Christmas party dresses

Alyson Walsh / 06 November 2018

The ideal frock should be beautiful, faff free and a pleasure to wear, says fashion guru Alyson Walsh.



Feeling comfortable and confident at a Christmas party is crucial. I am always on the look out for faff-free fashion. Clothes that I can pull on and forget about – but that’s not to say these items are forgettable.

I love sequins and shine as much as the next woman but my ultimate priority is fit - as opposed to an abundance of Christmas party frou-frou. A simple dress in a sumptuous fabric or striking colour is the dream. An armpit-bothering, overly fussy frock that’s prone to riding up, will turn any party into the nightmare before Christmas…

Of course, there could be a dependable party dress (one that you’ve always have a good time in), hanging in the wardrobe. If so, wear it! – says Prof Carolyn Mair author of The Psychology of Fashion, (£8.36 on the Saga Bookshop) and founder of psychology.fashion.

'The power of the party dress is more than a myth, ‘Research has shown that believing in the symbolic meaning of what we’re wearing can influence the way we think and behave,’ explains Mair, ‘Most likely, if you had a great time in it, then wearing it again will bring back the positive memory and the item of clothing will ‘work’ for you. The power of belief will make us feel great.’

And the good news is that dresses with sleeves are no longer a high street rarity. The prevalence of ageless style and a more demure mood means there are sleeves-aplenty - and the slightly longer, midi style is having a moment. All of this is good news for women of all ages.

So if you’re looking for a festive update, consider form and function (in all senses of the word). The ideal frock should be beautiful, faff free and a pleasure to wear.

Long sleeved dresses

What to wear with your favourite Christmas party dress

Party shoes you can walk in

The older I get, the less inclined I am to engage in the ‘shoe switch-up’ (wearing run-around shoes to travel to an event in and carrying a pair of heels in a bag). This is completely unnecessary now that there are loads of fabulous flats, mid-heels and comfy wedges to choose from.  Go to Tracey Neuls, LK Bennett and Clarks for decorative shoes that are practical, too.

We are not over the heel

The right accessories

If the dress is sparkly, sequinned or patterned then minimal accessories are required; plain hoop earrings and an eye-catching bangle or cuff should do the trick.  If the party frock is plain and simple, go for big, decorative accessories or go home.

Cocktail coat

It may be winter outside but that’s no excuse for turning up for cocktails in a dog-walking parka. A velvet evening coat will finish off a party outfit perfectly and look fabulous in spring. Try Jigsaw and Hobbs for super-chic cocktail coats.

Colourful coats


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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.