There is something about formal wear which is inherently exciting to men and women alike. The festive season is full of occasions where you simply have to go the extra mile with your outfit. For men, this is simple – slip on a suit, be it a tuxedo, three piece or even the cheapest of matching trouser and blazer combinations to instantly acquire James Bond levels of sophistication.
For the average female however, the bar for evening wear has been set impossibly high ever since we saw Belle walk into Beast’s ballroom in that perfectly fitting, flawless deep gold ball gown paired with elbow high gloves. From Audrey’s slimline black number in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to Keira’s slinky green dream dress in Atonement, one flawless formal dress has been all it takes to make an ordinary woman into someone legendary.
Because of this, the chance to get dressed up to the nines is always exciting, at least to begin with. Once the reality of trying to switch from an ordinary person into a graceful, refined lady of leisure sinks in, most of us will have a minor breakdown at the impossibility of the task. However, there are a few rules for when all hope is lost and you don’t even want to go to the stupid ball/dinner/prom anymore (we’ve all been there)
Touch Your Toes
No matter your size or shape, it’s incredibly hard to go wrong with something long and fitted. With maxi skirts and dresses having successfully made the transition from summer staple to autumn essential, it’s also very easy and cheap to pick up a long dress, or a long floaty skirt paired with something tight on top can be equally as elegant.
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
When everything else has gone wrong, make like Carrie Bradshaw and find some excessively high, shiny and expensive heels. You could go to the Oscars in your pj’s and not have anyone bat an eyelash so long as your shoes were outstanding. Just avoid the hideous studded Jeffery Campbell platform boots that are far too popular at the moment – more suited for a sex dungeon than a fancy occasion.
Unless you’ve been very good with your student loan this year, fake sparkles will be a better option than actual diamonds, but jewellery, no matter its authenticity can save an outfit from disaster. A big enough necklace or set of earrings will distract from the worst of last minute mish-mash outfits.
The Perfect Fit
The final and most important rule is that whatever outfit choice you make, make sure it fits perfectly. If it doesn’t, leave it in the shop, or put it back in your wardrobe and head to the shops. In case of absolute emergencies, safety pins have proven their worth as alteration aids, so long as they aren’t visible.
And remember, it’s Christmas, the season of excess, so don’t ever worry that your outfit is a bit too much.