Dress codes

What to wear on New Year's Eve

What to wear on New Year's Eve

We all have our own traditions to see in the New Year. It could be something as simple as singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ with your family or as elaborate as the Spanish who eat a grape with each bell strike at midnight. But one tradition we could quite happily do without is the annual quest for an appropriate outfit.

“The big question on New Year’s Eve parties is how smart to go,” says Thread stylist Alexander McCalla. “You don’t want to look overdone, or like you haven’t done enough. The best way to avoid that situation is to go for safe combinations, but elevate the entire outfit by playing with colour and pattern.”

As always, context is everything. So whether you’re headed to a fireworks display or popping open a bottle of bubbly at a mate’s house, we’ve got your final outfit of 2018 sorted.

For hitting the bar

Regardless of your relationship status, it’s nice to make an effort when you’re going out for drinks — especially considering the fact that even your local is ticketed on NYE. For this, Alex recommends wearing something bright but not metallic. Remember, it’s a pub, not Studio 54.

“Red is a nice statement colour without being too garish or tacky,” says Alexander. “This jumper works on its own, but the blazer just adds texture and pattern. It lets you stand out with minimal effort. The key is to go for a slightly more dressier version of your normal clothes, as opposed to buying something you’ll never wear ever again.”

For dinner with friends

So, you’ve managed to convince your friends to host a get-together on the final day of 2018. It’ll be lovely, you said. Just think of how much money you’ll save. And no crowds. And no queuing for taxis. Somehow, they’ve fallen for your patter and signed up to provide food, drinks and a clean-up service for their nearest and dearest.

The least you can do is show up with a decent bottle of champagne and an outfit that says you’ve made an effort. “Velvet is great for this time of year,” says Alexander. “If you normally wear a blazer, then upgrading the fabric isn’t too much of a stretch.” Bonus points if you reach for a richer colour, too.

“A shirt can feel a bit formal, but a long-sleeved polo sits perfectly between smart and relaxed,” says Alex. “You won’t look like you’ve come from the office if you’re wearing this with a blazer, so you can make this your date night look next year, too.”

For the no-frills get-together

This might the year that you’ve finally decided to ‘not make a big thing of it’, but that doesn’t mean you can just hang out in your pyjamas. You need an outfit that’s just as cosy, but lets the people you’re with know that you’ve chosen to spend time with them, rather than that you couldn’t be bothered to make other plans.

“A patterned jumper not only adds personality, it’s also comfortable,” says Alexander. “You won’t feel restricted like in a shirt. You want to be dressed down, but you don’t want to be practically in bed, so indigo jeans are simple and safe.” And when the cameras come out for those midnight selfies, you won’t have to hide yourself away in the back row.


Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Freddie Kemp