Have you decided on your festive wardrobe yet? Are your outfits all picked out and ready to go with accessories laid out? Have you checked your stockings for runs and booked your mani/pedi in time for the big day? No, me neither. Planning it is a fool proof way of dropping off to sleep though, when your head is full of such nonsense as errant grandparents who steal your child’s school work and how you managed to spend £7 on one box of M&S nibbles.
I have put off writing this blog because it is something of a treat to write about party dresses. As anyone who knows me will testify, I am never happier than when dressed in sparkle and heels and this year I have trawled loads of websites to find the most gorgeous gowns with as much variety as possible. As I write, brands are cutting prices by the day and there are several high street names that have already gone into full blown sale mode so things are looking up for those of us who still have presents to buy and Christmas wardrobes to plan.
I’m a big advocate of not saving your most fabulous frocks for best. Life is short and if you’re a mummy then occasions to glam up are few and far between. My colleague Nina (as I’ve mentioned before) wears sequins and lace to work regularly and nobody in her all male office bats an eyelid. She is my hero for this – that and the fact she accessorises with a hot water bottle on colder days. So, my advice is not to worry about forking out for something you fear you may only wear once. Buy the dress and then wear it afterwards with a big chunky knit over the top (see last week’s blog) and boots. Also, eveningwear tends to stand the test of time better so even if you refuse to be seen in Asda in your plunge neck jumpsuit, there’ll undoubtedly be a day when it will come in useful again. If it’s timeless you’re after then think lace, muted shades and long and you won’t go far wrong.
Should you be interested in trends, fringing is big this year – Caroline Flack seems to have it incorporated into her Strictly costume every week. Word of caution though, it can be horribly unflattering if hanging from an ample cleavage; less is probably more with tassels.
There are also more full length gowns around than in recent years which is great news for pear shapes. You can probably stand bare legs with a long skirt and that means you can go for a strappy shoe rather than a more dull closed toe, which more often than not, are black.
I’m always hearing women say that they want a dress with long sleeves both for warmth and for coverage and this isn’t nearly as hard to come by as it used to be. Reiss has many long sleeved shorter length styles and Mango has a wealth of maxi versions so that does away with the age-old problem of hunting high and low for a dreadful bolero/pashmina/cardi.
The one shoulder look is still around (avoid though if you have substantial boobage) and this stunning style from Italian brand Pinko is worthy of an Oscar red carpet. Off the shoulder is also a big trend and worth consideration if you’re thinking of going for a maxi skirt and top rather than a dress. Separates are a useful option as they can be downplayed by teaming with a fitted shirt or cropped cashmere knit.
Finally, newish website ThreeFloorFashion is worth a look for unusual designs at fairly reasonable prices and it is also stocked by ASOS. It’s skimpy stuff and there are a lot of ‘cut-out’ styles so if midriff baring and goose pimples isn’t your thing (whyever not?!) then perhaps stick to Coast or Reiss both of which are excellent for womanly figures and a range of sizes.
I covet most of the dresses on this blog and am no closer to making a decision on either my Christmas day outfit or the party I’m going to this weekend, so I apologise if I haven’t helped. Ah well, I have also discovered that the outrageously expensive M&S nibbles expire this week meaning my son and I will have to eat them for dinner every night. It’s back to counting dresses tonight for me then.