Contributed by Saisha Potts, who writes for Café La Moda, the social space for fashion tips and beauty advice.
It’s that time of year again when even the most socially-retiring among us put on our glad rags and head out for some festive fun - be it the office party or just a night on the town; and we all want to look… well, if not traffic-stopping then at least reasonably gorgeous. We all know that different colours and styles suit different folks (and we don’t want to get all Trinny and Susannah on you), but we thought we’d put together a brief guide to looking your best for the party season.
1. Be comfortable
There’s nothing worse than being at a party in a dress that’s too tight, which rides up, or rides down, or itches, or otherwise makes life difficult. So rule number one is, buy clothes that don’t fight back: they should be the right size (even if you don’t like the number on the label, better that it fit you than fight you), and be fabrics that you can wear for an evening without wrestling with. If you try it on and it misbehaves, chances are it’s not going to be any easier to control after a couple of glasses of wine, so give it a miss, and go instead for a dress that feels like it belongs on you.
2. Know your body shape
Okay, so maybe it’s sounding a bit Trinny & Susannah again, but there’s a lot to be gained from knowing in advance which styles will look good on you and which will be disastrous – it may just keep you from falling in love with that totally unflattering frock. Observant friends are good for this: one who’s not afraid to say “won’t suit you” the minute you stray towards anything unsuitable. If you don’t already know whether you’re an apple or an hourglass, try one of the websites that will tell you (http://www.channel4.com/4beauty/style-me/bodyshapefinder)
3. Dress according to what suits you
The key here is making the most of the parts of you that you’re happy with, and not letting the other parts make you feel less confident. So if you carry a little weight round the middle, the bandeau dress is not your friend…. but a wraparound or empire-waist dress, on the other hand, will flatter you much more. The pear-shaped among us (slimline top half and curvier bottom half) can make the most of their slim top halves by going for strappy dresses while A-line skirts show off your waist while skimming over curvier hips.
4. Don’t be afraid to be different
Knowing what works with your figure, and what doesn’t, will help you make the right choices for party-wear this season – and if the current high street trends don’t suit you, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for something that does. Try different high street shops than you would normally go for, or check out vintage clothing stores – or even re-accessorise something you already own but know looks stunning on you – you’ll look and feel more like a million dollars in an unusual vintage-store dress that really suits you than the bang-on-trend high street one that doesn’t.
5. Go forth and enjoy!
Remember, both the party season and fashion should be fun; and looking great should be just a stepping stone to feeling great. So if you find yourself in front of the mirror picking out all your perceived faults, either give yourself a pep talk or find someone else who will. Finding the perfect party dress is a nice quest, but it’s no substitute for being happy with who you are.