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Christmas Party Outfit Ideas for Every Dress Code​

Feature: Quick Read
Words by Eleanor Hibberd

As the invitations roll in, managing your calendar becomes an Olympic sport over party season – a feat that’s made all the more complicated by the range of outfits required to navigate office parties, formal balls, New Year’s Eve blowouts and more. These are the three main dress codes that will see you through.

What to Wear to a Cocktail Party

More polished than partywear without feeling overly formal, the cocktail-party dress code hits the sweet spot for all elegant soirées. It is, of course, synonymous with the cocktail dress – a somewhat elusive term used to describe anything shorter than a gown that still feels appropriate for an elevated evening affair. On the question of midi or mini, both are viable – though if you opt for something particularly thigh-grazing, try balancing it out with long sleeves or an oversized blazer to avoid drifting into night-out territory. If dresses aren’t your thing, tailoring is always a sophisticated alternative, whether it’s an androgynous tuxedo (Parisian-style) or souped-up suiting in sequins and metallic touches.

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Model wearing smart white trousers, chiffon ruffled white top and leather black long jacket
What to Wear to a Smart-Casual Party

Though formality is no requirement here, rest assured that the festive season still invites plenty of pizzazz – and anything can be elevated with the addition of a sequin or feather. A good selection of going-out tops, statement trousers and sleek slip skirts will go a long way for mixing and matching when you’re hopping between parties. As the name suggests, smart-casual is all about balance – tone down your sequinned skirt with a casual knit, jazz up your jeans with a touch of sparkle or slacken your tailored trousers with a fabulous top. When in doubt, remember – come Christmas, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

What to Wear to a Black-Tie Party

A black-tie invitation is a coveted thing come Christmastime, so you’ll need an outfit that’s worthy of the occasion. The key? More is more – this is no time to be a wallflower. Leave pastels and florals for summer and embrace embellishment, metallic sheens and wintry colours like icy silver, midnight blue and emerald green. No strangers to a red carpet, the likes of Maticevski, Elie Saab and Jenny Packham will show you the way in dreamy tulle ball gowns and sparkling evening dresses.

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Black Tie outfits at a party

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