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Christmas Glamour

Choosing the right outfit for a Christmas party or a big function that requires formal dress must be one of the most challenging dressing dilemma’s we face.  If like me your opportunities to get dressed up to the nines are few and far between then when the occasion does present itself you want to look and feel your absolute best! When choosing your dress, there are the obvious things to consider such as the venue, is it formal or relaxed and of course the dress code, is it cocktail dress or a white tie formal affair?

After you’ve established those things, where do you go next? A lot of us trawl through internet sites or stores in a haphazard way, getting frustrated because you can’t decide which dress would work and often leave shopping trips empty handed or with a last minute panic buy. A really useful way I work with my clients when choosing event outfits is to get them to think about how they want to appear and feel in the outfit. A really good way to do that is to think of an adjective to describe your dress. At the risk of sounding like a bossy English teacher, this really does rationalise the choice and narrows down your options making finding THE dress so much easier! For example, classic, sexy, trendy, demure, feminine, … are all descriptions that spring to mind. Another useful thing to do is think of adjectives that describe how you DON’T want to appear, Boring, frumpy, safe, mumsy etc…

This year Harvey Nichols have the best selection of party dresses out there and I have chosen some cocktail dresses and ball gowns to suit different moods each matched with an appropriate adjective so you can home in on the right one for the look you are going for this year;

Cocktail Dresses


This red lace pencil dress by Preen is an excellent stand-out Cocktail option. Michelle Obama wore one of Preen’s dresses this year on her trip to the UK, a much more demure version  but still very stylish.


If the look you are aiming for is trendy and ‘stand-out’ then this gorgeous printed silk dress by J.W.Anderson is a very good option. The off shoulder styling is very ‘now’ and is sexy in an understated way.


This LBD although demure and ladylike is far from boring due to the asymmetric cut of the hem. Roland Mouret does beautiful tailoring which works very well for curvy women.

Relaxed and Natural

For those of you who don’t like being seen as trying too hard and like to feel comfortable in whatever you wear then this is the dress for you. The bright colour is great for a party, the satin material and cut smart enough to elevate it from day wear and the cut means you don’t need to suck your tummy in and can enjoy the mince pies!


The floral print of this Gucci dress and the floaty fabric definitely put this into the feminine category. The style of the dress is quite edgy which keeps it from being too girly and makes it more grown-up. So if feminine is the look you are trying to achieve then this is the best dress I’ve seen this season.

Formal Ball Dresses


A formal ball has a stricter dress code but by no means do you have to leave all your sense of style at home. This fushia, one-shoulder cape gown by Jill Jill Stewart is a brave and stylish ball option


Two looks rolled into one here with this Maria Lucia Hohangold gold silk tulle gown. It’s quite a traditional gown but the shoulder cut and high leg split make it sexy too.


This red lace dress by Diane Von Furstenberg is stunning. The dress is quite covered up so pretty formal in it’s design and the fishtail hem adds to its classic design. The lace material makes it interesting and of course the colour is perfect for a special Christmas occasion.

Lisa Gillbe is a Personal Stylist and Image Consultant based in London. Visit her website here to find out about her personal shopping and special event packages to help you find the perfect Christmas outfits

Noir Sachin & Babi black embroided mesh dress £895Laurel at Harvey Nichols - Orange satin and crepe dress £280J.W.Anderson at Harvey Nichols - Printed off-the-shoulder silk dress £705