We’ve reached the time of year when those two tiny words—festive dressing—that bring me to a state of extreme anxiety, contrast sharply. Need we? Need I? In a month, my daughter will once again squeeze herself into a unicorn-themed sweater on “Christmas jumper day,” and commuters from the surrounding areas will clog All Bar Ones with their “jolly” grocery sweaters.
Now that I’ve got that whinge out of my system, I shall aim to be of some use. What to do about it all… In the spirit of never keeping anything for the best and making the most out of all wardrobe items owned, I favour the mix-and-match method. Or, for want of a trending phrase – the wrong fashion formula.
This is not a new concept. Fashion types have always subscribed to the idea that to make your outfit interesting or in any way cool, you need to throw something off. It’s why you have trainers with suits, which is that bit more nonchalant than a loafer; it’s a ballgown worn with chunky boots at lunch, Luxx-y looking statement jewellery with a cosy cardigan, a parka over a party dress. It’s very Jenna Lyons, of Housewives of New York current fame, and something she made A Thing in her previous life overseeing J. Crew.
Which brings me to this season’s saviour — the maxi cocktail skirt. When it comes to party dressing – especially the mid-week variety- a good skirt comes into its own, and can be a lot more useful than a dress. Really – who has time to change? Wearing a crazy dress all day can make you feel a bit Strictly (and not in a good way). A skirt can be happily paired with a jumper, under which you may pop a simple vest if the heat rises in your evening venue. See incoming British Vogue chief, Chioma Nnadi, who wore a riveted Tory Burch maxi skirt with a grungy red knit to Burch’s party at the American embassy last week. Perfection. Note also the silver shoe and bag which neatly ties it all together. It’s giving low-key dressed-up, which feels just right for now.
There are racks of shiny pleated midi skirts around, but I would avoid, feeling a bit staid. However, I’m very into a slinky satin just off the floor- maxi. Ghost has issued a new longer-length version this season – the Adrianna (£95, ghost.co.uk) of which I am living in the black, but considering the cream one too. It’s as good with the matching tunic top, as a T-shirt and knit tank top.
If you must sequin, then get in line on Thursday for H&M’s Paco Rabanne collaboration. Its gold skirt (£189.99, hm.com) with graduated circle sequins is quite fabulous. As is Wiggy Kit’s new party collection, the resort wear supremo’s first venture into after dark. The result is rather delicious, not least her black and white houndstooth option (£475, wiggykit.com) and rainbow striped sequin wrap skirt (£495). I’d also hard recommend Whistles’ sequin silver number which is just the right shade of subtle sparkle (£139) and will look great with many knit options – I’m into Zara’s striped one (£35.99) which would throw it off nicely. Employ the wrong shoe, too. I like the idea of heft-ing it up with a Dr Martens boot, equally, if I’ve not convinced you, the silver boot is about to have another seasonal moment. Aeyde’s chunky heeled ones (£445) will see you through.