Fashion

Hillingdon Times: Ben De Lisi – satin ruffle front bandeau dress, £140 and sweetheart bag for a splash of colour, £30. Picture: Debenhams Ben De Lisi – satin ruffle front bandeau dress, £140 and sweetheart bag for a splash of colour, £30. Picture: Debenhams

IT’S PARTY time, and you don’t have a thing to wear. Well, that’s not strictly true, but you fancy something new. Here’s some inspiration for you.

Check the dress code and the venue for the party, to ensure you choose an appropriate outfit. Find out whether it’s to be festive, smart casual, lounge or cocktail.

Smart casual

Almost anything goes nowadays, so even jeans will be accepted in some cases, but these will need to be matched with a nice top. Your man might need a collared shirt rather than a tee-shirt.

Cocktail or after-5

For women it will be the Little Black Dress or something that is just above the knee. Tailored skirt suit will also be suitable, teamed with an alluring blouse. Men will be smart but not formal.

Lounge suit

A tad dressier than ‘cocktail’, women will be in elegant dresses, but that’s not to say they can’t turn heads. Men should wear a suit, shirt and tie. Suits in lighter colours are acceptable and ties can be any colour. You can always dress down when you get there, so when in doubt take a jacket and assess the situation after arrival. If you feel overdressed, ditch the tie.

Black tie or formal

Ankle-length gowns used to be the norm, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for hemlines to be creeping just below the knee, or even above. For the men, it will be a tuxedo suit or darker toned suit in charcoal or black, teamed with a crisp white shirt and black tie or bow tie. You’ll be spoilt for choice, they are so much back in fashion.

With all dess codes aim for something that has a hint of Christmas or feels festive. For example, choose a metallic colour such as silver or gold, or work with the Christmas colours such as red or green. Sequins and embellishments add a bit of festive bling.

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Not all of us is blessed with pencil-thin model figures, so here are considerations for those of us falling into the slightly larger size category.

Colour schemes can help to trim down appearance.

When choosing plus size outfits, it is best to choose deep, dark jewel tones, rather than bold or pastel ones. Pastel and bold colours will highlight extra curves. Apart from that, the bold colours will draw attention to the body – so it’s much better to be bold with make-up and accessories to highlight the fabulous features of your face and hair.

If you want to wear something that is patterned, pick the diagonal stripes or vertical designs. The lines will thin you out. If on the other hand you want to go for printed plus size evening gowns, the size can be trimmed down by small or medium-sized prints. Large prints tend to make people look – well, large.

Use a big bosom to your advantage, frankly. Draw people's attention upwards by using plus size outfits that would emphasise this asset. A peephole in the middle showing a little cleavage will do the trick. Drawing people’s eyes upwards will divert their attention from areas of your body that you would rather they didn’t focus on.

Wearing sleeveless evening gowns might be fine, as long as you are confident enough to show your limbs. However, you can opt for flowing sleeves compared to the usual long and short sleeves to hide any flabby bits. As with the neckline, choose haltered, deep, or turtle necks. These would make your neck seem long compared to the round and square lines.

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