Whether you’re the sort of person who jumps at the first opportunity to get dressed up or you’d rather bail on your work Christmas party altogether, there’s no avoiding the fact that party season is officially upon us. It seems like yesterday that we were scouring the racks for new bikinis and beachwear pieces, but now the long-anticipated countdown to 2020 is on at last! As hard as it may be to get your head around, you just need to take one quick look at the high street; our favourite haunts are riddled with Christmas lights and laden with impressive party collections and festive accessories. Everywhere from Topshop, Mango, Zara & Bershka have sprung into full-on party mode in the last few weeks, with so many dazzling options to choose from.

It’s fair to say that for the majority of the year, I’m pretty safe in my clothing choices. For the ease of comfort and wearability, I tend to stick to a neutral colour palette and revisit my classic wardrobe staples time and time again, including a handful of knit jumpers, a couple of my favourite pairs of jeans, and a check blazer or teddy coat. December, however, is a very different story.

December means that the Christmas adverts have officially been released, our cupboards are stuffed with polvorones and mince pies, and we now feel like we can really start planning our festive outfits. Party season provides me with a safe space to express my inner glamourpuss. At this time of the year, I find myself naturally gravitating towards anything with a hint of sparkle and embellishment, as opposed to the muted pieces I usually favour. But festive dressing takes on an entirely new meaning when you throw work into the mix. It can be one of the greater challenges of the season to nail the perfect balance between work-appropriate yet party-ready aesthetics.

No one said you had to wear a dress to be dressy!

Firstly, there is such a thing as too formal. The time to wear a floor-sweeping gown is not at a work party, but with the overwhelming mini and midi-length dresses and skirts available on the high street right now, you won’t even have to give maxis a single thought. Besides, no one said you had to wear a dress to be dressy! A pair of polished trousers are just as effective and gives you a glam edge while still being suitable for the office. Velvet jackets and suits are an amazing alternative (also for a wedding guest!), as they look just as great with a pair of smart trainers as they do with strappy heels; just whack the latter into a bag and you’re ready for a swift desk to drinks transition.

While we might have embraced comfort for our day-to-day footwear with flat loafers and trainers long having been our shoes of choice, when it comes to festive events, we’re still stuck on the idea that only sky-high heels will suffice. Whether it be wedges, kittens or block heels, a little extra lift is always desirable when it comes to a more formal event. But, increasingly, I’ve been perusing the shops to hunt for shoes that are as gorgeous as they are easy to dance in. When we’re talking work-appropriate shoes too, height is definitely something to consider. Bold colours & metallic options are always a fantastic choice, as they’ll add a bit of oomph to any look.

Accessories are key to any party outfit, but I always ensure I don’t overdo it when it comes to work-party looks. If you’re keen on wearing statement dangly earrings but feel they’re a little over the top, look no further than a classic pair of gold hoops. Not only do they go with literally everything, but they’re also appropriate for so many different occasions. Similarly, Christmas is the perfect time to take the headband trend up a notch. Think tasteful rhinestones or some pearls to perfectly complement a neutral yet festive look, and best of all, they’re particularly suited to a work look as they add an element of elegance and formality to any outfit. Finally, complete your look with a smart clutch or embellished mini bag, which always reads as elegant and put together, as well as ensuring that your friends don’t require any of your usual bag space for the safekeeping of their own belongings.

They’ll add a bit of oomph to any look.

The truth is that everything we need is probably already in our wardrobes, it just needs to be given a new lease of life and a fresh perspective. Unfortunately, year after year, piles of sad sequinned dresses and slinky tops are neglected and relegated to the back of our wardrobes, having been given the spotlight for one night and never to be seen again. We need to make conscious efforts to free ourselves from the shackles of fast fashion, and the mindset that we need to buy new clothes for every event that arises. Invest your money in long-wearing high-quality staples, and remember that sometimes, less is more.