When we were concepting this shoot, the question we asked ourselves was: what is the ICONS way to do a party dress code? The answer is, with pieces that make you feel amazing, are special without being too precious to wear and have the longevity of quality and style that will see you pulling them out year after year.
Styled By Laura
Hair And Makeup By Emma Small
Model Alek Malek
With this in mind, we’ve put together the 10 styles that deliver on all fronts. Whether they’re a designer investment or mid-price buy, they all adhere to our shopping ethos of intelligent, repeat-wear design. From sleek suiting to clever co-ords, these timeless pieces can be styled and restyled to always feel relevant and bring that party spirit.
Think of this as your comprehensive guide to building a party capsule that will take you from the office party to New Year’s Eve for many festive seasons to come.
THE VELVET SUIT
In a sea of dresses, there’s something about a beautifully cut suit that always stands out. And when you really want to own the room, this is the outfit to reach for. Velvet is a seasonal classic that’s never going to feel outdated. Try forest green as an alternative to black. A wide-leg ’70s silhouette is timeless and easy to wear. Style yours with platforms and a collarless white shirt, making sure the cuffs are poking out from the sleeve.
THE EVENING TIGHTS
Hosiery is often an after-thought, but a great pair of evening tights make a winter party outfit look complete. Fishnets give classic styles edge, but still look sophisticated enough for formal occasions. This pair is particularly smart as they have a seamless toe so can be worn with sandals, too. As well as wearing them with dresses and skirts, try layering them under trousers. The flash of fish net creates a modern look.
THE NEW CO-ORD
This skirt co-ord is a modern take on the classic midi-dress silhouette, but comes with extra versatility as each element can be worn with other pieces in your wardrobe (add a festive knit to the skirt, for instance). While sky blue might feel like more of a summery hue, when styled with festive accessories it takes on a frosted feel. Layer up with a blazer or a cropped faux-fur jacket.
THE THREE-PIECE SUIT
White doesn’t need to be reserved for the summer; when worn during the festive season, it has a winter-wonderland appeal. Reiss is a go-to for on-point tailoring at a smart price and this three-piece really delivers on cut and quality. Wear it as a complete set, try just the waistcoat and trousers or mix each piece with other party separates. Keep the look smart and elevated with a sculptural party bag.
THE SPARKLE SET
Sparkle feels ultra-desirable at this time of year, and lurex is a chic way to do it. Not only does this two-piece deliver on razzle-dazzle, it’s comfortable, too. The knitted fabric has a good amount of stretch and it will keep you warm on those chilly winter nights. Wear the skirt high or low, depending on how much midriff you want to expose. Team it with a pair of platforms for a modern dance-floor look.
THE TIMELESS CLUTCH
The holy grail of an evening bag is one that goes with every party look you own. Enter the Grace clutch. Made from velvet with a silk ruffle trim, it is inspired by vintage design, giving it an era-less look. Keep it pristine and it will look as good in 10 years’ time as it does now. Add it to everything from cocktail suiting to an LBD. It’s big enough for all the essentials: keys, cards, phone and a lipstick.
THE FESTIVE DRESS
Every party capsule should have a throw-on-and-look-fabulous festive dress – and nothing says holiday season quite like scarlet red. It’s the silhouette of this midi that makes it stand out; the high waist is elongating, the length works with every shoe and the slinky fit gives grown-up sex appeal. Drama comes from the beautiful bow ties on the back. Go to town on OTT accessories for dressy events, or add loafers for low-key dinners.
THE COCKTAIL TOP
One of our favourite partywear formulas is a statement top with smart trousers, but this McQueen top takes that look to a whole new level. The unexpected combination of casual white tee with sculptural corset works in such a modern way, managing to feel both relaxed and polished. This piece will work for evenings throughout the year, but we’ll be adding black velvet trousers for the festive period. The perfect classic-with-a-twist outfit.
THE TAILORED JUMPSUIT
Jumpsuits have become so important in the contemporary wardrobe, they have a category of their own, with styles for every time of year and occasion. For the party season, it’s about going sharp with a tailored, tux-inspired number. This piece from COS Atelier has satin lapels and a cropped leg, which pairs easily with heels or flats. Luxe it up further by adding a designer belt.
THE PARTY SANDALS
’Tis the season for sparkling shoes and these sandals say ‘party’ in a very elegant way. Made from velvet with crystal embellishment, the minimal style complements every party piece. We love the double-sided straps – no matter how you tie them, you’ll see velvet rather than lining fabric. The low heel gives a little height but is still comfortable for evenings that run into the night.
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