Dressing Up This Christmas: The Best Outfits on the High Street

Well, well, well. Here we are. December the first has been and gone and I popped an advent calendar chocolate for breakfast this morning. It’s well and truly Chriiiiistmaaaas.

This means that you’ve probably been invited to a Christmas party or twain. And that means you have a legitimate excuse to go shopping because you have absolutely nothing to wear and you hate all of your clothes. Woohoo!

Much like your summer holiday wardrobe, your Christmas wardrobe is a chance to create an idealised, more fabulous version of yourself. It might not work at any other time of the year but, lit by the warm glow of candles and seen through the hazy lens of at least five glasses of fizz, you’ll (Yule? No?) rock a frock with all the glamour of Kate Moss on her 30th. And, with any luck, recreate both her beginning (pristine) and end of night (slightly sozzled) pap shots perfectly.

I may have scoured almost every high-street shop’s festive offerings and I may have bought myself something new when I really didn’t need to. But on the bright side, I’ve done some exhaustive research so you, dear reader, can reap the benefits! I’ve done the online shopping work so you don’t have to!

Substitute ‘florals’ for ‘sequins/velvet/sparkle’ and ‘spring’ for ‘Christmas’ and you’ve summed up the gist of what’s on offer below.

None of this is exactly reinventing the wheel. It is a lot of velvet, sequins and sparkle. It’s mainly very unsubtle, but if this month of excess doesn’t warrant jazz hands, confetti canons and rainbow sparkles then I don’t know what does.

Read on for a comprehensive round-up of the best festive fashion on offer, whether you’re going to a glitzy party or a casual family gathering. Click on the captions to be taken directly to the relevant website (and no, there are no affiliate links or anything of that nature. This blog is a ramshackle affair). The countdown to Christmas is on!

The velvet trouser suit

As someone who looks like a teenager but is actually about a decade older (people tell me I should take it as a compliment), I don’t like wearing anything too girly for fear it takes me into schoolgirl/pageant territory. I’d much rather attempt to be an insouciant, Parisian woman in Le Smoking and a velvet trouser suit is the perfect way to do it. Hey, a dumpy English woman can try. Side note: take a look at Julia Restoin Roitfeld’s Warehouse edit if you’re keen on French cool-girl vibes. My favourite piece is this universally flattering top:

My own black velvet trouser suit is from Zara and, lo and behold, they’ve brought out another one this year. See their kimono-inspired, belted number below, complete with matching culottes.

Topshop are doing a millennial pink velvet suit (obviously), which comes in regular, tall and petite. There’s also a mustard yellow version and one with a double-breasted teal jacket.

Wear with pointed-toe stiletto heels and pray your hosts don’t make you take your shoes off once you get inside.


Head to toe sequins. Once a bit OTT, this year de rigueur, preferably in rainbow colours. Zara have two gorgeous dresses I’m restraining myself from snapping up immediately. One of them is sitting in my online shopping basket right now. Must. Not. Spend. More.

This wrap dress is my favourite. A small voice in the back of my mind questions whether people might think it’s hilarious and clownish rather than beautiful, but to hell with them, the philistines. It’s divine. Go for it! People will be too pissed to notice soon anyway.

Next up is a shorter shift dress, complete with velvet trim, three-quarter length sleeves and beautiful colours. GOD it’s cute.

There’s also this midi skirt from Topshop (currently sold out):

It would look the perfect amount of ‘dressed up but not trying too hard’ when worn with a fine knit, a la Holly Willoughby (her Instagram page makes me intensely jealous of her wardrobe, nutritionist and personal trainer. And genes, basically).

Sequins can be pricey so check out the selection available on Mango Outlet. I put ‘sequins’ into their search bar and wanted to buy almost everything. This wrap top is as understated as you can hope to be in sequins and would look good underneath the aforementioned velvet tux.

All Things Tux

If you like the idea of a trouser suit but you fancy showing off your legs then a tux dress might be the thing for you. If you don’t have legs for days then, in my experience as a person of limited stature, opaque tights and painfully high ankle boots help. My favourite is, you guessed it, this metallic number from Zara:

Look at the shoulders on this thing! It’s already selling for double the original price on eBay so if your size is in stock at Zara snap it up quick!

On a similar note, I’m obsessed with this blazer from ASOS. It’s ridiculously overpriced and also now sold out in most sizes, so I’m waiting for a restock and then the strategic moment to pick it up (hellloooo January sales). Online shopping is a game of patience and timing… And sometimes abject failure. Here’s hoping the stars align on this one.

This simple River Island cami is a nod to the tux trend and would look great with jeans and some giant earrings.

The Jumper

Christmas jumpers are so knowingly self-mocking these days that the jumper I was given as en eight year old- featuring a squirrel sewn on in furry material skiing down an Alpine slope- would probably be the height of fashion now. Take this jumper, for example, which has taken irony so far that it’s killed it dead:

Not on the High Street ‘Post Ironic Christmas’ jumper, a mere £35 (!!) If you’re wearing this, maybe rethink a few things.

If you want something hideous/offensive/too appalling to wear in front of your grandmother at Christmas dinner then there’s plenty to choose from. (I mean, for fuck’s sake.) There are also some cosy knits which are less ‘Christmassy slap in the face’ and more ‘debonair wink in the direction of Christmas’.

I have my eye on this Bella Freudian jumper from H&M, even though I’m not an avid skier…

…and this metallic Fair Isle knit from Florence and Fred at Tesco…

…and this striped, metallic jumper in lurex from Warehouse:

Where to shop

Bershka, Pull and Bear and Monki all have great festive edits at reasonable prices (among a lot of stuff that is clearly aimed at teenyboppers. When did I get so old?) Here are my picks from all three sites:

And finally…

Check out Girl Vs Cancer’s festive ‘tit-tee’ here. I’ve been following Lauren Mahon, or ‘Lolli’, on social media for a year or two now. Having been through a breast cancer diagnosis herself, she is now selling T-shirts to raise both money and awareness. 25% of each sale goes to her four chosen partner charities: CoppaFeel!, Future Dreams, Trekstock and Look Good Feel Better.

It’s a cause close to my heart so I’m hoping to pick up a Christmas pudding tee before they sell out.

Happy shopping!

[Feature image credit: Me. From left to right: Melograno perfume from Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, eyelash curlers from Shu Uemura, mini Moet intended for my Secret Santa (!), single stiletto shoe from Primark and sequin bag from Zara last year. Pile of clothes on bedroom floor: model’s own.]


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