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Dress codes

How to dress for New Year’s Eve

How to dress for New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a tricky thing to get right. And we don’t just mean your outfit – there’s the location, the countdown, all those ‘happy new year’ text chains. Which is why nailing your look is so important; it’s one less thing to worry about. “Dressing up elevates your mood. And quite frankly, there aren’t that many opportunities to dress up,” says Thread stylist Alice Watt. “It lets you set the tone for the year ahead.”

But as anyone who’s made a last-minute dash to their oversubscribed local knows, preparation is vital. “First of all, work out how smart you need to be,” says Alice. “Then remember that winter dressing is tricky at the best of times – comfort and warmth should take precedence, especially if you’ll be dancing and walking home in the small hours.” Here’s how to start 2018 on a well-dressed note, with four looks to suit any dress code.

A nightclub

New Year's Eve nightclub outfit

Photographed: AllSaints leather jacket (£380); Carhartt t-shirt (£30); MVP jeans (£40); Clarks boots (£110)

The outfit: Leather jacket, black jeans, black t-shirt, black leather boots

Why it works: A nightclub on New Year’s Eve is a busy, sweaty place. But before you get in, you need to brave an hour-long wait in the cold. The best look is one that’s prepared for both. “Stick to dark colours for a packed club night,” says Alice. “There’s a high chance for spillage and sweating, so monochrome could hide any disasters.”

That doesn’t mean you have to blend in with the bouncers, though. “Leather boots make a club look smarter and they’re something that look good on guys of any age. A leather jacket is just the right amount of dressed-up, without trying too hard, and means you’ve only got one layer to put in the cloakroom.” Maybe set a little change aside for the dry cleaning, too.

A dinner party

New Year's Eve dinner party outfit

Photographed: Oliver Spencer shirt (£95); Jigsaw trousers (£120)Clarks shoes (£95)

The outfit: Grandad collar shirt, formal trousers, suede shoes

Why it works: If huge crowds and even bigger prices aren’t your idea of an ideal New Year’s Eve, then staying in can be the new going out. But your outfit can’t feel too at-home. “Almost every dinner party has a smart-casual dress code,” says Alice. “You’ll never be under- or overdressed, and there’s the added bonus of comfort.” Note that’s comfort as in some fitted chinos, rather than your jogging bottoms.

“To get it right, follow the rule of one smart item for every casual one,” says Alice. "So in this instance, a grandad-collared shirt as the less formal piece, to contrast with some pressed trousers. Then, anchor the look with a pair of suede shoes – they’re more relaxed than shinier alternatives, and again, there’s a focus upon comfort.”


New Year's Eve fireworks outfit

Photographed: Carhartt coat (£145); Officine Generale bomber (£409); Boden shirt (£55); MVP jeans (£40); Red Wing gloves (£79); Red Wing boots (£249)

The outfit: Chore jacket, indigo jeans, gilet, check shirt, work boots, gloves

Why it works: The idea of New Year fireworks is an attractive one. It’s also a very chilly one, even if you sneak in a hip flask. That means you need an outfit that will make short work of cold weather. The trick is to make practicality look stylish. “A fireworks display is a great opportunity to layer, so choose items that work together,” says Alice. “More layers also means more flexibility – you can always shed a few if you head to another party or the pub.”

But there’s an important distinction between layering up and bundling up: the former is about having the right piece in the right place; the latter about grabbing everything you could before you left the house. “Opt for textures, prints and tonal colours for a point of difference,” says Alice. "This can mix-up your look and make it look deliberate, not slapdash. It's best finished with some weatherproof, leather boots for some much-needed insulation.”

House party

New Year's Eve house party outfit

Photographed: Percival jacket (£159); Armor Lux t-shirt (£35); Edwin jeans (£140); Clarks boots (£95)

The outfit: Suede jacket, striped tee, indigo jeans, desert boots

Why it works: The term ‘house party’ is quite subjective. But if you intend mark midnight with Auld Lang Syne, and not a knock from the police, then you need something more grown-up than a t-shirt and old jeans. “Going to someone’s house mean there’s no concrete dress code,” says Alice. "That said, this is New Year, it’s a celebration and you should look your best. There’ll be lots of people and no doubt lots of photos.” The key is dressing to impress, without looking like you tried too hard.

“The easiest approach is to simply elevate your everyday look,” says Alice. “One guaranteed method is with a stand-out jacket. Colour or texture – or even better, both – really raise the bar. It can make staples in the rest of your outfit appear more considered.” In short: it’s a case of sticking to what you know, but with a little flair added to mark the occasion. Just make sure you turn up with a bottle.