Party Dressing – How to Get it Right Every Time by Jo Bayley

sussan-metallic-jumpsuitIt probably seems like yesterday that Christmas party invitations were arriving a stack a minute, and here we are all over again!

By my calendar, once the fillies have raced on Melbourne Cup day it is only, what seems a few short weeks, till many of us celebrate a Joyous Noel.

This means two things, presents and parties!

This week, I thought I would wade into the sometimes murky waters of dressing for a party.

For some it’s a cinch, and others just a nightmare that won’t disappear.

The thing to do is to break it down and make it easy.

Start with these simple questions, and the answers should provide you with some clarity.

  • What is the nature of the event?
  • Where is the event being held?
  • What time of day is the function?

Strapless dressThe beauty of these questions is that all you need to do is read the invitation and the solution is there!

So say your partner’s Christmas party is an upmarket dinner at a fabulous restaurant at 8pm, what should you wear?

First thing to remember, it is not your party.

You are there to support your other half, and depending on his or her vocation, this can range from highly conservative to super relaxed.

Number one rule in any case, if it’s too short or too low cut, put it back in the wardrobe.

If it’s both, don’t even bother to take it out!

I’m loving the jumpsuit at the moment.

There are a few fabulous examples out in the boutiques that won’t break the bank.

sussan-black-jumpsuitSussan have a great one that comes in black or metallic that features a very flattering draped front V neck and a relaxed pant.

witchery-jumpsuitOr check out Witchery with it’s gorgeous strapless structured bodice, also featuring a stunning drape.

Think hair up with a jumpsuit, accessorize with fantastic statement earrings and clutch purse.

Simple yet elegant, you’re dressed to impress!

Cocktail party at one of the cities “hottest” new bars? Designer duo Ginger and Smart have you covered!

Their “Broken Beauty” strapless dress made from Italian metallic jacquard with a sports mesh overlay and black stretch crepe is a knockout!

Ginger and Smart-anodize-jumpsuit

And I’m also loving the “Anodize” jumpsuit in platinum French stripe lace and black satin crepe.

It has a fab “40’s/’70’s vibe, think Biba in it’s heyday.

This is a little more daring in it’s plunging neckline, but the cut is so classy you can get away with it.

The great thing about this label is it’s a one stop shop, with the girls now designing shoes and bags.

They even include styling tips on the website, too easy!

Or try the two piece as I mentioned last week.

With a small flash of flesh you’ll be totally on trend.

Try Manning Cartell or Bec and Bridge for a cutting edge individual style.

Heels are a must with all these looks, but remember cocktails usually equate to standing.

country-road-pinstripe-shirtdressMake sure you have a test run of the pair you wish to wear.

If you are uncomfortable, you won’t be the life of the party.

What about a family friendly picnic lunch or brunch?

Country Road are a perfect match.

Check out the clean lines of the pinstripe shirtdress, fresh as a daisy.

The stripe midi skirt pared with the black V neck bra top is a modern take on “Roman Holiday”.

country-road-skirtIf your legs are your best asset, why not try a skort?

This skirt/short hybrid is just a little more refined than the usual pair of shorts and is great if you will be relaxing on a picnic rug.

Much easier to do if you are not worrying about flashing your knickers!

I’m loving the island print teamed with fresh white, perfect for a summer picnic.

Statement sunglasses are your best accessory, and delicate jewellery if you wish.

With all these styles just throw on a neat pair of leather slides and a straw hat for fun in the sun.

raffia-shopperDon’t forget the sunscreen and bottle of water in that fringed raffia shopper or fun leaf print backpack and your good to go.

As I say with any outfit, the trick to looking great is being comfortable.

If you are comfortable, you will be confident.

This will show through in whatever you wear.

Remember, always wear the dress, don’t let the dress wear you!

And at the end of all this, if it’s fancy dress, then all bets are off.

Knock yourself out.

Have fun and enjoy the party!


Jo Bayley Fashion Elixir, Fashion Editor, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014

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