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What to wear during party season

What to wear during party season

“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?” Yep, we hear them loud and clear. Christmas is well on its way, and with the festive season comes festive happenings. This is a time to be joyous and convivial, to raise your glass to the past year, and welcome in the new one. 

Over the next few months, you’ll likely be working your way through a slew of festive events, from black tie soirées that call for your finery to cosy pub catch-ups with school friends (who you definitely want to impress, but oh so subtly). Whatever your merry shindig might be, we’ve got you covered with four seasonal yet stylish looks to guide you through the party season.

A black tie event

Got a black tie event in the diary? Lucky you, Mr. Swish! All champagne flutes and canapés, black tie events present a more upscale vibe. Naturally, this means you’ll have to rise to the occasion and dust off your formalwear. We know a decent tuxedo can be pricey for just one wear – even if you’re renting – so why not try an alternative ‘black tie’ look that observes the dress code without blowing your Christmas gift budget? 

For this look, opt for clean-cut black trousers, a black roll neck and polished black derbys, and finish it off with a key investment piece: a velvet jacket. A luxury fabric that oozes festive charm, velvet will immediately elevate your outfit without the potential discomfort (and cost) of a full tux. You can even have a little fun and go double-breasted, or reach for a rich, wintery colour like bottle green, burgundy, or aubergine.

A smart-casual affair

The ever-elusive ‘smart-casual’ dress code isn’t as easy to meet as it sounds. When a dress code calls for ‘smart-casual’, you can sway along the spectrum as you please, as long as you maintain some form of refinement.

A corduroy suit in a festive, earthy green layered over a casual tee ticks every box. The casual element comes through with the inherently laid-back feel of a t-shirt, while the luxurious nature of soft corduroy, the double-breasted structure of the blazer, and the matching tailored trousers take care of the ‘smart’ element. When it’s time to bust a move or two, just remove the jacket and you’ll be as comfortable as if you were in jeans. Finish with a pair of brogues – the pinnacle of smart-casual footwear.

A no-dress-code night

Technically, an event with no dress code means you can dress however you please, but we advise that you still make a bit more effort than your standard jeans-and-trainers combo. After all, it’s Christmas. If you sway towards casual dressing, swap your jeans for relaxed trousers, and forgo a formal Oxford shirt in favour of a long sleeve polo. The collar lends a smart-ish feel without looking as formal as a shirt. 

Low-key neutral shades and navys allow you to err on the side of classic and refined, breaking away from your everyday dressing in a way that appears effortless and feels more comfortable. If you normally wear trainers, there’s no reason why you can’t continue doing so. Just keep them minimal, clean, and white to maintain a little smartness.

A festive pub gathering 

Let’s face it, during the holiday season we’re all in the pub come sundown – it’s an unspoken rule. Whether you’re catching up with old school mates (and dodging your ex) in your hometown local, or grabbing a few with your colleagues before everyone disappears until the New Year, you’ll likely find yourself in a number of scenarios that involve seasonal socialising. 

In this instance, feel free to be a little experimental. Winter doesn’t mean only wearing dark hues and heavy fabrics. Check is a pretty festive pattern despite being worn all year round, so investing in a printed jacket is a foolproof tip for the season. Wear this with a colourful tee – maybe even a pastel shade so long as it doesn’t clash – and a pair of jeans or chinos. It's as easy as raising a glass.


Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Photography: Mark Sanders
Styling: Millie Rich
Styling assistant: Alexander McCalla