All dressed up

From par­ties to shop­ping the sales, An­n­marie O’Con­nor brings us the new — and im­proved — fes­tive fash­ion rules

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Contents -

Christ­mas style guide

DO YOU hear what I hear? Ah, yes. It’s the fa­mil­iar sound of mass panic; that low deci­bel cry emit­ted each year when Christ­mas ar­rives and we’re sim­ply not ready — not even close. Of­fice par­ties, na­tiv­ity plays, present wrap­ping, turkey bast­ing, tree trim­ming, the very shenani­gans that make the yule­tide bright make us want to weep silently in a cor­ner or, at the very least, pony up some help on the sly. What’s more, we’ve got ab­so­lutely noth­ing to wear. Un­til now.

Burn­ing the Christ­mas can­dle at both ends doesn’t re­quire a caf­feine drip and an act of God.

It merely re­quires the right dress­ing, the kind that dupes the world and your mother into think­ing you got eight hours sleep even if you’ve been up all night sewing a shep­herd cos­tume for your kid’s play while try­ing to hus­tle two dozen mince pies into the oven.

Want to look as lu­mi­nous as a string of fairy lights? It’s a no-brainer if you fol­low the new (and im­proved) Christ­mas style rules.

It’s a truth uni­ver­sally ac­knowl­edged that time and space col­lapse be­tween Novem­ber 24 and Jan­uary 2. Cal­en­dars melt, timeta­bles im­plode and re­mem­ber­ing the day of the week be­comes tan­ta­mount to that of the square root of pi.

In or­der to short-cir­cuit th­ese tem­po­ral tem­per tan- trums, de­ci­sions must be hacked and pruned like a for­est of pine trees. Mak­ing life eas­ier (what­ever day it is) starts with the grown-up one­sie.

The clue is in the name: one item, dressed, done. Look to brands like Mango for `70s-in­spired flares or L.K.Ben­nett whose gilded se­quin Hut­ton jump­suit (€650), puts the ki­bosh on the added headache of ac­ces­sories. We, of course, rec­om­mend shoes but we’ll leave that up to you.

It bears re­peat­ing that time is not your friend. Even poor aul Santa only gets 24 hours to haul his sleigh full of presents around the world.

With that in mind, it’s handy to have an amulet of change at hand – the kind of hack that can trans­mute a ba­sic work out­fit into a ba­si­cally amaz­ing con­ver­sa­tion starter.

Take this rhine­stone choker (€89) from Zara’s older and smarter sis­ter Uterqüe.

Not only does it do won­ders for bare skin but cinched over a polo neck, it turns that desk-to-din­ner dash into a look-at-me stroll. Oh, yeah!

So far, you’ve stuffed a goose, stuffed some stock­ings, stuffed your face and stuffed a rogue string of fairy lights in the rub­bish bin. Don’t get your tin­sel in a tan­gle — you’ve still got neigh­bours to visit, mulled wine to make and an M&S Christ­mas pud­ding to pawn off as your own be­fore the in-laws ar­rive.

What you need is some­thing that pro­vides suc­cour whilst look­ing stylish when dash­ing through the hail­stones to grab those for­got­ten tubs of brandy cream.

A blan­ket scarf says, “Snug­gle up, but­ter­cup!” or, at the very least, gives you a knit­ted hole in which to dis­ap­pear should sleep­ing in heav­enly peace be a long shot.

We rec­om­mend the cur­rent se­lec­tion from Parfois (€16.99) or, should the cof­fers al­low, a prodi­gious hand­wo­ven her­ring­bone beauty (€270) from Sta­ble of Ire­land.

Stall the disco ball. If you’re go­ing to dance and prance in one piece, you’ll need shoes that are sole saviours but also the life and soul of the party. There’s sod all point throw­ing shapes to Slade in 6in obelisks if the fall­out en­tails hob­bling for a taxi at 2am. Like­wise, no one ever said, “Nice or­thopaedics!” with a straight face. There’s a fine line, folks. In the mu­tual in­ter­ests of fash­ion and func­tion, a be­jew­elled kit­ten heel should do the trick. Our party-minded friends at L.K.Ben­nett are serv­ing up some de­li­cious foot candy (€270) — rust vel­vet with a be­jew­elled strap and a heel low enough to fa­cil­i­tate an er­rant speed wob­ble should sev­eral egg nogs be Win-win.

You’ve sur­vived through the big day in­tact bar a few thread­bare nerves. Good for you. Saint Stephen’s Day now calls for du­vet-div­ing, box set-binge­ing and main­lin­ing as much choco­late and left­overs as the Stat­ede­creed down­time will ac­com­mo­date. Leav­ing the house just isn’t an op­tion — un­til it is. Times like this call for the per­fect cover-up — one that dis­tracts from your loungewear (see: glo­rien­joyed. fied py­ja­mas) while driv­ing to the near­est Mace for the toi­let pa­per no­body re­mem­bered or, in­deed, the pub car­ols you promised to at­tend in Novem­ber (does it even count?). Don’t feel like mak­ing an ef­fort? Don’t panic.

Sim­ply “dis­tract up” — an in­te­rior de­sign term for draw­ing at­ten­tion away from those in­crim­i­nat­ing sweat­pants. Give those baubles a run for their money with a Tommy Hil­figer Icon high gloss puffer (€299).

The warm golden glow will be ri­valled only by the snug down feather pad­ding. Should your foray take you fur­ther afield, this full-length faux fur from Ware­house (€129) cov­ers a mul­ti­tude.

Just be sure to sit close to the door — away from the roar­ing fire. The only thing that should be glow­ing are the em­bers in the hearth.

As the sea­son of giv­ing would sug­gest, a spot of self­gift­ing is al­ways al­lowed. In fact, we rather en­cour­age it. See it as an op­por­tu­nity to switch the par­a­digm from dou­ble duty sur­vival tools to un­abashed frip­pery like a fun hat.

Con­sider this yel­low Ro­cas fe­dora (€250) from FAO Millinery your crown­ing glory for sur­viv­ing the silly sea­son.

Plus, think of all the fun you’ll have tak­ing your hat off to your­self. G’wan, we won’t tell any­one. Now kick back and re­lax. You made it!

THE AC­CES­SORY: Rhine­stone neck­lace choker, Uterqüe, €89

Left, THE PUFFER COAT: ‘Icon’ high gloss gold puffer, Tommy Hil­figer, €299; and be­low, THE SCARF BLAN­KET: Scarf, Parfois, €19.99

Left and above, THE JUMP­SUIT: ‘Hut­ton’ gold se­quin jump­suit, L.K.Ben­nett, €650; and right, FAUX FUR: Coat, Ware­house, €129

Be­low, THE KIT­TEN HEEL: €89 ‘Eira’ burnt or­ange vel­vet kit­ten heel shoes, L.K.Ben­nett, €270; and above, THE FUN HAT: FAO Millinery ‘Ro­cas’ felt hat, Bloss, €250

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