Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Latest Issue


Christmas & New Year 2017

Stephanie Berkeley presents her Christmas Collection...

I know it’s not very cool to admit to liking a Christmas party but who ever accused me of being cool? Really cool people roll their eyes and make snide remarks about photocopiers when the date for the office Christmas party is revealed, me? I start my countdown…

I love a Christmas party. Christmas parties are about having fun, not about posing and being cool. This is possibly why cool people don’t like them, come to think of it. A festive dress-up is the best kind: indulgent and glamorous as opposed to formal or provocative. Anything that requires Spanx or a NASA designed strapless bra situation can wait until New Year’s Eve, thank you very much. The best Christmas party outfit can transform demure you into a glamazon and tired, five o’clock you into a sparklier, twinklier eight o’clock version of yourself.

That said, this is the one event of the year that can bring on a case of the style wobbles for even the most confident and stylish of dressers. How do you find the perfect outfit for the office Christmas party that says, “Cool and glamorous, but still professional and fun?”

A tall order, isn't it? This is why the Christmas party is such an incredibly stressful, sartorial challenge for most of us. We not only want to look appropriately dressed – not sticking out like a sore thumb amongst our colleagues – we want the room to admire the elegant creature we have kept hidden beneath our workwear for the past year, Pretty but aloof. This should lead you to a nice wrap-over dress with very slight cleavage paired with knee boots or pointed pumps; a skirt and top combo; or a tuxedo-influenced jumpsuit, trouser suit or dress.

“Are you feeling okay Berkeley?” I hear you say… “Since when have you ever played it safe?” The fact is never! I have never met a sequin that I didn’t like and this Christmas I fully intend to wear sequins, satin and feathers, possibly all together and possibly at lunchtime. But if high-octane isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a party look. Allow me to elaborate:

For a Christmas dress the turkey rule applies; legs or breast but never both! Remember it’s winter, it’s cold and it’s Northern Ireland so what better excuse is there to embrace this season’s over-the-knee boot trend? OTK boots have had an unfairly bad rap. Yes, it may be easy to veer into Pretty Woman territory, but the fact that designers and high street stores continue to produce them year after year must say something. River Island have some stylish embellished T-shirt shift dresses which, when paired with OTK boots put a modern slant on Christmas party dressing.

Sequins always make a major statement. If you're going to bite the bullet and go for a dress covered in bling from top to bottom, opt for one that
a. Doesn't have an overly trendy silhouette.
b. Sticks with one colour (black, gunmetal grey and navy are all classically gorgeous).
c. Fits you. People are definitely going to be looking at you when you're covered in sparkles, and you don't want their first thought to be, "Couldn't she find a few more inches of fabric?"

Skirt and Top
Separates are a great way to create your own bespoke partywear and to stand out from the crowd. Pairing something uber-glam, like a sequined jacket, with something totally casual, like distressed jeans, is a very modern way to do sparkle. Ditto, a demure blouse with a chic sequined pencil skirt like the M&S Collection one. For those of us obsessed with price per wear, this is also a very versatile look; the skirt would look equally great with a cashmere jumper and knee boots and the blouse would be stunning paired with skinny leather leggings and black heels.

The tuxedo is a classic piece that’s been around forever, but the great thing about it is that with each season, new (and amazing) ways to wear it emerge! From the full trouser suit look rocked by the gorgeous Emma Willis for Next to the sold out Zara metallic sequin tuxedo dress, the tuxedo in all its incarnations is every woman’s wardrobe style staple!

The Finishing Touches
Nothing screams misplaced like lugging a huge handbag into a party. It messes with your outfit balance and makes you look and feel like you should be back in the office. Leave all your ‘getting ready’ kit somewhere safe. Ditto your laptop and gym gear because let’s face it: you are not going to spin class tomorrow morning before work. Jettison the clunky extras and head out with a small clutch. All you need are your phone, your credit card, your house keys and lippy.

On the subject of make-up, it is said that men don’t notice make-up, but the truth is that they notice it when it’s wrong. It is also proven that most men don’t like bold red lipstick, but then we girls really dress for ourselves and to impress other women too.

You probably already know what your night out make-up looks like – perhaps it’s another layer of mascara and curled lashes, or perhaps it is full, contour brows on fleek or a strong red lipstick. My advice is to aim for a look which is somewhere between ‘everyday office’ and your usual ‘night out’ look. This is not the time for extremes, or experimentation. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and opt for less. Let the rest of your outfit do the talking.

Now you look great, feel comfortable and know you are ready to rock your office Christmas party! Just steer clear of the photocopier, go easy with the free prosecco, avoid the shots and have a memorable evening – for all the right reasons!

Follow Stephanie on Instagram - Bladonbabe

The Berkeleys
Sequin Skirt £45 and blouse £35; M&S
Tuxedo Slouch Trousers £30, Jacket £50 and sheer shirt £26; Next
Sequin Embellished T-shirt Shift Dress £65, River Island
Metallic Sequin Dress £79.99, Zara

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