Tis’ the Season to Party, but What’s the Dress Code?

lifestyle nichola english the dressing room the retreat Nov 19, 2021

By Nichola English.

You can feel a change in the air. The nights are drawing in, hot chocolate and mince pies are on the menu, and that festive feeling is upon us. It's the time of year again to party like you've never partied before.

Time to wave goodbye to evenings on the sofa with your favourite novelty PJ's, get those golden invitations open and fill in your social party calendar with work parties, black tie events and family gatherings.

One of those million-dollar questions clients and friends ask me at this time of the year is, What should I wear?

It can be daunting when invites request festive, come as you are, or black-tie; after all, choosing an appropriate outfit while still being your fabulous self can be a challenge in itself. So, whether you're into full length dressing up, cocktail dressed or festive novelty jumpers, when the invitation arrives, you need to take the confusion and stress out of party season dressing.

I've created a handy little breakdown guide of special occasion dressing, but keep in mind, you've got to do YOU! and only opt for pieces you feel most confident in.


Black Tie

In an old-style fashion sense, black-tie originally was all about wearing something black, and many still do follow that dress code; however, this style has evolved through the years to see more colourful attire attend so-called black tie events. The best way to navigate the dress code is to think glamour. Floor-length hemlines, luxurious fabrics like velvet, lace or sequin, simple, feminine, elegant silhouettes and silk tailored trouser suits. Remember to add some status glamour accessories to the trouser suit options too.


Cocktail Time

When it comes to cocktail glamour, think of shorter-length dresses, such as the "LBD" little black dress. These dresses will always be your safe go-to item; plus, a shorter hemline is the perfect opportunity to show off killer statement shoes. Even separates like full skirts and blouses can give a modern twist to cocktail dressing. Dressy playsuits and jumpsuits also work fabulously if paired with statement heels. When selecting your accessories, choose pieces that reflect your classic, creative, or chic outfit.


Come As You Are

This dress code can be very confusing and is certainly open to interpretation. Let me explain; it's casual but not too casual. A fail-safe formula would be an effortless dress with simple sandals, or a blazer, statement blouse with black jeans. I would suggest against arriving in your slippers and sweatpants. Leave them at home. Confidence is the best accessory, and if you feel great, you will look good, so wear whatever makes you feel at your best in the come as you are invite.


Festive Office Party

Ditch the work bag and day clothes and bring the sparkles and sequins out of hibernation. Office parties equate to fun, so get ready to show off your sophisticated fashion credentials. Look for chic shades of grey, silver, green and red or have some fun and go metallic mad instead! Dress up your LBD with a sequin blazer, or as a streamlined alternative to a dress, try a statement blouse and pencil skirt with a fabulous pair of heels and a clutch. Don't forget to add some bling!


Holiday Festive Gatherings

There's always the fun, festive jumpers to wear at family gatherings. The idea here is to keep the look fun and relaxed with combinations of cosy knits with sequin skirts, wide-leg trousers or dark jeans. Cable knit jumpers with boots and skinny jeans for country festivities are an ideal dress code for a hot toddy at the pub, or cold country walks on Christmas day.


Final Thoughts!

Don't feel inhibited or stressed about the festive dress codes. If in doubt, double-check the dress attire, plan your outfit ahead of time, even down to the underwear. That way, you'll feel relaxed and ready to rock & roll your glitz and glamour.


 Nichola English is addicted to fashion. From an early age picking out clothes for friends and family, she always had an eye for style which only expanded as she got older, eventually creating her business, The Wardrobe Provocateur. 

Nichola adores working with women (and men) across the world discovering personal style, reinventing that old tired wardrobe and realising new confidence and vitality through coaching, shopping and good old clearing out of the old. You can read her full story of becoming The Wardrobe Provocateur here. 





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