A Busy, Modern Girl's Dos and Don'ts for Party Dressing

Why do women get so hot and bothered about Christmas party dressing? All you need to do is throw on a showstopping jumpsuit, a sculptural single earring and your new strappy sandals, right? If you want to spend your entire evening in utter discomfort and misery, then yes. You see, normal clothes take on entirely new meanings when the weather’s cold and the booze is flowing. That jumpsuit will be your worst nightmare when you have to spend 10 minutes in a tiny pub cubicle twisting out and then back into it. Oh, and those precious new sandals? One outing to a cocktail bar where the floor is sticky with spilt drinks and they’ll be ruined for good. Sick of being too cold or flashing your knickers?

Read on for our 12 styling tips that will have you acing the party dressing stakes.

1. Don't wear giant metal earrings on a subzero evening because your ears will freeze.

Metallic ear adornments will feel like icicles hanging from your head, so keep them strictly for indoors come party season. Having said that, there’s no need to go naked in that department. Something with tassels or feathers will look fabulous—and won’t alter your body temperature in the slightest.

2. Do wear eye-boggling prints to a raucous event—spilt drinks won't show up.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every friendship group has a member who’s a complete liability when they have a drink in their hand. Perhaps it’s you, which means there’s never been a better time to invest in party dresses that are covered in wallpaper florals, zany spots, zigzagging stripes or all the above.

3. Do dress like a human disco ball because sequins are everywhere right now.

It can’t have escaped your notice that sequins—in all their tacky, twinkling glory—are everywhere right now. Fledgling designer Michael Halpern has single-handedly brought back disco with his kick-flare trousers and bodice blouses that are covered in rainbows of paillettes, but the high street has plenty of spangled options for all you glitterbugs on a smaller budget.

4. Don't wear a jumpsuit if your bladder control is zero—you'll spend the whole night in the loo.

If one beer breaks the seal, it’s time to give up wearing jumpsuits. On the other hand, if you wear a boilersuit with a T-shirt underneath, you could always tie the arms around your waist and presto—you’ve got yourself some party pants.

5. Do wear a bralette under a tuxedo jacket—but only with millennials, lest people think you have short-term memory problems.

All the cool girls seem to be forgoing their blouses for bra tops, but do consider your audience before following their lead. An under-30s house party? Fine. Drinks on Christmas Eve in your village hall? Less fine. Choosing a double-breasted tuxedo blazer will mean that you can always button up if you feel a little, well, exposed.

6. Do accessorize your barnet with something Mrs. Claus–friendly; it is Christmas, after all.

What other time of year is it acceptable to slap a giant poinsettia on your ballerina bun? Don’t go for something like a red headband with a sequin Santa Claus hat on top. A few tasteful blossoms will do nicely.

7. Do cover up your pins with thigh-high Pretty Woman boots—calves covered in goose pimples ain't pretty.

The trend for boots that are suctioned to the leg and stop at the upper thigh is one for this time of year. You might hate opaque tights and think you can brave bare legs all through Christmas party season, but hypothermia begs to differ. All you need to keep warm in your minidress is a pair of thigh-highs that only flash a foot of bare skin.

8. Don't wear sunglasses indoors—everyone will think you're either pretending to be Anna Wintour or epically hungover.

Only the editrix of American Vogue can get away with tinted glasses when there’s nary a sunbeam outside. If you really are nursing a sore head—and your skin has the telltale greyish pallor that comes from too many tequila shots—then a pinky-peach blusher rubbed vigorously onto cheeks will soon mean you rejoin the land of the living.

9. Don't wear shoes you're precious about because they will get grimy AF.

Satin mules, jacquard loafers, suede pumps—all of them are going to get totally trashed at almost all party venues that aren’t five-star hotels or pristine penthouse apartments. Instead, choose footwear that you can either wipe clean post-pub (patent leather is your friend here) or is so dark in colour that it can take a stain or two.

10. Don't carry a giant tote because everyone—I repeat everyone—you're with will say, "Oooh, can I just slip my purse into your bag?"

You don’t have time to swap your work tote for an evening-appropriate pouch, so all night you get freeloaders—I mean friends—trying to dump their crap in it. Not this year. Downsize to something perfectly dainty that just has room for a phone, card and tube of lipstick (all of which belong to you).

11. Don't be tempted to wear a cashmere jumper to a club, because the central heating will get you.

If you really can’t brave the journey to your cocktail party without something warm and cosy, then at least have the sense to wear something underneath. That way you can arrive, and as soon as it gets too balmy—give it 10 minutes—you can whip it off and reveal a cool slogan tee underneath.

12. Don't do a leg slit (unless you’re a professional like Tamu McPherson) because you will flash your pants after too many proseccos.

Seriously a thigh-high split is fine and dandy when you’re practising your leg pop from the safety of your bedroom. It’s an entirely different story when you’re several cocktails down and trying to put one foot in front of the other. Opt instead for an asymmetric hemline—entirely foolproof as long as you make sure the skirt isn’t tucked into your knickers after popping to the loo.