Party season fashion: is less really more?

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After spending your teenage years experimenting with coloured eyeshadows and pop-star inspired ensembles, discovering your personal style normally means you’ve finally learnt the one key, basic rule the fashion world lives by – less is more. Go for fit, go for quality, and go for style over trends. That’s the fail-safe formula for sartorial success. But then it comes to the festive season and every year the shops fill with a variety of sparkly clothing and accessories. Like all advocates of minimalist chic, you’re suddenly completely lost:

“Is velvet acceptable for the over 10s? How much glitter is too much glitter? Am I really allowed to wear head-to-toe sequins?”

Party wear is tricky, and the one place where a less is more approach isn’t always helpful.

This season’s rule

Take this year’s trends as an example. On the one hand, anything seems to go. A party dress embellished with sequined lace and glittering inlays, or a sparkling bodycon skirt with metallic ankle boots and topped off with a velvet, embroidered overcoat – the more over-the-top the better. Or that seems to have been the high street’s approach to winter fashion, anyway.

Doing all-out partywear right

Despite the over-the-top appearance of the trend, there are still a few key rules for nailing it. Pair sequins and glitz with muted accessories, look to fabric textures – like patent leather – to add shine and go for simple colour schemes to keep your outfit looking expensive. Think everything Balmain the Kardashian’s have been flitting around town in over the past few years for some inspiration in how to do exaggerated sparkle and adornments properly. And at least if you are going against your instincts and jumping on the current high street trend for out-there glitter, the festive party season is the best time to do it.

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The growing naked trend

But it’s not your only option. On the opposite end of the scale, in a rebellious extreme of the classic ‘less is more’ rule, is the growing red-carpet naked dress trend. It started with Carrie Bradshaw and the skimpy, nude slip dress she braved date night in, but it’s continued to evolve and is now championed by the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce. As a modern fashion statement, its peak has to be the almost entirely see-through Swarovski-crystal encrusted gown worn by Rihanna to collect her CFDA Style Icon award back in 2014.

Be warned, though – as daring and stylish as it may be when done right, it’s also not for the faint of heart. Although it’s now trickling down into high street offerings, the only way to pull off a naked dress for your next festive party is by wearing it with an unshakeable confidence.

A middle ground

With two such extremes being flouted as the party look for 2017, it’s hard to know exactly where you want to fit in – and you’re not the only one. This year we’re also witnessing a charming and pretty middle ground popping up in response to current trends. At the end of November, Jennifer Lawrence won the hearts of bloggers and fashion journalists everywhere in a princess red-carpet moment that perfectly straddled the line between less and more. In a simple yet stunning Dior combination, she wore a semi-sheer and embellished tulle ballerina skirt with a cashmere, star-adorned jumper.

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It’s proof that a black-tie invitation doesn’t have to mean traditional formalwear anymore – another key fashion rule to remember if this party season has left you sartorially stumped. You don’t have to stick faithfully to your favourite ‘less is more’ principle, and nor do you have to go all-out glitter either. Contrast textures and styles, and whether you’re going for Lawrence-esque minimalist chic or Balmain glamour, you’ll look effortlessly fashionable.

LA

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