Party season is the epitome of everything that fashion represents to me—thrill, joyful experimentation and the undeniable power to uplift. For many, party season is looking more like its glittery, pre-pandemic self (minus the mistletoe, perhaps). Luckily, evening wear is firmly back on the fashion agenda, with high-voltage glamour seen right across this season’s collections. Designers have delivered the roaring ’20s ideal that we all envisioned, and pined for, during that monotonous cycle of sweatpants.
As someone who is still shielding, however, party season remains much like the last: makeshift martinis in the kitchen, a festive playlist and a hankering for office party gossip from friends. That said, I believe that party dressing is more of a mindset than a set of concrete social engagements.
Clothes hidden at the back of my wardrobe will be making a triumphant return over the coming weeks. I have my sights set on a black '70s-style jumpsuit with flame-coloured floral embroidery sewn into its delicate, diaphanous sleeves; a vintage-style lace-trimmed blouse in beige jacquard; and an emerald-green silk shirt with a bow neckline. The likes of which I’ll be pairing with some of my current staples—a Jacquemus cropped cardigan in grey mohair, Alighieri gold hoop earrings and Gimaguas disco wave trousers.
Whatever your calendar is looking like this year, it’s time for everyone to embrace the joy of dressing up again—even if it’s a dose of sofa couture. Scroll down to see the party looks I'll be repping this year.
1. A White Disco Suit
Where Timothée Chalamet goes, we too shall follow. For a serious injection of suave this party season, step into all-white suiting. Just tread carefully around those canapés, mind. To pull off the trend, I see a few essential factors to consider. Ideally, ensure the silhouette remains slouchy and the fit oversized. You want to avoid looking like you’re cosplaying John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Instead, channel Mick Jagger slinking out of Studio 54. That’s the vibe.
Make it a three-piece ensemble by finishing up the look with a matching white waistcoat as a nod to traditional menswear. The outfit demands very little on the accessory front, but an insouciant attitude is mandatory.
2. Tactile Textures
Our love of texture was stripped away from us in lockdown—suddenly, it became taboo to just reach out and touch. As virtual living put distance between us, the fashion world responded by offering us a melody of tantalising textures for the new season. Think tactile lace, slinky velvet, flossing, faux fur and sequins.
Take inspiration from designers such as Molly Goddard, who filled her runway with swathes of tulle, tartan and taffeta. Likewise, Prada tapped into the theme of “connection” for its A/W 21 show, which manifested on the runway in sequins, faux-fur coats and psychedelic knits.
When combining multiple textures in one outfit, stick to the rule of three to avoid looking like you’ve had a fight with the dressing-up box. If you’re a minimalist, opt for one eye-catching texture, like a marabou feathered bag or lace-lined silk slip, and temper the look with more neutral wardrobe staples. Above all, the key to this trend is playfulness.
3. Party Hosiery
If you were left shaken by recent news of a “major” fake-tan shortage due to supply chain issues (the pandemic, the gift that keeps on giving), I present to you my solution: a pair of party tights. The micro-trend was spotted all over the fashion week runways—from Nensi Dojaka’s cut-out hosiery with tulle flower detailing to Alexander McQueen’s unapologetically extra diamanté-encrusted tights. The Fendace collaboration also embraced the statement hosiery trend, showcasing their logo-printed tights.
Party tights are a cunning way to hit refresh on your pre-existing wardrobe favourites—just ensure the tights remain the focal point of your outfit and style them with a simple miniskirt silhouette. A neat kitten heel, sock boots or chunky buckled loafers are a modish way to sign off the look.
If anything screams revenge wear, it’s the astonishing rise of the corset. Searches for corseted clothes have surged by 123%, according to global fashion search platform Lyst. What started as a rallying cry against sweatpants has evolved for party season into something moodier and sexier thanks to the label of the moment, Knwls. During London Fashion Week, designer Charlotte Knowles had the style set fawning over her signature deconstructed corsets, bras and bustiers layered over mesh tops.
Take cues from Dua Lipa, Paloma Elsesser and Bella Hadid by styling patterned corsetry with earth-toned leather trousers or layered under tailored suiting. Consider it an act of retribution for all those elasticated waistbands.
5. The Knitted Dress
Partywear gets a bad rap when it comes to sustainability. How many sequin dresses do we really need? And please tell me that’s microplastic-free glitter on your minaudière! If you’re eager to invest in partywear with more longevity and avoid falling prey to Cinderella syndrome, a knitted dress may be the cure-all.
It’s no secret that the knitwear category has undergone an identity crisis of late. The outcome being a sultry transformation thanks to brands like Khaite, Bottega Veneta, Gabriela Hearst and Chloé. The curve-clinging knit dress is a key player in knitwear’s body-bearing makeover. Modern details, such as peekaboo cut-outs and thigh-high splits will elevate the look, making it suitable for after-hours party dressing. In addition to its day-to-night versatility, it will work in your wardrobe throughout the winter season.
If you’re yet to dabble in the #regencycore trend, party season is your invitation to flirt with frills. Romantic details—like lavish brocades, lace trimmings, pearl embellishments and XXL bows—are giving our wardrobes the escapism we have lusted after. First ignited by Bridgerton, our fascination with all things decadent shows no sign of letting up. British designers such as Simone Rocha and Erdem are bringing the trend through to next season—opulence in the form of dramatic silhouettes and plush fabrics.
Go hard on this trend and accessorise with a pair of opera gloves and a mother-of-pearl headband. A leather biker jacket can provide a stylish juxtaposition to the softness of the look.