Forget the little black dress and get into the party spirit with something colourful, embellished or this season’s hottest look, white.
Stylist Sophie Hart is a big fan of wearing white at night.
“It’s a big trend this season and is great for a party look,” she says.
“White is really fresh for summer and makes a change from all black.”
If colour is more your thing, Hart suggests block hues rather than intricate prints.
“A block coloured dress with a printed heel is a fun take on party dressing because the heel is the hero,” she says.
“I’d team light pastel tones with a multi-toned pump. It’s elegant and also fun, you’re teaming heels for dancing with a sophisticated dress.”
Sophistication is a strong theme this season, with a move towards longer skirt lengths and a less body conscious silhouette.
“Dresses below the knee are really, they’re not super short these days,” Hart says.
“They’re a little bit more sophisticated. You want an outfit to say that you’re looking to have fun but you’re not too much fun.”
Nothing says you’re looking to have fun like sequins and a part is the perfect place to wear them.
“I’m a fan of nice sequin, they can be really beautiful,” Hart says.
“You can get sequin shift dresses, bodysuits and sequined pants which definitely say party. If you’re going to wear them, keep it tasteful. It’s not about the slinky dress which is really obvious, a more subtle way to wear it is like an everyday item but covered in sequins.”
You don’t have to wear a dress either on the biggest party night of the year. Try an all-in-one to stand out from the crowd.
“Playsuits are cute, but they can be tricky,” Hart says.
“You want a sleeve, not spaghetti straps, or embellishments to make it an evening look. All one colour can also look very sophisticated and with a heel you can really dress them up.”
If heels aren’t your thing, don’t be scared of flats.
“Pointed flats lead back to that romantic trend fashion is going through at the moment,” Hart says.
“Plus a pointy toe is more dressy and a covered up toe makes you look more formal. You can even get printed ones or shoes covered with sequins and diamantes for a bit of sparkle.”
If you’re adamant about wearing heels though, Hart has a few words of caution.
“Make sure you can walk in them,” she says.
When it comes to bags, box clutches are king.
“That heavy, hard case clutch is a big deal at the moment,” Hart says.
“Clear Perspex as well as a little bit of hardware makes it a bit more edgy. Team it with a soft, flowing dress for contrast.”
While parties call for glitz, Hart believes you can have too much of a good thing.
“Nothing should be in excess, that goes for partying in general,” she says.
“If you’re wearing a sequinned dress, then don’t have any other accessories that will compete with it.
“When it comes to jewellery, go for a big earring. You’ll have loads of photos taken so when it crops in, especially for selfies, it’s nice to have things around your face.”
Wherever it is you’re heading off to, Hart stresses the importance of respecting the dress code.
“The invite is like that for a reason and if someone has gone to the trouble of organising a party you should make an effort,” she says.
“It’s a great excuse to dress up and it’s really nice when you go to event and everyone is in similar attire.
Even if it’s just a casual bbq or at the beach, go for a maxi dress and jewelled flats. A nice maxi is an easy way to make an effort. It always looks good because it gives good movement and is easy to wear because you can sit on the grass and not get scratchy legs. Plus it still looks glam.”
This story was first published in Shop Smart, The Sunday Telegraph on December 14, 2014