The best party outfits on the high street

Not sure what to wear to the Christmas party? Here are a few ideas from The Pool

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By Frankie Graddon on

Here we go then, party time and that age old question of what to wear? Whether you are a sequins person or more jumper and jeans, we've covered all bases. From razzy jackets to dress-up velvet to wear-with-anything black trousers, The Pool pick their favourite party looks. 


This is why I love the British high street. The jacket is Monsoon (Monsoon!), the trousers are GAP, the shoes are M&S and the entire outfit comes to £103 but I feel a million bucks. I’d wear all of these elements separately, but together I think they make for a very stylish take on party dressing. 




I am terrible at dragging myself out on a winter's night. I blame the cold. Getting glammed up when it’s minus nothing outside is just so hard. But no one’s invented duvet dresses yet (anyone reading this who decides to and makes a fortune from selling them, I’d like a cut), so I always look for ways I can dress up with minimum effort. So drum roll: my new party saviour of the season: a sequinned jacket – snazzy with distressed jeans, even snazzier with black trousers and heels, and takes about thirty seconds to slip on. My kind of party dressing.



The last time I wore pink sequins I was 16. And aged 33, I have no intention of ever wearing them again. Also, I must admit, I go to fewer parties than I used to, so party wear – the pink sequins and the feathers and all that kind of stuff – feels a little irrelevant to me. But even a non-sequins-wearer like me will get a few invites over Christmas, and I’ll generally just be mixing and matching. This COS skirt is perfect for work but put on a little top and take off your tights, and you’ve got a party look! (I know it’s an unpopular stance but bare legs are just more party than tights in my opinion, sorry, sorry. Obviously, however, if it’s below eight degrees, I’ll give in to tights.)



I spend most of my life wearing jeans and trainers, so party dressing is my chance to go all out. I love this outfit because it's so gloriously impractical – the skirt on the dress swooshes around your legs when you move, the heels are comfortable enough to dance in but impractical enough to wear on a day-to-day basis, and the whole thing makes me feel fancy and sparkly and a little bit ridiculous. It's perfect.



I rarely get invited to any fancy Christmas parties, so I like to dress up my casual outfits as much as possible. Velvet is the perfect material to dress up or down, and this short suit is so comfortable. I'm a big fan of co-ords too – who doesn't want three outfits in one?



For me, party dressing is all in the details; the unusual shoulder detailing on your dress, the metallic shade of your eyeshadow or the new pin on your clutch. This is the time to add that extra sparkle. I am a dress kind of girl so this Whistles dress is perfect. It's metallic which adds to the party feel but the shoulder detailing keeps it cool, and as it’s fitted it doesn't swamp me (I’m 5f). The dress is so gorgeous you don't really need to do anything else so simple boots and you’re done.



I always prefer simple and understated to full blown glammed-up so the Christmas party is one of those challenging events for me where I want to find a balance between making an effort but still feeling comfortable. This year, I'm wearing simple black trousers from Hush with COS’ long length jumper. To spice things up, I'll be adding in a printed clutch bag and some gold boots. 




To me, Christmas party dressing has always been one of those nice-in-theory activities that people on TV or in glossy mags do, while in reality all the gatherings I get invited to end up less sparkly clutch bags, more jumpers and tubes of Twiglets. Which is why I love this dress. Velvet is basically festive 101, especially this year, so nobody can say I haven't tried – but it has sleeves (sleeves!) to keep me toasty in the taxi queue and won't feel overdressed at sofa-based functions. Plus it looks a little bit like Pauline's audition dress from Ballet Shoes, the niche frock goal I didn't even know I had until now.



As a DVF devotee I loved this dress – especially the shape and the colour – as soon as I saw it on the hanger. The red shoes are a nice idea as a bit of colour pop, although I’d probably bottle it on a night out and go for safe black.



This slip dress from Ghost is perfect at any time of the year. During the winter, you can wear a top underneath it to keep warm, but you can ditch that during the summer and show off your arms. I love this outfit because the dress is soft and silky, but the shoes are pointy and fierce. The combination made me feel like a glamorous superhero, which is pretty much all I ever look for in an outfit. 


I’ve always loved the idea of wearing a jumpsuit to a party, but every single one I’ve tried on – no matter how beautiful on the hanger – has made me feel a bit like I’m here to fix the boiler. I’m glad I took a chance on this Whistles one, as it really does tick all the boxes – modern, surprisingly flattering, and will work just as well with loafers when Christmas is over.



This isn't the most ra-ra-ra of Christmas party looks but it's also the one that's closest to what I actually wear in real life. I don't really go to "Here Comes The Girls" big night out Christmas parties: my Christmas drinks are more "here comes some supermarket mulled wine in my friend's flat". That's why I love this look: casual enough to wear to the office, smart enough to wear down the pub, and all it takes is some goth lipstick to make it look a bit smarter. Also, I think the entire price of this outfit is about £50, which helps. 



My default for party outfits are jumpsuits because they look smart, but take minimal effort. This one may be black, but it's velvet (crucial as it makes it seem extra fancy). Throw on some jazzy boots and a blazer and you're sorted.



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