x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Katie Trotter: how to look good at the office Christmas party

The office Christmas party can be trying, so dress to impress without overdoing it.

The one good thing about being made redundant is not having to deal with enforced fun - the dreaded office Christmas party and its appropriate dress will strike a particular note with most of us, I am sure. You see, dressing for the party season is difficult. While part of us wishes to impress on a certain note with a bit of pizazz, a touch of "I can let my hair down if I want to", there is still a crushingly strict part frightfully aware of the fact we will be sitting next to the same jolly old crew the next morning at conference which could all get a little awkward.

So what exactly is appropriate? In terms of clothes (I don't need to explain the rest) the trick is not to be dictated to by the fact that it's December and it's a party. The rule of thumb being that if you don't normally wear a bit of sparkle or show a bit of leg, this is not the time to try it out. It can easily send out the wrong message to the wrong person. The hard and fast rule to remember is to try to achieve the perfect balance between alluring and chic. A rare combination, but an absolute must if you want to succeed on any level at the office party.

To get that combination in one dress isn't easy, but start with anything designed with a stretch - something with structure. Whether you are a size 6 or a size 14, look for a fabric that supports every inch and softens any lumps.

Another must is to avoid seeing anyone wearing the same frock as yourself. An old classic, but also a highly embarrassing one, especially if they look better in it, so do try to plan a little. Try mixing vintage with something new. Don't fall back on the classic black trousers that fit like a glove paired with the cut price sparkly top. Otherwise, you will easily end up looking a little like an off-duty policewoman trying to do a bit of dazzle.

Think a little out of the box - a little out of your comfort zone - and perhaps give a nod to the 1920s if you are feeling extra brave. There is no doubt, with Baz Luhrmann's version of The Great Gatsby set for global release on December 25 next year, the female form and its wardrobe will be hugely altered.

As always, I perch on the fence with the underdressed versus overdressed debate, but I will say I lean towards the folk who do their best for the party season. Love it or loathe it, a dress that says "made an effort" in a way that a black shift and 30 denier tights and a court shoe does not is somewhat exciting in a rather unexciting environment.

But please, I beg you, as much fun as I wish upon us all don't forget it's not a disco, so be astute. Saying that, have a bit of fun, because as bad as naff is, the old bore is decidedly worse.



This week's highs and lows

RUBY RED We can't get enough of Marilyn and neither can Salvatore Ferragamo. The brand is launching an exhibition in Florence next summer dedicated to the star.

JUST PEACHY Blonde and pink hair? So last season, Katy Perry!

CHLOË MORETZ We've been keeping an eye on this trendy rising star after we spotted her on a recent trip to London.

TURKEY OVERLOAD Those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas will have enough turkey to last us a lifetime.

THERMAL JEANS Going to cooler climates this winter? Invest in a pair of warm denim by Angels & Men.