How to keep your cool this Yule: every look you need for the party season

  • by IMAGE

SUZIE COEN deconstructs the festive fashion code.

I always find Christmas the hardest time of year to dress for. The preamble of parties and lunches is a doddle –there are plenty of glam options available for day or evening. But retreating to the bosom of the family–in my case, an eclectic mix of ages and tastes, mostly rural-based –for a few days is a sartorial minefield. It is as easy to frighten the horses (and elderly relatives) by looking fiercely on-trend as it is to appear disrespectfully informal (even if the savagely distressed jeans are Vetements). My point is this: At a formal Christmas party, you can be reasonably sure your to-the-floor spangled,semi-sheer confection will strike the right note (even if you did have to wear your thermal vest underneath). But what about the dress code for, say, the “casual” drinks with neighbors, the old friends’ reunion, and the family get-togethers in all their forms? These are the tricky events that sit somewhere between dress-down and dress-up. You want to look like you’ve made an effort, but not too much of an effort. My own absolute golden rule? Never forget what you really like wearing, and think of a festive dress-up as the nicest kind of dress up – indulgent and cosy, rather than exposed, uncomfortable or difficult. Allow me to show you how...

FRIENDS’ REUNION

There’s something so sweetly nostalgic about catching-up with old friends at Christmas. Old friends who remind us of who we are,who know everything about us and love us anyway, and who know immediately how to make us feel good. Your off-duty look here should be equally comforting and require no styling. As cosy as a dressing gown, the fuzzy teddy bear cover-up is one item that once you actually shrug it on,you’ll wonder how you managed before. I know coats are investment pieces, but think of this as a crazy, short-lived affair – you’ll regret it if you never have at least one fun coat in your lifetime.

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Read Suzie's guide to dressing for the pub, Christmas dinner, drinks with the neighbours and lunch with the in-laws in the December issue of IMAGE Magazine, on sale nationwide now.

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