

3. Be a trail…blazer
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 that on-trend waistcoat to best suit your individual style.

4. A shout out for the shirt
Your shirt is your game-changer and it’s worth investing in good quality. A crisp white Oxford shirt if it’s right for your 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, but take care to choose a pattern scale that suits your own body scale – a large print on a slimmer body can shout too loud, for example…

for more information:

Find Your Local