With a jam-packed diary of festive parties ahead and myriad dress codes to master, this is the most wonderful time of the year when it comes to exuberant, risk-taking wardrobe choices. With the style stakes high this party season, the best-dressed pieces are those that truly break the mould. An “it” bag that will outshine the decorations; a mini dress that will start any party off with a bang… Think outfit-elevating accessories, unexpected colour palettes, a new twist on black-tie tailoring, and disco-ready sparkle. These are clothes that stand out from the crowd, for nights to remember. By Charlie Gowans-Eglinton

"Instead of a little black dress this party season, enter the little black blazer”


Instead of a little black dress this party season, enter the little black blazer. McQueen’s has just as much impact as the classic LBD, cinched at the waist with a voluminous trailing bow and cut away in an asymmetric slash across the lower back. Whatever the dress code, the LBB rises to the occasion: elegant over black trousers, easily dressed down with denim, or layered over a micro-skirt for a very modern spin on the mini dress.

Bow slashed jacket, £3,290; Alexander McQueen, 27 Old Bond Street W1S 4QE

Sparkle and Shine

Festive sparkle, but not as you know it. The unexpected colour choice makes Galvan London’s sequin dress – and its wearer – stand out; a bolt of sky-blue in a sea of deeper hues this party season. Covered from top to toe in sequins that shimmer in the light, it falls in an elegant column to the floor, with a thigh-high split for dancing (and a peek at your party shoes).

Stargaze bandeau dress, £1,495; Galvan London, 99 Bond Street W1S 1RS

Gold Standard

Looking for one piece to effervesce your everyday look? Miu Miu’s glittery golden skirt brings an instant dose of glamour to any outfit. Fine pleats create movement and volume, but with a slinky fit; layer over knee-high boots, party shoes or even trainers for the perfect look to pass those tricky casual dress codes, and let this chic cocktail skirt do all the sartorial heavy lifting.

Lamé skirt, £1,790; Miu Miu, 150 New Bond Street W1S 2TU

Mini Dress, Maximum Impact

For those who set trends rather than follow them, Stella McCartney’s mini dress is this season’s wildcard choice. In high-octane orange – a colour not often seen at this time of year, and all the more impactful for it – McCartney is shaking things up on the dance floor. With a concealed zip for a seamless fit, that asymmetric waist cut-out trimmed with a statement-making crystal-studded chain has even more impact.

Crystal cut-out mini dress, £1,790; Stella McCartney, 23 Old Bond Street W1S 4PZ

Making Strides

The secret weapon in your party dressing arsenal, Valentino Garavani’s perfect party trousers make for easy mix-and-matching. With a crisp white shirt, they’re understated and elegant; with a glittery knit, they’re playful and modern; with a black blazer, they’re timeless. Cut for a perfect slim fit, then flaring out into a spray of feathers, they’ll turn up the heat on any outfit.

Stretched viscose trousers with feathers, £2,150; Valentino Garavani, 39 Old Bond Street W1S 4QP

Bags of Style

Bottega Veneta’s pouch bag already has cult status. Now, reimagined in deep-red sequins, it’s set to be the “it” bag of the party season. The ultimate accessory to add oomph to any outfit, wear with velvet for a texture clash, with yet more sequins for all-out glamour, or with a silk cami and jeans for an effortless take on party dressing.

Mini pouch, £2,600; Bottega Veneta, 14 Old Bond Street W1S 4PP

The Latest Drop

With true depth of colour and a timeless cut, Pomellato’s beautiful drop earrings are an heirloom addition to any party outfit, sparkling by candlelight and turning every evening into a special occasion. Colour-match them to vivid green jewel tones, or wear against monochrome black or white to let these earrings really sing.

Nudo classic, £4,200; Pomellato, 31 New Bond Street W1S 2RW

Off the Cuff

One single, standout piece can be all the embellishment an outfit needs – especially when it’s as stunning as this one. Designed in collaboration with Elsa Peretti, this 18-carat cuff is an outfit maker; try it with a simple black dress, or layered over the sleeve of a super-fine merino knit with a pair of tuxedo trousers, for the ultimate in understated elegance.

Elsa Peretti small bone cuff, £17,200; Tiffany & Co., 25 Old Bond Street W1S 4QB

Velvet Overground

Red velvet is a nostalgic festive classic, and Aquazzura’s unique twist turns these sumptuous burgundy heels into a wear-forever staple. The velvet will add depth and texture to any party look, or transform denim after dark, with those signature twists drawing the eye down the leg – and making these the ultimate dancing shoes.

Twist sandal 95, £620; Aquazzura, 26 New Bond Street W1S 2RJ

Go Flat Out

For those intimate cocktail parties, long dinners and memorable nights spent hosting at home, Loewe’s plush crushed velvet flats are 2023’s answer to the smoking slipper. Proof that flats can be just as fabulous as heels, those oversized velvet bows are dramatic with ankle-cropped trousers, or unexpectedly worn subtly peeking out from beneath floor-length silk tuxedo trousers.

Toy D’Orsay flat in crushed velvet, £795; Loewe, 41 New Bond Street W1S 2SQ

Charlie Gowans-Eglinton writes for The Telegraph, The Times and the Financial Times

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