We Try Before You Buy: 9 Party Outfits We Can't Wait to Wear
We Try Before You Buy: 9 Party Outfits We Can't Wait to Wear
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We Try Before You Buy: 9 Party Outfits We Can't Wait to Wear

Our We Try Before You Buy series aims to take the stress out of shopping and eliminate the number of post office visits you make each month to return failed online orders. We test new-season buys and styling ideas so you don’t have to. Here, we’re letting you know what’s actually worth investing in or styling tricks you can re-create with pieces you already own. 

The words party dressing might conjure up images of sequins and sparkly fabrics. However, it can be more than just magpie styling. The theme of this month’s We Try Before You Buy was an obvious choice, as our diaries are filling up with festive plans. We each opted for a party outfit that we would love to wear this December, finding pieces on the high street, from small independent brands and designer labels and borrowed from rental sites. Our outfits really fell into two distinct camps—strong suiting and wow dresses. 

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

There are outfits you could wear from the office to a Christmas lunch and then more statement dresses if you’re wanting to really embrace dressing up. If you’re after a really great dress, we found beautiful options from Aje via rental service Hurr, Kitri and Queens of Archive, while the best suit we found was from Zara. If you’re looking for some inspiration for party season, keep scrolling for the nine outfits we love. 

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

"I feel like I'm returning to my teenage roots with this Queens of Archive minidress," says Joy Montgomery, shopping editor. "I used to obsess over Alexa Chung's '60s-inspired style (I mean, I still do), but after a brief diversion into the world of mid-length hemlines, I am wholeheartedly re-embracing the mini's retro appeal. The balloon sleeves and dagger collar add a throwback finish (very me), and their iridescent fabric delivers plenty of glamour against the matte velvet. Best of all? This is a dress that actually looks better with tights. Simply make like Alexa and finish the outfit off with a pair of platform Mary Jane heels." 

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

"On Christmas Day, I always wear a red dress, and after the years we've had, I want to really embrace the festive season this year and wear red dresses throughout the festive period," says social media and fashion editor Zoe Anastasiou. "I love everything about this dress—the statement sleeves, the square neckline and the slit—it felt like a real knock-out dress."

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

Hannah Almassi says, "Leopard. Leopard print is a classic party-dressing trend, and we're often warned about playing it safe with this pattern to look chic, but there's something about this loud, velvety, poufy number that really speaks to my inner show-off! I adore the '80s-inspired silhouette, belted waist and dramatic puff shoulders. Sure, it doesn't have to be worn with equally out-there shoes (and would look great with simple black heels), but I felt it deserved that kind of styling."

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

"I love a suit, and December seems like the perfect time to take this one step further and add a waistcoat into the mix too," says Emma Spedding, editor. "I love how put-together this looks but how the velvet and fit make it really comfortable and feel much more relaxed than a sequin dress. I opted for a simple gold chain bracelet, but next time I'd up the drama of this look and add a pair of OTT earrings."

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

"For my party look, I wanted to make this stunning asymmetric double-breasted blazer by Janashia the star of the show," says Remi Afolabi, video content creator. "I couldn't resist the extravagant yet chic details on it. I decided to go for dark trousers and shoes to let the blazer do all the talking and added a sequin bag for some extra glam."

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

"I have a real soft spot for Omnes's slinky slip dresses, and as soon as I saw this violet midi, I knew I had to wear it. The strappy tie-up detailing on the back is beautiful, and I love how the colour is an unusual choice for winter," says Anastasiou. 

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

"When I saw this green tie-dye dress from Aje on Victoria Prew, the co-founder and CEO of rental site Hurr, I knew I had to have it, or should I say rent it? This dress would be too expensive or statement for me to actually purchase, but occasionwear is really where rental comes into its own. I made this dress feel more 'London' by pairing it with chunky boots and opaque tights," says Spedding.

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

"When it comes to party dressing, I think that, at heart, I am a suit gal. I will always appreciate the beauty of a satin gown or retro mini, but I think I will always feel my best, and most stylish, in clean-lined tailoring. This showstopping blazer from Aje comes with matching trousers, but I wanted to give it room to breathe, so I styled it with a classic pair of black cigarette trousers from Cefinn—it really helped the jacket to pop. With padded shoulders and a dramatic cut-out back, I felt ready to hit the red carpet. All it needs is a dash of metallic via a silver mini bag I rented on Hurr," says Montgomery.

Photo:

Morgane Maurice

"I'm always searching for those after-dark looks that can work in the daytime as well, as I like to get plenty of mileage out of everything in my wardrobe," says Almassi. "The good thing about this Rixo set is with a little autumnal styling, you can just about get away with wearing it to the office as is. Maybe the neckline was a liiittle bit low for meetings, but I could always layer a cami or crop top underneath."

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