It feels like only yesterday that we were signing off yet another year, but the countdown to 2019 is officially on. Time to raid the wardrobe for your best glitzy garb…

It’s that time of the year when a scroll through your diary makes you seem busier than ever; I’m already tired just thinking about it. Several family soirees, a carol concert, the annual boozy lunches with friends, and a couple of work parties all pencilled in, and before you know it, not only are you fully-booked, but also in desperate need for some brand new festive outfits.

I’m not complaining though; party season is the best excuse to go all-out when it comes to dressing up. The more organised among you may already be well on your way to having it all figured out, but if you’re anything like me, it’s time to get your act together and avoid the last-minute panicked shopping frenzy.

I find that work parties are particularly tricky to navigate – it’s not always easy to nail the necessary balance between looking smart-yet-stylish and festive all at the same time, while also being Dusk-ready should the occasion call for it. I find that animal print can often tread that fine line perfectly; it’s understated enough, but also loud and fun, and has the ability to give any outfit a glamorous and chic edge. You’ll be happy to know that animal print actually dominated a huge number of runways last season, and as one of winter’s major trends, there’s no surprise that there are a substantial number of options available on the high-street.

Unsurprisingly, leopard print coats and shoes are two of the most prevalent ways this trend will manifest itself, perfect for those of you who don’t want to make it the featuring aspect of your look. But from snake and zebra to faux-croc and cheetah, there are a plethora of prints to choose from in absolutely all tones and styles. In a similar vein, transitioning from casual to formal, or desk to drinks, can be fairly simple. Just whack on a pair of heels, and add a red lip or a pair of sparkly earrings, and you’re good to go.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have New Year’s Eve, which is a particularly fancy affair for the majority of us. Regardless of what I choose to wear, no matter how glam or understated, the story goes the same year in, year out: I buy a fairly expensive dress, wear it that one night, and then it lies dormant in my cupboard for months to come, and, let’s get real, I’m probably not going to wear the majority of them ever again. But it doesn’t really have to be that way. Firstly, it’s not economically smart, but it’s also not sustainable, and there are plenty of versatile dresses, jumpsuits, you name it, available on the high street, that are easy to get several wears out of.

Maxi dresses are continually made to feel like the only safe option, and it can often be easy to feel the pressure to adhere to the expectations that come with festive fashion. While I absolutely love a good old maxi, there are so many other awesome head-turning styles out there up for grabs. Mini dresses are set to be a hot ticket this year, from satin and velvet to sequins and embellishments, worn with elaborate jewellery and shoes, nothing is off limits in the mini dress department.

If you’re not a dress person, then why not opt for a flowy jumpsuit or a sharp checked suit? I’ve always said I’d love to brave a snazzy suit one day for New Year’s Eve, although I’m not quite sure I’d be able to pull one off quite as well as suit-connoisseurs like Blake Lively or Cate Blanchett.

On the colour front, and it may not come as a huge surprise to any of you, red is what’s happening this year. You may be the type of girl who confidently wears red all year round, but it must be said that forthcoming festive functions invite for such a bold and powerful, but also fun, colour. Also, a side note; red is one of the few colours that apparently suits absolutely all skin tones, scientifically speaking.

In the accessories world, mini bags seem to be all the rage these days, and while I find them mostly impractical on every other day of the year, I’d say they may be just right for an event like New Year’s Eve; a night where you don’t want to be lugging anything clunky or heavy around, and only really need a minimal number of items for safekeeping.

Shoes, as much as I love them, are something I always leave to the last minute without fail. The high-street is absolutely smashing it on the shoe front right now; offering everything from 90s-inspired chunkies, to elegant pointed-toes, and funky embellished disco styles. You really don’t have to look much further than Zara and Topshop to find a fabulous pair this year!

December is one of those few months that are absolutely jam-packed with all sorts of events that require different styles and levels of formality. But one thing’s for sure, it’s one of the few times in the year that gives you license to pull out all the stops and go overboard without so much as raising an eyebrow! Sparkly chandelier earrings and platform heels? Heck yes. Metallic gold mini dress for lunch? Go on then! There are no rules. It’s time to loosen up, have fun, and end the year on a good note.