Every party season we have to fight that Pavlovian reflex to pull out the glittery cocktail dress as soon as Mariah Carey's Christmas album starts to play. 'All I want for Christmas is you…in a new lewk?' Happily, this December offers a slew of fresh ways to dress up that don't involve you looking like a bauble. ELLE's resident experts show you the way by sharing their styling plans for the month of festive happenings ahead.
Anne-Marie Curtis, Fashion Director
I recently invested in flared cropped trousers to change up my tux silhouette. Wearing a party dress just doesn't feel right any more, so I now focus instead on separates. I'll be investing in a black silk Balenciaga blouse and statement earrings to dress things up even further.
Donna Wallace, Accessories Editor
Some people wear a party dress. I prefer the party trainer tricked out in feathers and crystals. Miu Miu has some of the best – I'd wear them with black tailoring. My favourite styling hack for the party season is to put a camisole over your shirt — very Marques'Almeida. It's also an easy way to go from day to night.
Kenya Hunt, Fashion Features Director
Yes, glitter and shimmer are fun, but I think there are more interesting ways to tap into that festive spirit. I prefer to do this through texture. I love all of Prada's brocades and jacquards; I'd wear the gold jacquard coat belted over a vintage tee and Levi's jeans. And for events that are a little more formal, I'd pull out a velvet smoking jacket from Racil and wear it with Saint Laurent tuxedo trousers.
Billie Bhatia, Fashion Assistant
I am always in a rollneck, so during party season I go for a luxe version. This season it will be in lurex or velvet, worn under a sleeveless dress or with palazzo trousers. And I'll be using satin ribbon – the kind you see around the gifts under the tree – to tie a low ponytail to polish the look off.
Felicity Kay, Fashion Assistant
I have always had a phobia of being overdressed. As a result, my party uniform usually consists of a white shirt, jeans (where I can get away with it) and a red lip. This season I'll be swapping the denim for high-shine fabrics, such as the spray-on-skinny vinyl pants from Anthony Vaccarello. Another symptom of being a perpetual under-dresser is that I've been avoiding heels for the past few seasons, as they've felt infinitely less cool than elevated flats. But this season a simple patent court, again with the high shine, feels relevant again.
Kirsty Dale, Executive Fashion Director
I love mixing day and evening pieces, such as wearing a rollneck under a slip dress or a tulle overlay to shirting. I like that idea of making a piece work harder, so instead of traditional party dresses I'll be buying lightweight cashmere jumpers, slip dresses and polonecks – all things I can wear during the day or night. I'll use statement earrings and knotted, satin mules to give my evening look an extra dose of after-eight shimmer.
Michelle, Duguid, Senior Fashion Editor
My go-to item is a cocktail jumper – not a Christmas jumper; there will be no snowflakes or snowmen – the more luxurious the better. I also love a wide-leg velvet suit. I'll break it up into pieces for day, wearing the trousers and a poloneck with trainers to the office, then swapping out the top for a camisole and adding the jacket and heels for night.
Roberta Hollis, Fashion Assistant
A great way to breathe new life into your favourite old LBD is through hosiery. Seen at the likes of the AW16 Saint Laurent show, a pair of sheer polka dot, fishnet or seamed pantyhose are a chic – and very French – way to elevate a dress. Another of my favourite holiday-dressing hacks involves undoing the top buttons on a men's shirt and wearing it off your shoulders. I'll be doing this with a long, velvet skirt.
Lulu Cooper, Fashion Assistant
A tailored trouser with a cami and smart, flat shoes is my favourite holiday-season outfit. I'll dress it up even more with a striking pair of earrings. I think sparkle looks more contemporary when it's the focal piece rather than worn all over.
Joely Walker, Beauty Editor
One word: metallics. Oh, and animal print. Because it wouldn't be very in the spirit of things not to jazz up my usual all-black-everything approach to evening attire at least a little bit. That said, I still like to keep things easy – as in relaxed enough to indulge in any kind of impromptu dancing scenario that may unfold – so I'll always throw a black leather biker jacket over the top and wear shoes I know are in it for the long haul.
Rachael Evans, Bookings Editor
My nighttime look has to include something off-kilter. I'd never wear a party skirt with heels, for instance. I like to mix the formal with the informal – which in my case, for this season, means a sweatshirt. I don't do 'party dressing'; for me, I'm party-appropriate simply by being at the party.
Heather Gwyther, Fashion Assistant
My party look involves any pair of earrings that demand both adoration and endurance. If my earlobes aren't aching, I'm not interested. And there's something about a black suede court worn with fishnet tights that makes most outfits look a bit chicer, even under trousers.