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10 Things You Need to Dress Up a Party Outfit

Feature: Quick Read
Words by Eleanor Hibberd

The festive season is all about decoration, and that doesn’t stop at your Christmas tree. If you’re hopping between back-to-back soirées, you’ll need a few essentials on hand to get you party-ready faster than you can say “RSVP”. From bijou bags to bejewelled heels and after-dark make-up, consider this your festive checklist.

1. A Party Bag

Jimmy Choo, Judith Leiber, L’alingi… Forget your plus-one: these are the names you’ll want to have on your arm during party season. From beautifully embellished clutches that will liven up an LBD to classic black evening bags that go with everything, always have one to hand to elevate your look – whatever the dress code.

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2. Evening Shoes

You shall go to the ball! Whether you’re wearing a party dress, an elegant suit or jeans and a nice top, everything falls into place the moment you slip on the right shoes. You can’t go wrong with classic black heels from the likes of Saint Laurent and Amina Muaddi – but ’tis the season to sparkle, so don’t miss the opportunity to go all out with glittering pairs from Roger Vivier, Christian Louboutin and more. High heels will always be elegant, but this year sees ballet flats and micro heels step into the spotlight, too – good news for your metatarsals.

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Silver crystal-embellished kitten heel shoes by Roger Vivier

3. Statement Jewellery

Every Christmas party should have a surplus of glitter – which jewellery delivers in its finest form. Chunky diamond-dusted chains, layered necklaces, chandelier earrings and twinkling cocktail rings all offer delectable decoration to your partywear, whether it’s diamond frosting from Yeprem or colourful pops of enamel from Melissa Kaye. Better yet, make an appointment at Maria Tash to have an expert curate your perfect earring stack for the season.

 

Related reading: Party Jewellery to Wear to Every Festive Occasion

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White-gold earrings with round and marquise-cut diamonds by Yeprem

4. Hair Baubles

When you don’t have time to spend on the perfect tousled waves or an elegant up-do, hair accessories can do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to looking party ready. From Blair Waldorf-inspired headbands to glittering barrettes, oversized scrunchies and elegant ribbons, any one of these adornments will give your tresses an instant uplift when you’re in a hurry.

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Triangular silver metal hair clips by Prada with engraved logo

5. After-Dark Eyeshadow

Party season is no time for minimalism, and that goes for your make-up, too. Think of it as an accessory – a wintry metallic palette, a smattering of glitter or a sultry smoky lid will make any outfit feel dressier, and are more at home under a disco ball than your everyday cat-eye. Mini quads and eyeshadow sticks are perfect for on-the-go touch-ups.

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Eye-shadow palette by Tom Ford with bronze, metallic teal, dark blue and smoky black colours

6. A Bold Lip

Red lips and little black dresses; sequins and lip gloss – some things are sacred. The transformative power of a lacquered lip will immediately shift you into gear for party season, and it’s the quickest way to upgrade your make-up when time is tight. Rushing from a casual dinner to cocktails? Add a swipe of lipstick. Matte, high-shine, shimmer or full-on glitter – anything goes, as long as it adds drama.

 

Related reading: Make-Up Looks for Every Party Occasion

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Nars Afterglow lip gloss in shimmery pink shade called Orgasm

7. Prep, Prime and Set

If you’re planning to put your make-up through its paces on the dancefloor, the most important components of your festive cosmetics bag will be an ironclad primer and setting spray. As we’re talking party, pick a primer that has illuminating undertones for extra radiance – but most importantly, it needs staying power. A good setting spray, too, will not only lock in your hard work, but can help refresh your make-up and provide a hit of moisture down the line.

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YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer and Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray

8. Party-Proof Underpinnings

Party season invites all manner of fabulous dresses into our wardrobes, and good shapewear can help us feel supported and secure in them throughout the night. Full bodysuits, sculpting briefs, smoothing shorts or strapless bandeaus – what lies beneath can be just as important as your final look. Look to Skims, Wolford and Spanx to find solutions for every dress style, body shape and skin tone.

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Seamless Sculpt High-Waist Briefs by Skims

9. DIY Hair Tools

As much as we would love to precede every party with an appointment at Drybar, time is not always on our side at Christmas. Though nothing compares to a professional blow-dry, the dizzying array of tools at our disposal make it easier than ever to fake it at home. Hot brushes, curling tongs, blow-dry brushes – the kit to choose depends on the look you want to achieve, but you can’t beat a pair of straighteners for versatility and ease, whether you want a finish that’s sleek and straight or soft and wavy. Our tip? Invest in a cordless pair for touch-ups on the go when there’s no time to dash home.

 

Related reading: 5 Simple Hairstyles for Party Season

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GHD Cordless Straighteners

10. A Sultry Scent

Invisible but essential, fragrance is the final touch, yet arguably one of the most important – the right scent will set the mood for your evening. Opt for headier, more sensual notes such as musk, woods, and ouds with a long-lasting silage that will last you through the night and leave a trail of compliments in your wake.

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Dolce & Gabbana Devotion Eau de Parfum
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