Only a few weeks to go till Christmas! Hopefully your social events will be going full steam ahead this year, and not get cancelled like last year.
But what to wear? When it comes to these occasions, do you feel like you either have smart things you wear to work (and consequently you don't want to wear them out) or casual things you wear at the weekend and not much in between?
I know quite a few of my clients struggle in this area, so in an effort to help, I've put together some outfits below that I think would be fitting for some Xmas socialising. I've kept them fairly casual for those occasions where you don't have to look super swanky (in which case you'd probably be wearing black tie anyway,) but you want to feel like you've made the effort whilst still being comfortable.
An unstructured knitted blazer is a very useful thing to have in your wardrobe - half way between a cardigan and a blazer, you can use it to dress up jeans and a t-shirt or combine it like this for a smarter look that doesn't scream work......which is partly down to the colours.
A client bought these off white cords recently, and they went with practically every outfit I put together for him afterwards. They're especially good to add some contrast if you wear loads of blue, black and grey and I love them with this tan colour too.
A chambray shirt is another versatile item which you can use as a less businesslike blue shirt, or to dress down a suit, or blazer and it's perfect with chinos and cords. It's likely you might have a pair of tan brogues in your wardrobe anyway but have you got a nice scarf? Accessories really help to finish off your outfit, so don't forget about them.....maybe you could put one of these on your Christmas list!?
Tan slim fit unstructured knitted wool blazer - Lardini at Mr Porter - £565
Slim Japanese chambray shirt - MCR at Trunk - £125
'Duke' off white 5 pocket corduroy trousers - Trunk - £165
Leaf print modal/cashmere scarf - Boggi - £109
Tan 'Archie' leather wingtip brogues - Grenson at Mr Porter - £250
This is exactly the sort of outfit I'd like to see my understated friend in - it's not dissimilar to what he wears at the moment, but just takes it up a notch.
A darker coloured shirt doesn't look too 'worky', and this one is a bit dressy with it's subtle pattern and slim fit. If you want to go one step smarter than jeans, then some five pocket trousers are a good choice - same style as jeans but not denim which makes all the difference. A fine knit jumper with no logo is a smart extra layer if you need it......burgundy is super easy to combine with other colours and I've bought this particular style with a couple of clients already.
Brown suede boots finish off a great outfit to take you out for a gastro pub dinner with a group of friends, the office party, or drinks with the dads from your kids school.
Navy & green organic cotton slim fit shirt - PS by Paul Smith at Mr & Mrs Stitch - £135
'Blackhall' bordeaux merino wool zip neck jumper - Reiss - £98
Navy 'Fives' five pocket trousers - Spoke - £95
Dark brown 'Cubitt' suede lace-up boots - Paul Smith at Mr Porter - £360
A couple of tips on getting a smart casual outfit right - firstly, don't combine super casual with super smart - for example, if I'd put a baggy logo t-shirt and sport trainers with these flannel trousers, it's less likely to have worked, but combining it with the fitted striped t-shirt and smarter leather trainers gives just the right balance.
Secondly think about how many parts of the outfit are on the more casual side of things and how. many are smarter - with this one you've got 2 parts casual (t-shirt & trainers) to 1 part smart (flannel trousers).
The jacket sits somewhere in between as it's in a casual style but a dressy fabric - this helps to bring the outfit together and also gives it more of a party-ish. feel with the velour fabric.
So if you're more of a t-shirt and trainers sort of guy, but need to ramp your outfit up for a Christmas do, then try this out.
Deep blue velour blouson jacket - Camoshita at Trunk - £310
'Welbeck' grey flannel pleat trousers - Trunk - £290
'York' ecru and grey stripe t-shirt - Trunk - £50
If you're really not the type to dress up at all, then this is the outfit for you.......just give a subtle nod to Christmas with this red check shirt. Go for slim dark jeans and Chelsea boots to give a sleek and slightly smarter base for the shirt, and wear it done up to the top and leave it tucked out.
Alternatively, wear it as an over-shirt - either with a t-shirt like I've put here or with a polo neck jumper which is how they've styled it on the website. You could even put it over a hoody for a crisp Christmas walk and to really get the most from it then check out this blog post for even more ideas on how to style an over-shirt.
Check red brushed flannel 'Kemper' shirt - Reiss - £128
Black stretch denim jeans - Boggi - £149
Charcoal classic t-shirt - Sunspel - £75
Black 'Providence' suede Chelsea boots - Office Creative at Mr Porter - £465
On the other hand, if you want to go all out and love dressing up, then take your lead from Prince William and Daniel Craig, who you've no doubt seen sporting velvet jackets recently. (Probably the reason this blog post I did awhile ago on '5 Ways to Wear a Velvet Blazer' is suddenly very popular again!)
You could wear this dark green Oliver Spencer one with the matching trousers and a dress shirt for a full on smart occasion or with a roll neck and boots as shown above for a semi formal event. Dark denim jeans and the printed shirt from above would give another different look - basically it'll smarten up any outfit around Christmas time, so if you've never tried one on before then give it a go, you might like it!
Grey extra fine merino turtle neck jumper - Uniqlo - £29.90
Black 'Jonah' grain leather lace up boots - Grenson at Mr & Mrs Stitch - £260
Still haven't got a clue what you're going to wear to your work do, family gathering or New Year's Eve party? Don't worry!! I have a few slots left in the next couple of weeks, so book in below and get your outfits sorted, quickly and easily:
"I chose to work with Sarah for a personal shopping trip because it seemed as though she worked with a high degree of professionalism and attention to detail - and I was not disappointed by the experience.
The shopping itself was fun and painless but we also made productive use of the time available. Sarah immediately puts you at ease with her warm demeanour, sense of humour and pragmatic know-how. She excels in enlisting the help of sales staff to have the right items ready to try on and where appropriate was ready to negotiate for discounts on my behalf. She strikes a good balance between listening to your clothing preferences and providing her own ideas and as a result I came away with an expanded and more developed understanding of my own personal style.
The whole experience was well worth the time and money invested - I received several positive comments on my appearance since our shopping trip and I would feel much more confident shopping by myself in future."
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