With Christmas now just around the corner, the party season is officially here – and most of us have at least one ‘do’ to go to. But finding that perfect outfit to wear can be something of a mission, as every girl knows.
It starts with a mental inventory of your wardrobe, wondering if there’s anything in there you can press into service. After all, Christmas shopping doesn’t leave much room in the budget for splurging on new clothes. But then, as you go through the options you realise: that doesn’t fit, you wore that one last year, you have no shoes to go with that one, and as for that one – well, what were you thinking??
There’s no getting away from it, it just has to be a new dress. And this is such a perfect time of year for party dress shopping. After all, the sparkly season is one of the few times you can justify an outfit that’s just a bit more eye-catching than usual…. and for many of us it may be the only time we’ll even contemplate wearing a dress. Whether it’s shiny satin, daring hemlines, sparkly sequins or sweeping empire lines, the perfect party dress will make your evening go with more of a bang.
1. Check out what the celebs are wearing
A good place to start is the celebrity style websites - check out what’s in style based on those in the know. Most celebrity style filters down to the high street pretty quickly, so what Alexa Chung and Kate Middleton are wearing to wow the photographers can usually be found on the high street at prices that won’t totally wreck your budget.
2. Think about your body shape and your colouring
Not all outfits suit every shape, and one of the biggest fashion mistakes is following the latest fads without having someone sanity-check whether that cherry red number works with your peachy skin (it won’t), and whether that clingy bandeau is just a tad too clingy (especially after a few mince pies). Different shaped dresses flatter different figures, depending on what you want to show off (and what you want to hide), so don’t buy without giving it some thought.
3. Go for something different
Buying a party dress should be a chance to try something new – so if you’ve got a similar piece in your wardrobe already, don’t buy it! The classic example is moving away from black. Yes, that little black dress is still a fashion favourite, but let’s look for something a bit more show-stopping this holiday season, shall we? You don’t have to go completely wild – just look for something you wouldn’t normally go for; try a different colour, different fabric or different shape.
4. Browse the fashion websites
Before you set out on foot, do yourself a favour and take a look at what’s available from the comfort of your sofa – starting with your favourite brands, and using some of the brilliant comparison sites to see what else is out there you wouldn’t normally find. But do remember – the photos show dresses on women with figures most of us can only dream of, so don’t forget to consider how it will actually look on you.
5. Hunt for EBay bargains
If budget is an issue or if your designer tastes aren’t matched by a suitably hefty paycheck, then EBay is a must for picking up party dress bargains. There are literally thousands available, most of them going for a song. Admittedly you can’t try on before you buy (usually a must, unless you’re an absolutely classic standard dress size), but if it doesn’t work out, you can always sell it on again.
6. Hit the high street
Of course, once you’ve done the research, nothing beats a good trip to the high street – you can touch, you can try, you can take a friend for that all important second opinion… and when you’re finished you can reward yourself with a glass of mulled wine in the pub before heading home with your sparkly new party dress.
Katie Theisinger is an experienced fashion writer, web designer, blogger and frequent contributor to fashion trends at Café La Moda. Written for those who love fashion and beauty, she hopes this article can help get you through the party season and leave you looking and feeling fabulous … enjoy!