For most people, December is a month chock full of get-togethers, so much so that a flick through your diary can make you feel like a high-flying socialite. A family pub lunch here and festive cocktails with friends there, not forgetting the annual work jamboree.
This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic means that Christmas festivities as we know them have become almost obsolete. Some have been cancelled altogether, others are happening online and, for those in tier two where you can socialise outdoors with friends in groups of six, the merriments have moved al fresco.
While your plans might be up in the air, one thing we can be certain of is that the time for festive fashion is upon us and while this year’s Christmas party might be taking on an unconventional format, that shouldn’t dissuade you from getting dressed up. From sequins and feathers to full-throttle razzle dazzle, a festive outfit can be just the thing to lift your spirits, even if the only airtime it’s going to get is on Zoom.
Despite the global pandemic, it seems that many of us are still looking forward to donning our glad rags for party season. According to global fashion search platform Lyst, searches for sequin garments have risen significantly over the last two weeks, with page views currently up 165 per cent, while searches for glitter and crystal-embellished shoes have risen by 88 per cent.
But considering people have been living in loungewear for the best part of a year, don’t be surprised if you’re struggling for ideas on how to inject a bit of Christmas spirit into your wardrobe.
Whether you’re having virtual drinks, taking part in an online escape room or braving the British winter weather for some Christmas Eve cocktails, we’ve put together a range of outfit ideas that promise to solve all your festive fashion woes.
The party top
Over the last nine months, many of us have become experts in dressing for Zoom, adopting the trusty formula of wearing something fancy on top and comfy on the bottom. If you have a number of virtual gatherings lined up, you’ll do well to stick to what you know by investing in an eye-catching top like this sparkly silver turtleneck from Ioannes. It is made for video calls and pairs excellently with a super-soft satin slip skirt like this version from Weekday which features a wide elasticated waistline. Complete the look with a colourful hair accessory – we like this festive red headband from Oliver Bonas – and a pair of stylish slippers that will treat your feet to hotel-like levels of comfort.
The sequin mini dress
We haven’t been given many opportunities to get dressed up this year, and Christmas is as good a reason as any to go for full-on glamour. The beauty of staying at home over the festive period is that you don’t really need to factor in the plummeting temperatures when it comes to prepping your outfit, so if you’re looking to make a statement, this blue and purple sequinned number from Zara is an ideal choice, with its gently puffed sleeves and ruffled hem. To ensure it won’t feel overly dressy, and keep comfort levels at a high, pair it with chunky combat boots like these ones from Armani. For extra lashings of sparkle, add a rhinestone hair clip into the mix and finish with a co-ordinating eye look using Urban Decay’s Ultra Violet eyeshadow palette.
The Christmas jumper
Whether you’ll be celebrating in person or via Zoom, festive knits are a zero-fuss way to go from sofa to sartorial chic without compromising on comfort. To avoid channelling your inner Mark Darcy, steer clear of jumpers that come festooned with cartoon animals and flashing lights, and favour those in classic Fair Isle, stripes or Argyle motifs. Our top pick is this cashmere sweater from Chinti & Parker, which features a colourful pattern and can be worn with a matching pair of wide-leg pants. Team with these luxurious pink shearling slippers from Sleeper and add a pair of gold hoop earrings for a fabulous finish. If you want to dress your knitwear up a little, try layering it over a crisp white shirt.
The velvet suit
A two-piece suit is something very few of us are likely to have even considered wearing this year. But we guarantee you’ll want to make an exception for this feather-trimmed velvet version.
The ultimate in pandemic partywear, Reserved’s co-ord exudes the sort of effortless elegance one dreams of achieving each festive season. The blazer resembles a classic smoking jacket and the wide-legged trousers feature an elasticated waistband, which ensures they are comfortable as well as chic. Pair with simple black heeled mules like these ones from Jimmy Choo and a statement pair of earrings. Alternatively, you could offset the opulence with a preppy headband and some platform boots.
The statement coat
If you’re in tier two, restaurant dinners and drinks with your bubble or household have been given the all-clear but the rules stipulate that if you want to meet friends, you can only do so in groups of six and outside. If you’re not willing to let freezing temperatures stop you, finding somewhere with plenty of outdoor heaters is a must, but so is investing in a coat that promises to keep you warm without sacrificing on style.
This rainbow-hued snake-print coat from Stand is guaranteed to help you make an entrance while the plush faux shearling at the lapels and cuffs will shield you from the elements. To make your outfit extra special, wear a midi dress like this puffed sleeve one from Cos and team it with a pair of comfortable boots, like this silver pair from River Island. While we have had little use for handbags during lockdown, make sure you invest in a roomy carry-all like this one from Loeffler, which has a slouchy, gathered shape with enough space for your cardholder and keys as well as plenty of hand sanitiser.
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