Rival the Christmas tree with some festive sparkle. Lisa Haynes shows you how to dazzle in this season's partywear.
By Lisa Haynes
Don't even think about pulling out your trusty LBD this party season.
There's far too much in the way of decadence, glitz and sparkle adorning the rails to resist.
Even the traditional party dress is vying for attention with jaw-dropping maxi gowns, statement suiting and even dress coats that work for dancefloor and outdoors.
This season, partywear is made for anti-wallflowers so don't go for half measures.
"Every woman needs the 'wowzer' dress," says Marios Schwab, Edition designer at Debenhams.
"It's not about trends. It's about what looks interesting and at the same time makes her feel totally gorgeous."
Whether you want to rock some baroque, go mad for metallics or indulge in sequin overdose, 'tis the season to be outrageously OTT.
Baroque 'N' Roll
Stand aside minimalists, excess and exuberance are this season's buzz words.
Return to an era of opulent luxury with Baroque period-inspired pieces that flaunt intricate embroidery, ornate brocade and gilded embellishment.
A lustrous black and gold colourway dominates the Baroque trend making this the ideal update for those who can't give up their LBD habit.
If you want to opt for colour, think flocked fabrics and damask prints in rich jewel tones. The plusher the backdrop the better, so look for crushed velvet or glamorous satin.
This is one trend where over-accessorising is perfectly acceptable so team with regal bling and a statement bag.
Gold, silver, or bronze; now's the time to really celebrate Team GB's medal tally with your favourite metal.
Metallics are the most decadent party colour palette. Because the material is high-gloss, keep the silhouette clean and sleek to really outshine the competition.
Look for sultry matte metallics if you want a sophisticated, grown-up feel.
Separates are having a moment right now, so seek out a dress coat in pewter or gold that doubles up as both a cover-up and a dress when done up. Metallic cropped trousers will also look red hot teamed with pointy toe heels for their leg lengthening powers.
Shiny or matte, leather is a surprise hit in metallic tones if you're looking for a rock chick edge with a hint of bling.
Give the festive disco balls some competition in sequins. Don't look to the Strictly Come Dancing contestants for inspiration; this look is more glitterati than glitzy.
Guarantee yourself a sparkling entrance in a floor sweeping sequin gown. Choose a darker colour like black, gunmetal or deep purple for a more flattering look as sequins can add bulk to your frame.
To achieve a tinsel effect, try super-sizing your sequins. Focus on separates like a top or skirt if you want to shimmer with subtlety.
Low-key not in your vocabulary? Look for a dress with bold circular paillettes (spangles) in a bright gem colour to really make a statement.
Swap sequins for intricate shimmering beading to channel Gatsby glamour. Think Twenties chic with a flapper dress that will swing as you show off your Charleston.
As the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton has proved so often, lace is a classic fabric for evening chic.
But if you want to move away from super-safe black, inject a sprinkle of Christmas magic with festive reds, golds and sapphire blues.
Contrasting materials and fabrics like flirty feathers will ensure you look dancefloor-ready. Also look to necklines and sleeves with eye-catching embellished details for lace with the festive trimmings.
This season, the matchy-matchy trouser suit is the anti-leg baring answer to party frocks.
Look for a lace or lace print two-piece for an edgy take on Christmas outfit traditions. Killer heels are the essential accessory if you're taking on this glam tux look.
Get the look
Myleene gives a master-Klass in sensational sparkle wearing Ariella Couture. Get your dazzle on in Ben de Lisi at Debenhams's grey beaded maxi dress, £146.25 (08445 616 161/www.debenhams.com).
Buy it now
Lend a helping hand with charitable arm candy. Topshop has teamed up with disaster relief charity ShelterBox to launch four friendship bracelets with engraved metal discs. Each bracelet is £2, with a £1 donation to ShelterBox, available now in Topshop stores and www.topshop.com
:: Wardrobe wars
Crammed closets are leading to domestics and sneaky clear-outs. More than half of couples (54%) regularly argue over wardrobe space with 48% complaining that their partner's clothes are taking over the bedroom. One in 10 (14%) Brits confessed that they throw away their partner's clothes without their consent to create more wardrobe space, the survey by Big Yellow Self Storage reveals. Surprisingly, the research shows it is men who are taking over the wardrobe as 65% of women say that their partner's collection of t-shirts and tops is bigger than theirs.
:: Recessionista alert
Get a designer party dress that doesn't break the bank with Wish Want Wear. Frocks and accessories are available to rent from just £30, with labels including Temperley, Missoni and Herve Leger. Visit www.wishwantwear.com