Party time? Put some sparkle into it

Baltimore feathered collar dress, �60, River Island (0208 991 4904/www.riverisland.com).
Baltimore feathered collar dress, �60, River Island (0208 991 4904/www.riverisland.com).
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While it’s the season to be jolly, those what-to-wear dilemmas can wipe the festive smile right off your face.

Ahead of Christmas drinks, there are a whole host of fashion conundrums to solve while on a search for the perfect party piece.

Photo of (from left) print dress, �60; black dress, �120; belt, �22; Topshop (www.topshop.com).

Photo of (from left) print dress, �60; black dress, �120; belt, �22; Topshop (www.topshop.com).

And somehow last Christmas’s sequin frock never feels quite so sparkly one year on.

Whether you’re seeking the perennial dress, statement separate or dazzling accessory, often the best way to narrow down those festive choices is with a theme. Think of it like decorating your own home.

From understated black to mind-numbing bling, there’s an option to ensure you’ll be lighting up the room.

So give yourself the gift of good party dressing this season. It’s time to shine.

Wwhite top with feathers, �34.90 and lace top, �29.90, Mango (0845 0822448/www.mango.com).

Wwhite top with feathers, �34.90 and lace top, �29.90, Mango (0845 0822448/www.mango.com).

Molten metallics

Bring on the shiny happy people, metallics are enjoying their time in the seasonal spotlight.

Silver, gold or bronze, just pick your winning precious metal.

If sequins are your thing, go for oversized ones, called paillettes, for true Christmas bling. Or tone it down with understated matte metallics, if you’re not so brave.

Skip the tin foil effect and never wear metallics top-to-toe. Mix shiny pieces with darker tones for a flattering effect. Try a trophy jacket, or even sequin trousers (if you dare) for a modern twist.

Accessory ace: From clutch bag to platform heels, any glint of shimmer will create some metallic magic set against a bright or dark solid colour outfit.

Ice-hot white

White is the new black this winter, so don’t relegate this enlightening hue to the sunshine months.

Against a sea of LBDs, stark white will make you stand out like a fashion angel.

Avoid the bridal domain of long flowing dresses and opt for white tuxedos, sharp shifts, or jackets and tops encrusted with accents of crystal, diamante or silver.

Being such a blank canvas, white is the perfect party backdrop for texture-rich materials like feathers, faux fur, lace and lashings of icy jewellery.

Accessory ace: Steer clear of summery white shoes or handbags. Try a white statement necklace or bangle.

Divine opulence

Make this party season all about opulent prints and decadent detail.

Crushed velvet is this winter’s statement fabric and looks best in boozy hues of claret, burgundy and purple.

Think eccentricity and individuality when you’re dressing up. Don’t be afraid to clash rich colours, luxe fabrics and crystal embellishments to the max. And add costume drama inspiration with gold embroidery and baroque prints. This is bling with bells on.

Accessory ace: Adorn your feet with a pair of bejewelled heels to dazzle with every dance move. Just ensure the rest of your outfit remains low-key.

Black magic

The LBD will never be a Christmas cliche.

In times of canape gorging and Christmas pud, the flattering colour is practically a seasonal necessity.

The black magic all rests on how you wear your dark delight.

Avoid inducing a fashion coma by taking advantage of the style selection box of dark and dramatic contrasting fabrics. Whether it’s light accents or statement panels, experiment with feathers, leather, lace, sequins and glitz – just not all at the same time.

Black’s key draw is in its versatility and ability for reinvention. For example, cinching in a black dress with a wide statement belt will add instant wow.

Accessory ace: Show your shoulders some love with a black cape or stole. Take flight with feathers or fuzzy faux fur.

Bright spark

Be the live wire of the office party in a gemstone delight.

Forget primary colours and dip into the jewellery box for fashion inspiration with this season’s glitzy shades of garnet, amethyst, emerald, sapphire and ruby.

A dress is the ultimate block colour one-piece in satin-finished shifts, flowing chiffon pleats or velvet minis.

Raise the bar (but not your hemline) with a maxi for top-to-toe impact.

Bring your outerwear and accessories into the jewel equation by layering different textures and pieces all in the same shade for multi-hued drama.

Accessory ace: Wear your favourite jewel tone as a pop of colour with a statement clutch. Team with black for the most dazzling effect.