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How to choose the perfect Christmas party dress

Christmas is that time of year when you can really go to town on your party outfit. You can ramp up the glam, get out the sequins and pile on the glitz. But how you you stop yourself from looking like an overstuffed turky wrapped in tinfoil?

There are several ways to ensure you that you are the star of the show.

Some are commonsense (you’d be surprised how people throw out the most basic of rules when it comes to party outfits), some are a little bit more technical.

The basic rules of choosing the perfect party outfit always start with:

The Fit

If an outfit is ill-fitting you’ll be fiddling about with it all night. I know from personal experience. I wore a frock that had a bustier top that was too large for my poor flat chest and I spent the whole evening trying to ensure my fried eggs didn’t slip out.

Likewise, any outfit that is too small will cause you endless problems. For a start it will look unflattering. It will feel uncomfortable and will highlight all your wobbly bits. It may even make you feel ill.

So pick something that is the correct fit. Even if the label is four sizes larger than you normally take, no one ever sees it. All they will see is a beautifully dressed party girl.

The Material

Poor quality fabric sticks out a mile, and if you are at a party for the long haul, you’ll regret it. An itchy material with manmade artificial fibres is an absolute nightmare under hot lights and canapes.

Fabrics that work well in indoors heat are natural fibres such as silk, cottons, wool and cashmeres.

If you can’t afford the more expensive of these then at least stay away from the polyesters, acrylics, nylons and rayon.

The Colours

The trick is to choose your colour carefully and decide whether you are going for full on glamour, a sexy siren look or a cutesy style. Then all you have to do is add to your outfit with glitzy accessories.

Around this time of year the traditional colours are always black and red, but remember that metallics are also in vogue. So it’s a great time to get out your golds and silvers.

If you are still having trouble picking out your perfect outfit, don’t panic, we have a few styling tips to get you looking super gorgeous!

The Little Black Dress

There are many many versions of the LBD, from a full length gown to a mini-skirted frock. Remember that black is probably going to be worn by many ladies at parties. So in order to make your LBD stand out, go for a something with different textures, and one that uses high quality fabrics.

Decide whether you are going for sophistication a la Audrey Hepburn or all out sex appeal. If you are thinking of sophistication then opt for a longer length to the skirt and cover up the arms.

Remember the golden rule of frocks, only show either cleavage or your legs, never both.

Sexy dresses can be shorter and have no sleeves or feature a bustier type top half.

Valentino‘s black mini version shows how you can be sexy and classy with a gorgeous blend of luxe materials, including wool and silk and daring black lace.

Valentino

Valentino

Elizabeth and James’ mini frock reinforces the rule of revealing either legs or cleavage. Here the long sleeves and high neck hide the top half but the feathers at the hem show off a great pair of pins.

Elizabeth & James

Elizabeth & James

Black is synonymous with sex appeal, but Cushnie et Ochs highlights a more romantic feel with this polka-dot gown. Fitted with a V-neck bodice, the gathered waist shifts to a flowing skirt which is split to the thigh. Dramatic styling with pretty prints keep the mind guessing.

Cushnie et Ochs

Cushnie et Ochs

A dress doesn’t have to be cut to the body to be sensual and eye-catching. Hatch’s ‘Riviera’ midi version shows us exactly how using a flattering fabric such as crepe de chine can drape beautifully.

Hatch

Hatch

Be bold and sexy with red

Red automatically screams sex appeal so remember this if you want to pick this colour. You don’t have to flash the flesh in red, the colour does all the talking.

Again, it’s not about bodycon and squeezing yourself into a tight-fitting dress that makes a person look sexy. This wool and silk-blend frock by Valentino demonstrates perfectly how a good quality material, their ‘crepe couture’ fabric, is flattering in any style.

Valentino

Valentino

Talking of flattering, there isn’t a figure on the planet that doesn’t suit a wrap dress. The Queen of the wrap – Diane von Furstenberg has created this one below. Choose yours in a stretch material with a ruched bodice, this creates a smaller looking waist.

Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg

If you are looking for longer-length ball gown, you can do no better than take inspairation from Victoria Beckham. Simply cut, elegant with a soft and low V-neckline. Careful with the fabric, quality is everything.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham

Everyone associates red with sex appeal, but depending on the print or material, you can go off in any direction. This example from Christopher Kane shows how delicate lace can create a cute and girlie frock.

Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane

Golds and Silvers at Christmas

Channelling a style period is a great way to choose a dress. This Dolce & Gabbana’s mini dress drips ’60s decadence. The golden hues would look great on a warm skin tone.

Dolce & Gabana

Dolce & Gabbana

A real party outfit needs tons of sequins and this one from TOM FORD ticks all our boxes. Made to be a comfortable fit, you could dance all night long in this statement-making mini dress!

Tom Ford

Tom Ford

An astounding gown by Temperley London. This is adorned with light-catching beads and paillettes. A ballgown that is opulently over the top and screams glamour.

Alice Temperley

Alice Temperley

Weighed down with silver sequins, this dress from Saint Laurent is great for cooler skin tones.

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent

All images courtesy Net-a-Porter and all items available from Net-a-Porter..com

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