Fashion: Shine time for the Christmas party season

Per Una gold sequin pencil skirt, �49.50; top, from a selection. All at Marks & Spencer.

Per Una gold sequin pencil skirt, �49.50; top, from a selection. All at Marks & Spencer.

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Don’t let anyone tell you that high-shine and sequins are garish. Stephanie Smith has tips on glitz for the party season.

Let’s get one thing cleared up, before we start. Just because it’s shiny and made of sequins, it doesn’t follow that it is automatically tacky. Not in the slightest.

V by Very sequin bomber jacket, was �48, now �40, at Very.co.uk.

V by Very sequin bomber jacket, was �48, now �40, at Very.co.uk.

For this festive season, sparkle and shine gets a sophisticated makeover, having been given the green light on the runways of Paris, Milan, New York and London.

A sequin skirt is a must-have, so if you haven’t got one already, you need one. You don’t have to go for a form-fitting sequin pencil , especially not if you worry that it’s not going to do much for any bumpy bits you might have (although the correct underpinnings can work miracles in that department. Think Spanx pants). Far more flattering may well be a swishy tasseled sequin skirt which shimmies as you move. There are also elasticated waist, just-below-the-knee pleated skirts of chiffon embellished with sequins and beads, for a beautifully wearable look.

Whichever you choose, the best way to wear a statement skirt this season is with a sweater, so opt for a slouchy one over a pencil and a more fitted style over a fuller skirt.

The sweater should be soft and luxurious. You could go all out Christmas jumper if you wish (and why not, on Christmas Day itself?), but a more elegant choice would be cream, soft pink and all shades of grey.

Silver dress, �13, from Primark.

Silver dress, �13, from Primark.

For a more seductive party look, pair with a camisole top (but not sequin) or add a weekend-ish casual edge with a motif T-shirt. When all else fails, a simple black silk tee will always work.

For a completely high-shine look, reminiscent of the decadent glamour of Studio 54, opt for shimmering, statement lame, perhaps a slip dress in molten gold, silver, pewter or copper, and team with strappy high heels and an extravagant faux fur jacket.

Primark has some impressively shiny, astonishingly cheap, high-shine metallic slip dresses, as featured here. Bias-cut lame dresses are not always the most flattering items to wear, but they can work well as a foundation garment for layering, letting the lame shine through. So take one cheap shiny slip dress and wear with a lace shirt over, or a light and chic little cropped cardigan or perhaps a see-through lace tee, finished with a gold belt.

Velvet also gets the lustrous treatment for the festive season, so look out for mustard gold, grey and nude pink shades, which look opulent, and reminiscent of grand old theatres and cinemas.

Sequin slip dress, �38, from a selection at River Island.

Sequin slip dress, �38, from a selection at River Island.

Again, don’t be afraid to team glowing velvet with something rather more low key, especially knitwear. Mixing glam party pieces with luxe daywear knits is the modern way to do shine. It’s a high/low approach to dressing, pairing occasionwear pieces with items you might usually consider more casual. Accessorising is everything, however. Ankle boots and a rucksack make the look daytime chic, while glitzy heels and a sparkling clutch instantly elevate the ensemble to party status.

River Island has come up with a super-glam range of shoes and bags for Christmas, very reasonably priced and perfect for taking your outfit up several notches in the glitzy style stakes.

You don’t have to do high and strappy shoes, so look out for silver ballet flats and brocaded boots to add shine.

Sequin and shiny trousers can be incredibly hard to wear, but might work if you try them teamed with plain tee and a longer, kimino-style silky jacket.

Gold sandals, �58, at River Island.

Gold sandals, �58, at River Island.

If you are looking for shiny make-up, Burberry does a pot of gold Shimmer Dust for £20. Apply to eyelids and temples for a festively theatrical Puck look.

And remember, it’s sophisticated you’re going for, not garish.

Gold glitter knit, �26; purple velvet slip dress, was �48, now �33.60; gold glitter heels, �32. All at Dorothy Perkins.

Gold glitter knit, �26; purple velvet slip dress, was �48, now �33.60; gold glitter heels, �32. All at Dorothy Perkins.

Purple sequin dress, was �110, now �75, at Hotsquash.com.

Purple sequin dress, was �110, now �75, at Hotsquash.com.