Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year…
From the annual work Christmas party, to events, pre-Christmas preparations, time with family & friends, cheese boards (!) and turning your Out-Of-Office on, knowing you won’t have to look at your emails until the New Year.
"One of my most despised yearly dilemmas is ‘what to wear to the Christmas party’."
But before Christmas Day arrives, finding time to juggle your social calendar, whilst taking care of family and year-end work commitments, can leave you feeling exhausted before December has even begun.
One of my most despised yearly dilemmas is ‘what to wear to the Christmas party’. The key problem as I see it is: where can you shop for a wide selection of fashionable, quality, over 30s party styling? Pieces that are stand out, modern, flattering and feel good, but below £199.00? *
I’ve been a customer of House of Fraser for over 10 years. They’ve been my go-to for weddings, work – even holiday essentials. The reason for this has always been the wide range of brands all under one roof, but also their own in-house lines. Biba are one of my favourites, I personally love the opulent clash of sharp tailoring and feminine design, intertwined with heavily embellished rich accents of pattern, embroidery and metals.
We all have things about our bodies that we are insecure about, for one of my friends it’s her arms. For another, she’s not comfortable with her weight since having her first baby. For me, it’s my legs - I’m not a dress girl, never have and probably never will be. My everyday style is ever so slightly boyish with a touch of feminine embellishment. As such, the thought of having to wear a dress, because it’s the done thing, always puts me off.
But what if instead of wearing the stereotypical “short, sparkly Christmas dress”, we instead embraced our flaws, focused on our best bits and looked for pieces that left us feeling attractive, confident and empowered?
When House of Fraser approached me to work on this article, I was excited to put this concept to the test.
Establishing that my arms were probably my stronger point and my legs lesser so, I chose to dive-in and look at jumpsuits…
I found this beautiful black jumpsuit from Issa, which has a very timeless elegance and is constructed from a beautifully weighty fabric. The satin neckline with Palazzo-cut trouser somehow reminded me of a tuxedo, with a feminine twist. The moment I tried this on I felt good, I felt like ‘me’!
"But what if instead of wearing the stereotypical “short, sparkly Christmas dress”, we instead embraced our flaws, focused on our best bits and looked for pieces that left us feeling attractive, confident and empowered?"
Accessories are everything and can enable you to totally change the energy of a look, even refresh something you may already have. I paired this jumpsuit with an embellished clutch bag and cape – the crystals add a little Christmas sparkle, and the feathers play perfectly as being one of AW17’s key trends. Both are timeless, making them perfect investment pieces to wear time and time again.
If arms are your area of concern and you prefer to keep them covered, whilst still looking glamourous - opt for a sleeved dress or bolero. Sleeved dresses are also rather handy in December when it’s cold. I love this example from Issa in a slimming black, with a tasteful touch of sequins.
Legs are quite an easy area to disguise. Avoid anything too short – gowns, pencil and midi dresses are excellent solutions. If you do want to wear a shorter cocktail dress, try teaming it with some fitted over the knee boots for a preppy and purposeful look.
But ensure that boots are as fitted on the leg as possible, thus giving the appearance of a stocking. A loosely fitting boot will add bulk whilst a slim design will smooth-out and elongate the silhouette of the leg.
Tummies need not be a problem, wearing an A-Line or empire cut can create the illusion of a flatter tummy by skimming over the area whilst still looking feminine. If you have slimmer arms and/or legs, use these to your potential. The A-Line dress will even out your mid-section, whilst your arms and legs will give the illusion of a slimmer frame. If you’d like a little more support and security, try wearing body shaping lingerie below your dress. Spanx are one of my personal favourites for body contouring and can make a big difference to how you look and feel.
If you have a larger bust you wish to minimise, shift dresses are an excellent choice. Their straight up and down cut will balance you out and can look very classy. Peplum-cut tops are also a very good option for styling with trousers or a skirt. Avoid complicated necklines or patterns and try a minimizing bra for a more streamlined silhouette.
If you have a smaller bust you wish to enhance, pairing a good push-up bra with the right dress or top can work wonders. Halter necks and v-necklines will give the illusion of a fuller bust.
*Price quoted based on the upper limit of my budget, for which a large percentage of dresses viewed fell within range.
This post is in proud sponsorship with House of Fraser & ShopStyle.