Yasmin le Bon021_web
Yasmin le Bon wearing Winser London

My wardrobe has its fair share of fancy: I love Lurex, am a sucker for sequins and have enough silk shirts to rival the Grand National. But when it comes to Christmas, I tend to shy away from too much sparkle and shine. As a fan of Casual Glamour – an easy, everyday combination of day and eveningwear – I tend to temper the shimmery stuff with sleek separates. Pairing flat metallic pumps or cocktail trainers (check out Dune’s take on the Dior sparkly sneakers at a seventh of the price or Whistles’ velvet trainers) with my Once in a Lifetime tuxedo jacket, silk shirt and black trousers (or jeans). This is how I dress for an evening event, business meeting and the party season. I may be from Blackpool but I don’t want to go out looking like I’m part of this year’s panto (Aladdin at the Grand Theatre by the way). My ideal outfit is good for running around in; morning, noon and night. All. Year. Round. No faffing, no changing no nonsense. This more relaxed approach to the festivities means the comfort zone remains firmly intact and it’s unlikely I’ll ever be mistaken for Widow Twankey.

Photo: Dvora @fashionistable

As much as I love a bit of glitz, last year I noticed that I preferred to be pared-down for the party season. To keep the sparkle around the periphery – a silk shirt and black trousers can go a long way. It’s the Chic Not Shouty approach, again. I’ve written about this for GH online HERE; though I’m not a complete party pooper, there are a few sequins (top from Hush, available HERE) and some velvet and faux fur.

Keep it chic with sleek separates and a small amount of shimmery stuff:

22 thoughts on “The party season doesn’t have to be all sequins and glitter

  1. Fabulous pix, Alyson – and I do agree about the once in a lifetime jacket. Mine’s Italian, by Cinzia Rocca, in pure cashmere. It has the most luxe, subtle sheen and when I wear it, people stroke me as if I were a sleek, black cat. I bought it on a weekend trip to Helsinki FIFTEEN years ago had to spend a bit getting it tailored to a perfect fit but have worn it endlessly since. My big fear is moths – I have a cedarwood ring on the hanger and in the pockets while it’s hanging, and it’s so far unscathed.

    PS – Style Forever has become one of those ‘comfort’ books that’s always by my bedside for a quick dip to spark me up when I need it!

  2. You’re a girl after my own heart on this one Alyson. I’ve just ordered Nicholas Kirkwood’s Beya pointy toe shoes in grey metallic. Dithered a bit as they are pricey, but they are going to look fab with ankle grazing slim black trousers and a silky tunic.

  3. Couldn’t agree more! Some lovely things here. And nice to see a pic of the ever gorgeous Yasmin Le Bon – an over 50 model who does not have grey hair, and is just a bit curvier than your average beanpole model. I was starting to think grey hair was compulsory so retailers could be sure we were getting their “we use older models” message loud and clear.

  4. I agree in part about adding velvet, diamanté to everyday outfits. I have two fitted velvet Blazers that are years old but still goodies : one black brocade velvet the other teal. Have worn both a lot including over silk blouses this past year. But I also added diamanté brooches to the lapels to create a more Gucci look. I have also had an old panne velvet olive velvet top from 90s refashioned by dressmaker with bracelet length sleeves, shortened body. It looks very of the moment. This winter I plan to ramp up the look with more diamanté, a necklace, bigger brooches and lurex tops. I saved to buy a wonderful striped Dries Van Noten lurex jumper summer before last, in Selfridges scale. Beautiful colours and quality and worn repeatedly for a chic casual look with slim fit trousers so far. For £10 I just picked up a silver lurex v-neck jumper for TK Maxx which I have every intention of wearing with black, even my velvet jacket and old black velvet jeans, plus glittery jewellery this season. The current fashion is so glittery and embellished I plan to wear this look with more dash than cash.

  5. I can see your point, and I’m all about wearing even the sequins and glitter for everyday too. But for some reason I love to use these special occasions to add in the fun details like fur, velvet and bling! Especially if we already have these pieces in our closet.
    Because I know that older women like my mom (the 70’s model on my blog) tends to think I’m crazy when I try to style her sequins for an everyday look. But she’s happy as a lark to wear them when it’s a special event or holiday!!

  6. Oh, I’m with you Alyson. My preferred festive party outfit last year…and probably this year again… was a black, fluffy silk tank, a nice black jacket, jeans and smart black pumps.If I had a lurex top this year I’d just swap out the tank and wear everything else the same. I’m so done buying fancy party outfits. Not done with partying though… just want to be comfortable while I do it.

  7. With you on this. I shudder when I see the party season clothes come into the shops – all the feather, glitter, velvet and tartan make me feel claustrophobic. A little black velvet is good and a white shirt is never out of place. I would like those radiant earrings very much. I may well break out my black velvet mules if invited anywhere this year. Had them nearly 20 years and still fit the bill. My horror is to look like one of those Look for a Lifestyle features that GH used to run.

  8. As I am an Instagram follower I saw this beautiful photo of you this morning and thought gosh that’s a fabulous jacket. And so it is. I bought the Helmut Lang tuxedo jacket a few years ago with the pony lapel. I really like it but even with my skinny arms the sleeves twist in the lining. Not sure why. This will be my first Northern Hemisphere Christmas season and the experience will be very different for me and I expect to wear mostly silk or velvet. I really like the Finery blue velvet jumpsuit and hope to purchase when it comes back in stock. I bought my daughter who is coming for Christmas the Warehouse sparkle tie shoulder dress which I would happily wear. I love nearly everything on the Warehouse website. Beautiful clothes and so reasonably priced.

    Never heard of Widow Twankey – and just looked it up. Growing up on a diet of English television shows and books still love learning new English idiosyncratic words and characters.

  9. I know what you mean. I see sequiny tops and can immediately visualize them on a sale rack come January. Is there such a thing as an ok but high street price tux jacket? I have a Mango one from a few years ago with a nice enough shape but only looks good in a dim light as the material is so cheap.

  10. Oh, Alyson – how I wish I could afford Saint Laurent. My tuxedo jacket is Isabel Marant and like you I wear it with jeans, with silk shirts, with silk trousers, even cashmere joggers. I tend to add ‘real’ bling for evenings: a five-carat yellow sapphire from Disa Allsop being my pride and joy and sunshine on a finger. But I also bought Protagonist’s blouse in rust from net-a-porter this autumn, and the subtle sheen of the charmeuse silk is also a great way to do the party season without reverting to sparkle.

  11. I’m with you on this – Haven’t bought a specific dress or outfit just for a party in decades! I’d much rather work with what I have & that’s mostly paired down glamour these days. Gorgeous choices of trousers Alyson x

  12. I have to disagree here. Modern life gives us so few opportunities to dress up, it feels a pity not to take advantage of them. I have an event in early December where I know all the other women will go for it in a big way. I’m wearing black velvet leggings, black velvet ankle boots and an almost ankle length Monki tunic with split sides, a high neck and long sleeves. It’s black with silver glitter. I have a great pair of Toolally earrings to go with this lot and red lipstick obviously. I think Yasmin Le Bon looks wonderful but she’s dressed for the boardroom.

    1. I’m with Jane! Any opportunity to break out the magpie gear, and I’m on it like a bonnet. I am definitely an Iris Apfel “more is more less is a bore” kind of gal, whether it is holiday season or not.

    2. I’m with Jane! Most people I know dress so boringly (if that’s a word). I love sequins and glitter! Although honestly, I am probably more of a silk charmeuse girl. But let’s all dress up, for heaven’s sake! I would rather look fabulous than be “comfortable”. Not entirely sure why we can’t be both, though…

  13. Everyday is a sequinned day-I think I must have been a magpie in a past life! I wear something sparkly everyday- from jewellery to underwear. At Christmas, everyone is just catching up…!

  14. You nailed it Alyson. Nailed. It.
    It’s so funny but I love wearing skirts and dressing up a bit for work. However, when it comes to holiday parties, I kind of like a bit of a masculine look. Like tuxedo pants, a blazer and a great silk shirt that has a bit of naughty transparency to show a fancy lace bra. I’m all about comfort during the holidays and it can be done in a very casual chic way. I’m with you!

  15. Yasmin looks lovely & if I were visiting a friends house , I’d wear that . The danger out & about is that you’d be mistaken for the waitress in your black & white . Not Yasmin of course .

  16. I also like to incorporate sparkles and dressy textures into everyday wear and go minimalist and casual for evening–I think dressing “against type” for an occasion is more interesting and less stuffy. My husband is president of a company, so I *should* probably be more dressed up for the upcoming holiday party, but I simply don’t care anymore (cranky old lady doing what she wants). I attended the event in fancy suits and dresses for many years; at this point I want to be comfortable in all ways.

  17. Help!!
    Black Tie event this Saturday…
    North Carolina(USA)

    Wearing a black sequin sheath dress…

    Question: hose or no hose? And best type of shoe ?

    Many thanks!

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