In my head, my party-season look is a cross between Liberace, Celine Dion and Diana Ross—iconic, entertainer, full-on extra ensembles that leave everyone else in the shade. In reality, that kind of vibe doesn’t work for the Christmas do in the canteen or down the pub with mates, so the outfits need to be dialled down accordingly. Yes, there will still be sparkle, but it might come in the slightly more understated form of a sequined skirt with a grey cashmere knit or a pair of decorative earrings set against a simple, minimalistic bustier and jeans combination. As much as I dream of swooping in wearing a feather cape and bejewelled suit with sky-high heels, the truth is you’ll probably find me in a classic party dress with tights, modestly mid-height heels and a red lip (that soon turns to red-wine lips).
I’ve noticed that this desire for, and reliance upon, casual party outfits is omnipresent on social media. Yes, you have the people for whom every day is a fashion circus, but you also have those who have a schedule chock-full of different events and need to get dressed easily, quickly and without 50,000 different looks at their disposal. In the past week, I’ve seen a lot less gown action (bar the red carpet of the Fashion Awards) and more subdued, chic takes on after-dark dressing, like a tailored blazer and glimmering trousers, plenty of fancy skirt-and-knit pairings and a few solid “nice top and jeans” ideas that even I—a denim-phobe—could get on board with. So keep scrolling for the low-key party looks I’ll be trying for my next night out.
Style Notes: A crystal mesh top and baggy jeans have just been given the Rosie Huntington-Whiteley seal of approval.
Style Notes: The theme for loose-fitting jeans continues with this sequin top and wide-leg denim combination.
Style Notes: Alternatively, you could opt in for double denim with a great pair of earrings.
The sparkly trend all of our editors are buying into.
Look closely—they’re covered in little crystals.
These Gucci slingbacks are the party.
Style Notes: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! A grey jumper and party skirt always work, no matter the year or trends.
Style Notes: Taking things up a notch is Danielle in sparkly trousers and an oversized blazer. Just wow.
Style Notes: And combining the two—a blazer and a sparkly skirt—isn’t a bad idea either!
You’re investing in this jumper for life, not just one festive season.
You can always count on Zara for the party goods.
A smart blazer that’s cosy enough to wear out for a night.
Style Notes: An all-black ensemble and glittery boots? Count us in! These sparkly knee-highs have captured my heart.
Style Notes: Everything about this—from the patent skirt and loose jumper to the spindly heels and shoulder bag—screams yes.
Style Notes: Combining a tutu with knitwear and chunky ankle boots is an inspired move.
This handy little knit will go with so many outfits.
A grown-up kind of party skirt.
I can confirm these look just as good on IRL as they do on a screen, if not better!
Style Notes: A posh suit might look like a lot of effort, but it’s actually one of the easiest looks you can pull together for a night out.
Style Notes: Add a corsage, and you get extra points for being very 2023.
Style Notes: Look out for bold-coloured tailoring, as it requires little to no styling to look impactful.
Also great with jeans and a white tee.
When crafty microtrends pop up, head to Etsy!
Perfect for Christmas Day, too.
Style Notes: A jumpsuit look is one of the easiest to put together, especially if you opt for monochrome styling.
Style Notes: Charlotte’s silky one-piece wonder is given a down-to-earth spin with chunky boots.
Style Notes: This strapless black iteration is the epitome of elegance. Sometimes simplicity is best.
The velvet makes it feel fancy, without sacrificing comfort.
It wouldn’t be a party look without a touch of sparkle.
Dance all night long in these flats.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.