This week I started reading Fashionopolis (excellent new book on the future of fast fashion, from Vogue sustainability Editor Dana Thomas) and decided that this first weekend of December - AKA the unofficial start of hardcore party season- might be a good week to step away from the credit cards when it comes to our wardrobes, and look at ways NOT to spend. Which is much easier than we might think, as seasonal fashion is often about restyling pieces that have come before in a fresh way- EXACTLY the approach we should take with our wardrobes. Here are ten AW22 catwalk styling tips that are guaranteed to add a little fashion pizzazz to your party styling, and pretty much all can be achieved with your existing wardrobe. Leaving more pennies for cocktails. * PS Those who voted in my stories to see ways to wear the mini, i'm on this for next Sunday!
1. Throw Knitwear over a Party Outfit
I defy anyone not to own a jumper or two (or ten) and the good news is that they've moved out of the 'at home' department this season. Restyle a party dress, skirt or a pair or sequin trousers with a piece of knitwear, and you'll breathe new life into pieces, and yes look effortlessly cool too.
Takeaway: Slim cashmere knits keep things classic, while chunky fisherman jumpers are more fashion forward.
2. Pick a Colour
It’s easy to fall into the 'only team brights with black' mentality our mothers taught us, but go wild and try combining some of the colourful pieces in your wardrobe. Monochrome looks are everywhere but if you don't own head to toe fuschia be brave and mix and match colours that you enjoy.
Takeaway: Try tonal pieces that sit next to each other on the colour wheel or complimentary that are opposite.
3. Switch up the black opaques
A tights switch will cheaply uplevel that dress you’ve got a bit bored of, and any of us will have some options lurking at the back of the drawer. A 20 denier is an easy trade in for the trusty black opaques (give it a go- it feels surprisingly subversive). Go one step further with spotted, logo'd, lace, or a block bright.
Takeaway: Alternative tights are about to get even bigger for SS23.
4. Dress down the gown.
We all have those pieces bought for weddings and special events that hang unloved for ever more in our wardrobes. It’s time to reimagine them in a far cooler way: team a ladylike dress with anything biker ( boots, jacket, a t-shirt) for instant 90's grunge chic. Also the perfect way to look like you've made an effort at parties without wearing heels.
Takeaway: Grunge is huge next season so those chunky winter boots are a great investment
5. Make your coat the outfit
Invested in a statement coat this Autumn? Surely it seems a waste to relegate it to the cloakroom at parties. Make it part of, or even all of your look: team with a great pair of shoes and an 'I may not be wearing anything underneath' air. (On a more basic level this also works well if you don't have time to change after work.)
Takeaway: This seasons furry and quilted coats can easily switch from day to night.
6. Add Gloves
The opera glove is currently the accessory de jour in the fashion world, and many of us will have a pair tucked away from the 1990's ( Or from a Pulp Fiction fancy dress party) A slightly niche but very simple way to breathe some directional 2022 vibes into that lbd. Just avoid the crisps.
Takeaway: A long glove is also perfect with the seasons retro feeling coats.
7. 'Jeans and a Nice Top'
The trusty combo that often gets a hard rap in fashion circles has been rebooted. Throw on your slouchiest boyfriend jeans ( NOT the skinnies!) team with a barely there sandal or stiletto and your top of choice, and voila, instant fashion endorsed effortless party style.
Takeaway: For extra style points go simple but with statement jewels, or just a white vest.
8. Embrace the Black
Many of us will have a disproportionate amount of black hanging in the wardrobe. If this is you, it's time to embrace it, as the all black ensemble is trending, and interestingly is sticking around come spring. Try mixing up textures like velvet, lace, leather and satin, to create gothic AW22 worthy interest.
TAKEAWAY: A long black boot will give a dress edge
9. Raid your own Jewellery Box
Most of us have boxes of forgotten about jewellery, so an easy rework for an outfit you've tired of is to make jewellery the star. Layer up whatever you have: bangles, lots of chains, or pearls (currently big news.) Nb this works just as well or even better with an otherwise casual look.
Takeaway: Create the unexpected- add a statement necklace to a sweatshirt.
10. Add a Blazer to Everything
Most of us will have invested in a blazer or two over the past few seasons. The good news #1 is the blazer is still key for next season, and #2 is perfect partner for a party outfit right now- adding some androgynous insouciance to the most girlie of dresses. Oversized is the key, which offers husband/boyfriend blazer stealing opportunity.
Takeaway: Rather than wear a blazer drape it over your shoulders for instant glam
11. Get Basic
Controversial maybe, but the humble white vest is to be liberated from the bottom drawer this season and uplevelled to partywear. Team with anything from a sparkly skirt for the ultimate high low outfit ( big news), to jeans- but remember- make them baggy.
Takeaway: High low party looks are key for AW22
12. Just Wear the Dress
We probably all have a frivolous piece we bought spontaneously - which somehow feels too extra special to wear and never leaves the wardrobe. The time is now people, this season too much is positively an impossibility. Wear the dress- who knows when we'll next be back in our tracksuits.
Takeaway- Check the back of the wardrobe for forgotten purchases.
And if all else fails; If you have the party of parties to go to and nothing feels right, then Christmas is prime time to consider renting pieces that might otherwise only get one wear. The list of rental sites is ever growing, and it goes without saying, easier on both your pocket and your conscience.
Takeaway: Rent from Hurr, My Wardrobe HQ, By Rotation, and Girl Meets Dress
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If you would like my information on one on one style consulting see my personal styling website.