Yes, I know that it’s still November so the party season hasn’t quite begun in earnest for most of us yet, but I was asked to get in early with some outfit ideas. Your wish, as ever, is my command. Plus my husband turns 50 this week so I will need a party outfit. You should know by now that this blog is as much for me as it is for you.
I cannot quite get my head around the fact we are both middle-aged now (him more than me, I still have 4 and a bit years until I reach the half century mark). I vividly remember going to my Dads 50th birthday party and it feels like that was only a couple of years ago. It’s a total cliche, but time really does fly the older you get. But let’s not get too maudlin this close to Christmas, instead we shall concentrate on what to wear to a party, and it doesn’t just have to be a Little Black Dress and heels. There is plenty more things on offer.
Admittedly there is a lot of black in this post, but I always feel comfortable in black at a party. It’s classy, it’s classic and there is no fear of a red wine spillage situation just ten minutes in to the night. By all means add some sparkle. Sparkle is pretty much mandatory at this time of year.
THE MIDI BLACK DRESS
This is your classic alternative to the LBD, let’s call it the MBD. That’s not the ‘Mum’s Big Dress’, although it does give you substantially more coverage that the Little Black Dress. This tiered beaded number from & Other Stories is top of my party dress wish list. I may have to order it ‘just to see’. I would wear it with my Chloe Susanna boots as I can’t do a big heel, but would also be perfect with a strappy sandals or a pointy court shoe. Add a little bit of bling to your neck and that, for me, is party-ready. If you are OK with bare arms then this M&S dress is a great one. It’s looks much more Ulla Johnson than high street. You could also wear during the day with a black polo neck underneath.
1. Kirstie Le Marque Chunky Diamond Star Necklace
2. M&S Black and Gold Stripe Midi Dress
3. Whistles Black Alba Suede Sandals
4. & Other Stories Beaded Ruffle Midi Dress
5. Chloe Susanna Black Leather Ankle Boots
THE VELVET SUIT
I once had a purple Velvet suit, back in the mid-nineties. It was my favourite winter party outfit. These days I still favour a suit for a party, just maybe not purple. This Boden one comes in 5 colours. Navy would be my top choice. I love navy and you CAN wear it with black. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Add some gold features with a box bag and some comfortable gold sparkly shoes.
THE PARTY SKIRT
This is a great alternative to a dress and there are tons of party skirts out there this year, it was hard to narrow it down. This Boden one is my top choice, mainly because it’s navy again, we’ve already established how much I like Navy, but also because it’s a more interesting shape than most. I’d add my trusty black Tuxedo jacket. I have had mine (got in the sale from Maje) for about 6 years now and it’s always my go-to party staple as it makes anything look smarter and more party-like. Not sure Maje sell them anymore but this Karen Millen one is pretty much the same. I promise if you buy a classic, you will only ever need one tuxedo jacket in your life. They never date.
THE NICE TOP AND JEANS
Ah, the old early noughties classic ‘going out’ outfit. “What are you wearing?”, “Oh, probably just a nice top and jeans”… This time though we are replacing the skimpy handkerchief top and boot leg Seven For All Mankind jeans with a nice smart blouse and some black straight leg jeans. Add a good belt, by good I basically mean Gucci. Yes, it’s expensive but cost per wear is cheaper than Primark. My Gucci belt is now around the £1 mark. I’ve worn it so much over the past 3 years that it has totally paid for itself.
THE PATTERNED PARTY DRESS
Finally a slight twist on the MBD, still in darker tones but with a bit more interest. This Rixo dress is the dream obviously but always check out & Other Stories as they excel in good dresses. It’s the first place I look. For longer dresses I would go for a decent flat pump, my favourite being the Vivienne Westwood Roman 3 strap sandals, much imitated, never bettered. Dresses that fall mid calf, can sometimes require a heel. Maybe try a pointy boot. Which is a bit of a throwback to the days of the aforementioned boot-cut jeans, but worn with a dress (or cropped straight leg jeans) are totally now.
There are a lot of discounts going on this weekend. If you are a Sparks Card holder there is 20% off clothes in M&S. If you are a Harvey Nichols Rewards Card Member there is up to 35% off fashion today. See last post for details. Black Friday is coming up this week too. I will rehash my list of all the discounts and publish on Friday morning, so check back then if you’re after some bargains..