Top tips for party dressing (revisited….)

As New Year’s Eve is almost upon us, I thought it was worth revisiting my five top tips for party dressing:

  1. The basics matter: Well-fitting and supportive underwear are the foundation of your look – get this right and the rest will follow. Check that everything fits, supports where necessary and that no lines or hooks show. Do wear nude underwear under white, and if your outfit calls for tights or stockings, seek out Falke or Wolford. Their colours, patterns and quality are unrivalled.
  1. Be prepared: Don’t leave it until the last minute to decide what to wear.  Nothing is more panic-inducing than discovering your dress has a broken zipper or you don’t have the right tights, bag or jewellery. A good rule of thumb is to gather your full outfit (including underwear, shoes and accessories) and try everything on at least a week in advance, giving you time to get any last minute dry cleaning done or to fill any gaps. Then try everything on, again, two days before, to make sure you are happy with your look (and comfortable in your shoes!).
  1. Mix it up:  It doesn’t have to be designer… the high street has a wide array to suit all budgets. Mixing high street and designer, new and vintage will create a look that is uniquely yours. Think beyond the little black dress: navy, for example, is chic, suits most skin tones and looks less harsh than black. Wearing red, with confidence, is a great way to make a statement.  A tuxedo style jacket or full trouser suit (reminiscent of YSL’s iconic ‘le smoking’) can be very elegant – just ask Bianca Jagger or Kate Moss.  Jumpsuits are also a flattering option as they give one long fluid silhouette, and are best worn with heels.
  1. Accessorise with care:  Invest in key pieces that will work with a number of outfits, such as a statement clutch bag or shoes. I have a beautiful pair of black Miu Miu heels that I keep purely for dressy occasions. You can transform a look for several events by changing or adding jewellery, belts, jackets or wraps. Keep your look polished by heeding the wise words of the immortal Coco Chanel: ‘check the mirror once more before you leave the house and remove one accessory.’
  1. The finishing touches:  I love treating myself to a professional makeover the day of a party. A number of places offer this service free of charge – Space NK is a good option, along with MAC and Bobbi Brown. This is not the time to experiment with a brand new look, however – you may not like it, and you want to look like you!   Don’t feel pressured into buying anything, although investing in the lip-gloss or lipstick of your new look is a good idea.

Finally, whatever you choose to wear, do so with confidence and a smile– nothing says elegance quite like it.

Dressing for the occasion

As we hurtle headlong into the party season, it got me thinking about how much we all love this time of year, with its glitz and sparkle. Social occasions abound – Christmas drinks, office parties, the big day itself – it’s enough to make even the most organised woman have a wardrobe crisis!

Dressing up is becoming increasingly rare in our casual modern world, but nothing beats it for injecting some glamour into a gathering. This season, there are so many interesting textures to add a touch of the extraordinary to your look – sequins, beading, molten metallic fabrics and leather.  Animal print and faux fur are also abundant but keep these limited to one element of your outfit. If you’re heading out straight from the office, a simple black dress with worn with boots for day can be transformed by adding heels, a metallic belt or jacket and a clutch for evening.

Here are my five top tips (for women) for achieving effortless elegance this party season:

  1. The basics matter: well-fitting and supportive underwear are the foundation of your look – get this right and the rest will follow.
  2. Be prepared: don’t leave it until the last minute! Nothing is more panic-inducing than discovering your dress has a broken zipper or you don’t have the right tights or bag. Try everything on at least a week in advance, giving you time to get any last minute dry cleaning done or to fill any gaps.
  3. Mix it up: It doesn’t have to be designer… the high street has a wide array to suit all budgets. Mixing high street and designer, new and vintage will create a look that is uniquely yours.
  4. Accessorise with care: invest in key pieces that will work with several outfits, such as a statement clutch bag or shoes. Transform one look for several events by changing or adding jewellery, belts, jackets or wraps. Keep your look polished by heeding the wise words of the immortal Coco Chanel: ‘check the mirror once more before you leave the house and remove one accessory.’
  5. The finishing touches: I love treating myself to a professional makeover the day of a party. A number of places offer this service free of charge – Space NK is a good option, along with MAC and Bobbi Brown.

And finally…if you are unsure what to wear to a party or gathering, ask your host. It is much better to ask than to risk embarrassment. Whatever you choose to wear, do so with confidence and a smile– nothing says elegance quite like it.