In my head, my party-season look is a cross between Liberace, Celine Dion and Diana Ross—iconic, entertainer, full-on extra ensembles that leave everyone else in the shade. In reality, that kind of vibe doesn’t work for the Christmas do in the canteen or down the pub with mates, so the outfits need to be dialled down accordingly. Yes, there will still be sparkle, but it might come in the slightly more understated form of a sequined skirt with a grey cashmere knit or a pair of decorative earrings set against a simple, minimalistic bustier and jeans combination. As much as I dream of swooping in wearing a feather cape and bejewelled suit with sky-high heels, the truth is you’ll probably find me in a classic party dress with tights, modestly mid-height heels and a red lip (that soon turns to red-wine lips).
I’ve noticed that this desire for, and reliance upon, casual party outfits is omnipresent on social media. Yes, you have the people for whom every day is a fashion circus, but you also have those who have a schedule chock-full of different events and need to get dressed easily, quickly and without 50,000 different looks at their disposal. In the past week, I’ve seen a lot less gown action (bar the red carpet of the Fashion Awards) and more subdued, chic takes on after-dark dressing, like a tailored blazer and glimmering trousers, plenty of fancy skirt-and-knit pairings and a few solid “nice top and jeans” ideas that even I—a denim-phobe—could get on board with. So keep scrolling for the low-key party looks I’ll be trying for my next night out.