Question: what do you wear to the office Christmas party, the Boxing Day leftovers-fest, New Year’s Eve drinks and the first day back in Jan when you need a little pick-me-up? Answer: a midi dress. If 2018 has told us one thing, it is that midi dresses are the single most useful garment to have in your wardrobe. You can wear them with tights, socks or nothing at all. They work with boots, trainers and tottery sandals. You can throw a giant jumper over the top of them or a fine-knit roll neck underneath. In the event of a full-scale, morning-outfit meltdown, a midi dress will always, always offer a solution. And they’re quick – chuck over the head, just add shoes. All of which you probably already knew, but nevertheless make midi dresses the perfect candidate for the festive “I have 20 things to go to before next Tuesday and I can’t be naffed to shave my legs” period.
As previously discussed, I am nothing if not low-key when it comes to the Christmas festivities. My social life is more “glass of house white and a packet of nuts” than “cocktails at The Connaught”, but therein lies the joy of a mid-length frock. You can dress it up, you can dress it down, you can wear it five times in a row and, with a different pair of earrings/shoes, no one will ever know.
In fact, I am about to do just that. Faced with my first work Christmas lunch of the season (the sort that demands effort – there will be napkin rings), and with a never-ending cold zapping all sartorial enthusiasm, I have shoved on my failsafe black midi dress. It’s from Cefinn and has been worn a bajillion times before; however, with a new pair of Zara boots (plus a vat of Lemsip), I’ve never felt better. Well, I have – but I look like I’ve never felt better, which is the whole point. An LBD – or MBD (midi black dress) is hardly revolutionary, but it works every time and I’d strongly advise that everybody have one. My Cefinn style is only just still in stock so also have a look at Hush’s devore wrap dress, which is a mighty-morpher of a frock (it works with heels, boots or trainers) and the sort of thing you’ll still be dragging out of your wardrobe five years from now.
“F, help. Obligatory festive drinks with the in-laws and going straight from work. What do I wear?" cried one of my fellow Poolers as I walked into the office the other day. Easy – H&M’s sheer-sleeved floral frock. Pop on these crystal earrings while you dry-shampoo your hair in the loos and, hey presto, you’re the epitome of “desk-to-dinner”. Floral not your thing? Try Zara’s leopard-print shirt dress instead.
You can dress it up, you can dress it down, you can wear it five times in a row and, with a different pair of earrings/shoes, no one will ever know
Right, what’s next? Pre-crimbo dinner with friends? Fab. How about Rixo’s Noleen wrap dress? Add heels or biker boots, depending on venue, then wear with your Converse and a slouchy cardigan next year.
Looking for something with a little more glitz? May I steer you towards Needle & Thread, the home of fairytale frocks with a modern twist? Think tiers of tulle, sparkle and embroidery in minis, midis and maxis. For a non-gaudy take on sequins, have a look at the Gloss sequin cami dress, which I’d wear with either LK Bennett’s velvet platforms or a pair of party boots and a spray-on black roll neck (like this) underneath. On a similar theme, check out & Other Stories’ ombre sequin frock or, for something with a shade more subtlety, try the foil-striped wrap dress from Warehouse.
What about Christmas Day? Whether you’re cooking or just eating, there’s a midi dress for that. As ever, velvet is big news this winter, making Monsoon’s green iteration feel not only aptly festive, but also on trend. Plus, the smock shape means no tight waistband to worry about as you hit the cheese course. Similarly, Boden’s Flora dress is made from jersey for maximum stretch. Pass the camembert.
If your Christmas dinner is more fancy pants than trackie pants, then head over to M&S for its corker of a frock in the form of the tie-back jacquard midi dress, which looks far pricier than its £49.50 price tag. Go full OTT and wear it with these zebra slingbacks. Staying on the over-the-top theme is this ruffled number from Batsheva – the current dress label being championed in fashion circles. Or, for the more minimalist among us, Whistles’ pleated Snow Blossom dress has just a splash of festive cheer. Doll it up with some spangle now, then wear it with your espadrilles on hols come summer.