We never need much of an excuse to dress up, but after last year’s subdued festive period, this season feels like the right time to really turn it up a notch.
The art of partywear is a joyful one to master, and we’re always on the lookout for new ideas and inspiration – especially from other women whose style we admire. Which is why we wanted to ask a handful of W.ICONS friends – both new and longstanding – how they approach wow-factor dressing. The result? One of the most glamour-fuelled shoots we’ve ever done. Sequins, bows, feathers, colour – the collective consensus is that nothing is too much this year.
The New Cocktail Dress
Laura Fantacci, co-founder of Wardrobe ICONS
“When I saw this Roksanda dress on my Instagram feed, my heart skipped a beat and I knew right away that I had to try it on. I love it when a dress makes me feel sexy, but in a subtle, sensuous way, and the form-fitting cover-up silhouette does exactly this. The combination of red and pale blue feels festive but modern, and the structured sleeves have been perfectly cut to sit neatly on the shoulder. I’ve teamed it with evening flats to dial down the formal aesthetic.”
Laura’s Party Trick:
When dressing up, ensure one element is low-key; switch heels to flats, wear minimal make-up or try a pared-back hairstyle. This makes for a far more effortless look.
The A-Line Gown
Deborah Brett, editor-at-large of Wardrobe ICONS
“My approach to partywear can be summed up in two words: high glamour. I love the novelty of getting dressed up, and I look for party pieces that make me feel both special and confident. It was the enormous bow on this Bernadette gown that shouted out to me. It adds a touch of humour, as well as a timeless quality, to the simple A-line silhouette. The dress reminds me of a fabulous ball gown from the 1950s.”
Deborah’s Party Trick:
Wear one piece that sings, such as a great pair of earrings, a fantastic dress or a pair of statement shoes – something that starts a conversation.
The Statement Jumpsuit
Rene Macdonald, founder of Lisou
“I’m a maximalist, so when it comes to party pieces, it’s glamour all the way and, of course, as much sparkle as possible! I love wearing statement jumpsuits as it means you only have to think of one thing, plus they work with both heels and flats. The fitted silhouette of this style is super-sexy without being revealing, and I drew the print, making it completely unique. It’s a jumpsuit that says: ‘I’m here to have a good time’. Who doesn’t want to party with that? I’ve teamed it with a pair of gold boots that I’ve been coveting for a long time – believe it or not, they are surprisingly comfortable.”
Rene’s Party Trick:
Wear something that makes you feel incredible. Don’t let your outfit wear you – you have to own your boldness because it shows if you don’t. If you feel good, you’ll look good.
The Monochrome Maxi
Andrea Cheong, sustainable style advocate
“When it comes to partywear, my style is classic with a penchant for anything shiny. To me, the perfect piece is something that can be dressed up or down but that makes a statement. With this look, I wanted to emphasise the fact that you can find something sustainable and still look glamorous. This dress from ARTCLUB has been made from an upcycled silk blend and crêpe. Prioritising natural fibres, which have less impact on the environment compared with synthetics, can be especially hard with occasion wear, but it pushes you to think beyond just looking good into feeling good, too.”
Andrea’s Party Trick:
Don’t wear anything that doesn’t let you eat.
The Modern LBD
Lucy Williams, style and travel influencer
“As with everything I wear, my party outfits play with contrasts; a silk slip with a leather jacket, an oversized men’s shirt with a sparkly mini, red lips with jeans. I always like to be a little undone. I am a huge fan of 16Arlington and the way it incorporates embellishments into minimal silhouettes. I love how comfortable this crêpe mini dress is, while still having those feathered sleeves for a bit of decadence. The platform Jimmy Choos are my dream heels; outrageously high and reminiscent of Studio 54. This year, more than ever, I am craving dressing up and making the most of luxe materials that come into their own during party season: velvet, lurex, metallics, rhinestones.”
Lucy’s Party Trick:
Nightwear makes great partywear. I have a silk pyjama suit by Tigra Tigra that looks amazing teamed with platform Mary Janes and an evening bag. Equally, a black slip can be dressed up with statement accessories.
The Red Carpet Dress
Jasmine Hemsley, author and wellbeing expert
“When dressing up, my style rule is ‘more is more’ – big silhouettes, mixing pattern and texture with interesting layers and topping it off with big accessories. I like championing circular fashion with ethical conscious designers or reaching for vintage pieces with a story to tell. I’ve chosen a piece by Benchellal, an evening-wear brand that uses recycled, deadstock and existing fabrics and specific waste-reducing cutting techniques. I adore the drama of this gown and would team it with a quilted Gucci bag rented from Cocoon Club – a membership subscription service for luxury and vintage bags.”
Jasmine’s Party Trick:
If you’ve only got five minutes to get ready, reach for big earrings. I don’t usually do much with my hair and sometimes skip a strong lip, so big earrings add the essential glam to the top half and light up my face.
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