How to wear your party clothes to work  

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Turn that frown upside down by recycling your sequins, says Hannah Banks-Walker

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

I know, it’s everyone’s least favourite month. We’re all annoyed that there’s no longer an excuse to drink at 10am, eat tree-shaped mini cheddars all day and greet people in pyjamas. Let’s be honest, you’re probably annoyed you’re even reading this, rather than playing another round of Trivial Pursuit as you consume a cheeseboard. If it’s any consolation, I’m not here to tell you that you need to give up wine or spend 22 out of 24 hours in an offensively-lit gym. I’m not here to suggest that we all replace mince pies with quinoa; those pies need to be used up, for heaven’s sake! Instead, I am here to cheer you up with news that you don’t need to relegate your sparkly clothes to the back of the wardrobe until December. Do you feel better yet? Well, hang on: let me explain. 

Last January, feeling particularly blue as I threw off the covers on my first day back to work after, well, the C-word (which I shall not mention, given that it’s now January, and we’re all pretending it didn’t happen to soften the blow), I arrived, shivering, at my wardrobe.

When I say “arrived”, I mean I tripped over the suitcase I had yet to unpack since arriving home after you-know-what and proceeded to examine the contents. I hurriedly searched for the warmest jumper I could find, agreed with myself that jeans were quite literally the last things I wanted anywhere near my person and then realised the only things left were… spangly. I pulled on the most comfortable-looking skirt I could see, which incidentally just happened to be made of sequins, added black tights, ankle boots and was ready to face the new year. 

I had expected forlorn faces; colleagues with that glassy-eyed expression that suggests they’ve spent too much time with family members. Instead, I was greeted with borderline hysteria

I arrived at work to much fanfare. I had expected forlorn faces; colleagues with that glassy-eyed expression that suggests they’ve spent too much time with family members. Instead, I was greeted with borderline hysteria, as everyone revelled in the fact that I’d rocked up to work (post C-word) in a sequin skirt. I didn’t even care that some were probably laughing at me, not with me. If it meant we weren’t all plunged into a spiral of January doom, I was fine with that. After that, I started incorporating my party pieces into my everyday wardrobe more and more. That sequin blazer I bought en route to a night out, as a result of sheer, weather-induced desperation? I started wearing it on top of plain T-shirts and jumpers with jeans. The sequin roll neck I found? I wore it with midi skirts and long boots.

Even if your workplace operates under a stricter dress code than mine, there are still ways to absorb your party pieces into your working wardrobe. Just tone down any spangle with sober pieces – black blazers, for example, or tailored trousers. In short, I’ve discovered a way of recycling what I thought were the most non-recyclable clothes one could own. Hooray for me!

But also: hooray for you. Wear that sequin skirt you bought back in the heady glow of December’s fairy lights with a chunky, oversized jumper. Put a smile on the faces of your colleagues! But, perhaps most importantly, put a smile on your own face. January won’t last forever, but your sequins might.

Click here for the daytime-appropriate sequins edit and what to wear them with 


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Photo: Getty Images 
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fashion advice
Hannah Banks-Walker
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