Fashion: All about Eve

Grey Audrey sequin dress, �325, from Phase Eight.
Grey Audrey sequin dress, �325, from Phase Eight.
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As the New Year beckons, Stephanie Smith has advice on stylish statement dressing, no matter where and how you’re celebrating.

Some like it rowdy and raucous, punctuated by party poppers and whoops of hedonistic delight. Some prefer to experience an evening of elegance, perhaps dinner and a dance, a few drinks, maybe a little romance. Others love a house party, their own or a neighbour’s, with the smaller children stowed away together upstairs, allowing parents to revel (not too loudly) downstairs. And then there are those who like nothing better than a jostling, noisy mingle down at the special do laid on at the local pub.

However you intend to spend your New Year’s Eve, dressing up is all part of the magic. It’s the one night of the year when you simply cannot over-dress. Arrive at the local wearing a silver ballgown with creamy long evening gloves, a fur stole and a tiara, and it doesn’t matter if everyone else is wearing Christmas jumpers and jeans – they will simply assume that you have come dressed up in splendour as a nodding appreciation for the spirit of New Year, when it’s absolutely OK to look as if you’re dropping in on your way to the Ambassador’s Ball. In any case, Darcey Bussell dresses that way every week on Strictly.

This time of the season, between Christmas and New Year, is perfect for making some special occasion fashion investments. The sales are on, for a start, which means you can pick up beautiful party pieces for a song as the shops prepare to clear space for their spring collections. Even the ritziest, most lavishly embellished, long evening gown will not be a waste of money, as long as it fits and looks ravishing – just think, if nothing else, it’s sure to come in handy for that luxury cruise you keep meaning to take one day.

A simple but beautifully made long column dress in black will always, always be an asset to your wardrobe. Choose one in silk or cotton instead of a jersey type of fabric and you might be slightly chilly on New Year’s Eve, but it will double as the perfect holiday maxi for the summer. Just pile on the faux fur in the meantime.

If cosiness is important to you, choose cashmere, luxuriously lovely, by teaming a black cashmere roll-neck sweater with a full maxi skirt in a rich jewel bright satin, or try a sequin pencil skirt for a more versatile day-to-night look.

There’s something about a cape at New Year, and this season has seen some lovely dresses with cape shoulder detail – very flattering, but adding statement drama at the same time. You can get a similar effect by finding a short cape to match a belted tunic dress, for a simple but wonderful take on party dressing that will also make sure you don’t feel the cold on the final night of the old year. Have a happy new one.