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How to dress for the do

Stuck for what to wear to the Christmas party? Susanna Kelly has got it covered

Published on December 9th 2008.


How to dress for the do

There’s no escaping talk of the Christmas party at this time of year. Added to this, there's no excuse for not preparing for it – you’ve had a whole year to do it.

It’s the fear, anxiety and utter panic of not finding the right outfit that prompts even the most confident dresser to perform a frenzied assault on the shops. Oh joy of shopping joys. But fear not ladies your style salvation is just a few paragraphs away.

So how do you get that show stopping, jaw dropping, double-take look?

Ditch the diet
The pre-christmas diet: it’s futile, depressing and totally un-necessary. Why subject yourself to the hell that is going without food, drink and your personality. Slip into some contour underwear before you choose your outfit and allow yourself a smug moment when you find you can wear a dress a size smaller than your usual. You’ll find everything from the waist cincher to the tummy tucker to the bottom lifter to the thigh squisher. Also don’t forget that getting a bra fitting could save you from cringing at those hideous photos the office clown is going to post on Facebook, post event. Head to John Lewis, Debenhams, M&S for a fitting and for those control knickers your boyfriend will hate (but who cares). I’ve also found the good people at Primark are now offering the miracle knicks for under a tenner.

Work those curves
The key to looking amazing is to make a simple look all about you. **WARNING** do not try and emulate the all admiring look your friend pulled off last year. She’s six inches taller than you and doesn’t have your wonderful curves. There is nothing worse than trying to squeeze into a dress that makes you look and feel like a turkey baking in its foil. If you have curves then indulge them with fabrics that drape beautifully over them.

Keep the neckline open to give that little bit of extra height but don’t be tempted to fill the space with heavy jewellery for the sake of it. Beauty lies in simplicity especially if there’s a lot of detail in the dress. Try Monsoon for some killer dresses that will turn heads.


Miss Selfridge £32


Dorothy Perkins £35


Jane Norman £85


USC £75


Topshop £35

Dramatically different
For those of you who are not as blessed in the bust department and whose shape is more angular then the dramatic looks typified by Karen Millen are a must have. You can opt for this seasons ruffles, high shine satins and sparkles to add definition and width where you need it.


Karen Millen £220


Principles £49


River Island £68


Wallis £60


River Island £48

Ditch the LBD
Was there ever a time when the fashion elite didn’t extole the virtues of the little black? The LBD is the classic icon that we have all come to love and covert. When you get the one that makes you feel like true red carpet material, it remains a loyal member of your wardrobe must-haves. Whilst I’m not here to tell you not to wear black, I am going to tell you that the secret to standing out from the crowd is to be brave and go for colour. I know, it’s scary after all you have so much that goes with black. Of course you will, because chances are that the rest of your wardrobe is predominantly black. The shops are awash with fabulous fabrics in stunning colours so don’t fade into the background when you can make an instant style statement in passionate and festive red, blue, emerald green, gold, silver. Whatever colour you choose what’s certain is that you’ll wow them.


Pearce Fonda at Debenhams £150

Love Your Legs
Girls, if you have glorious pins then for goodness sake this is your chance to show them off. If you fear your legs will blend in with the magnolia walls then treat them to a good (I repeat good) fake tan and slip into some fantastic shoes to draw all the attention to them. If you love the shape but hate the colour, fear the tan and have varicose veins for instance, then this season is all about stockings and tights and never has there been such an exciting range to choose from. Take a lust at www.mytights.com

Tights tips

  1. Good tights can have a really slimming effect (avoiding any horizontal details)so give them a test drive.
  2. Matching the colour of your tights to the colour of the dress and your shoes will make your legs look longer
  3. If you’re not wearing tights and opting for open toe shoes then treat your toe nails to a pedicure and paint – they’ll make your legs appear longer.
And finally…
Don’t forget that your super slick entrance will be nothing more than a dress in legs without attention to those two things you cant take off... your hair and skin. Countless looks have been relegated to the ghastly gallery with bad hair and drag queen make-up. Think about treating yourself to a hair mask to bring out the natural shine in your hair, a trim will put the spark back into your otherwise lifeless locks or perhaps even go for something dramatically different. No look is complete without even the smallest touch of make-up. With festive frolics to encourage you, why not add some shimmer and sparkle? Put on in the right way it’ll take years off and enhance those fabulous eyes, cheekbones and lips. Grwwww. May your Christmas be stylish, stress free and totally fabulous.
Susanna Kelly Code Image & Style Ltd.For more information on Code Imageclick here.

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Ferguson PybusDecember 9th 2008.

I would suggest that a canary-yellow morning coat with matching stovepipe hat, a white lawn shirt, a lime green satin waistcoat, a scarlet cravat and highly-polished elastic-sided boots, will make you quite the dandy, Chris old boy!

ChrisDecember 9th 2008.

Yep, for God's sake help the blokes! All i'm told is no jeans, no trainers - that rules out 95% of my wardrobe. HELP!

Professor ChucklebuttyDecember 9th 2008.

By the way, Mrs Chucklebutty bought the £150.00 Henry Fonda Spanish Lady Toilet roll cover dress from Debenhams. I can tell you now, she still looked pretty rough after she climbed out of the skip the next morning. Mind you, it had been picked up on a trailer and she was doing 70mph along the M6.

Professor ChucklebuttyDecember 9th 2008.

Lord Street, I am surprised at your comment. As many people will know, I regularly wake up in a skip, in fact for a small annual charge you can get a convenient location map from the local tourist office for all the best overnight skips including 5 star skips with a mattress and lantern. Very useful if you have had one over the 18 and can't remember where you have parked your Crossville bus. When I am out for the night I always take some wetwipes and a battery razor. So please don't tar with the same brush those who indulge in the odd skip-kip. We don't all go around looking like Storey!

silver tiaraDecember 9th 2008.

yes LORD street i totally agreee! why isnt there a tips page for men!!!!!!?

mad peteDecember 9th 2008.

Best time of the year mate! Nothing funnier than watching a bunch of fat slapper housewives trying to pull in Matthew Street. Hilarious the way they always think us lads are interested in their sweaty pudding bodies.

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