words | Julia Coelho
If there’s anything that makes the chilly weather more bearable, it’s the promise that the festive season is upon us at last, along with all of the food, family and dance orientated get-togethers that come with it. It seems like only a couple of months ago that I was on the hunt for those coveted Christmas night and New Year’s eve outfits; now nearly a whole year ago. The organised among you may already be well on your way to having it all figured out; from buying presents and stocking up on polvorones and wrapping paper, to purchasing all event tickets and outfits. But if you’re anything like me, none of the above has been given much thought. It’s probably a good time to start browsing, right?
Particularly in Gibraltar, the Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties are a fancy affair for the majority of us. The only downside that comes with all of that is the slightly competitive and restrictive nature in the way that we are expected to present ourselves, aesthetically speaking. It may be something to do with our small town mentality; the concept of keeping up with the Jones’s and attempting to fit in – we all want to be different, but not too different. I always compare it to that slightly guilty, yet intrinsic desire to have the coolest National Day outfit; ultimately, we’re all wearing red and white, yet we still have that innate subtle rivalry and longing to stand out from the crowd.
Even though I love a good maxi dress and towering pair of heels, I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly glamorous by nature – which doesn’t work too well with the party season’s expectations. I recall, last year, after asking a couple of my friends if a certain dress (less flashy than your typical option) would be appropriate for the yearly New Year gala, my question was met with slightly unconvinced ‘not quite sure if that’ll make the cut’ looks. With only a few days left until the event, and a slight rush of panic washing over me, I started to second-guess myself and doubt my choice. Nevertheless, I had a gut feeling that the dress I was so set on would actually make for a great look, and it did end up being so. The reason for that was because it was me; my style. It can be so easy to feel pressured to adhere to the norms that come with Christmas and New Year related fashion, but the fact is that we all have different tastes and individual styles. Not everyone feels comfortable in sleek lace black gowns, just as we can’t all pull off a sharp suit, or rock a funky sequined playsuit. But what’s certain is that we will always look our best when we are true to ourselves, and embrace our individuality.
Being different doesn’t mean rejecting the classic and archetypal styles that are so associated with Christmas party outfits. It means taking something that draws you in, trendy or not, glitzy or understated, and making it your own. One style that’ll never go out of fashion is the little black dress, for instance. But if you’re looking to take it to the next level, think subtle yet effective embellishments, such as lace or sheer inserts, or even long mesh sleeves for a cool contrast in textures. If you’re slightly more trend focused, did you ever consider opting for a co-ord; a style that burst onto the scene a few seasons ago, and hasn’t seemed to budge ever since? I love trying to think outside the box, yet keeping my party look within the parameters of what I personally deem appropriate for the occasion. Equally, if a timeless metallic maxi dress is right up your street, go for it! Don’t feel restricted by these fabricated “rules”!
Ultimately, the forthcoming festive party season should be fun, nothing less! Try not to over-think it, and wear something that makes you shine! You can never go wrong when you trust your gut.
Here are a few looks and ideas that are sure to get your brain ticking:
Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties means a sea of black, and metallic dresses. Why not go bold in brights?
The urban tailor
When it comes to shaking up the party wear formula, there’s nothing that can do it better than a timeless tailored silhouette. It can be a fun challenge to balance the feminine and masculine by teaming up a sharp suit with some awesome metallic heels and jewellery.
Tops & Co-ords
Tops and trousers seem to have to have been given the thumbs down over recent years, but there’s no reason why this look can’t be just as glam! If you’re slightly more daring, go for the ever-trendy co-ord!
Sequins & embellishments
Even though sequins are one of the most popular attributes of a Christmas or New Year’s Eve outfit, they’re not always easy to get right. However, succeed in striking the ultimate balance between in-your-face disco ball glam and understated cool, and you have yourself a winner. If you’re not so into the sparkly style, why not opt for a gorgeous yet subtle embellishment such as beading, studs or pearls?
Playsuits & jumpsuits
Personally, I’m championing the jumpsuit this festive season. There’s nothing I love more than a bit of intricate beading on a statement piece of clothing! I wore a glam beaded Topshop playsuit a few years back, and not only did I look like a disco ball, it was also one of the most comfortable choices I could have made.