It’s time to start thinking about the big day next month – yes I mean Christmas. And if you feel it’s too early, spare a thought for those of us who work in retail and had to start planning it in January! I’m easing in slowly today with Christmas 23 – easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood. Starting to think about whatever you have planned will help you to ease towards the festive feeling. I don’t know about you but our run-up to Christmas has changed dramatically since lockdown. It’s partly because the boys have left home so we don’t have the lovely school performances and carol services to go to. However it’s also down to us. We took a decision during those long months of 2020 to see if we could start working nationally rather than regionally again. We didn’t know if it would work but luckily it has so far (fingers crossed, touch wood) and to manage the projects, we’ve had to withdraw from the local business scene so the many local festive lunches and events that we used to go to just aren’t in our calendar any more.

At first I felt a bit sad but when I think about it, I enjoyed planning what to wear far more than the events themselves which took a huge bite out of our time and energy levels as we approached Christmas. It does have an impact on my wardrobe though as I look longingly at black tie dresses and sparkly shoes, wondering if I’ll ever have a reason to wear them again. I noticed from the reader survey that only 4% of you ticked black tie and cocktail dresses as being something you shop for so I’m not going to cover them this year. Instead I’m looking at versatile additions that will help to transform what you already have into a going out worthy outfit – who needs glass slippers and a fairy godmother?!

Rather than dividing it by tops/bottoms/shoes etc I’m going to organise it by finish. We’ve talked a lot about texture recently and that’s the thing that’s going to make the biggest difference. It means that you can decide which effect you like best and just add a piece or two if you want to update your look for Christmas 23 – after all, I’m sure most of us have a few favourites tucked away that we like to get out at this time of year. So let me talk you through the prevalent textures for Christmas 23 and then show you the best pieces I’ve found on the high street.

Christmas 23 – easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood


I’m calling this lustre because it gives you a shine that’s more subtle than the sequins that have dominated for the last few years – the brands who have an eye on sustainability know that they need to tempt us away from them. It’s hard to miss the hierarchy of different metallics with silver sitting firmly at the top but perhaps already feeling overhyped, the thing about it is that it always comes around again though so silver is still a good cornerstone for a Christmas wardrobe. Lustre is the most chic and on trend way of updating your wardrobe for 2023 and it’s likely to have appeal that will last for a few seasons to come.

Separates are always a good idea because of the versatility they bring, you can wear this top and skirt with other items in your wardrobe and have endless options for the whole festive season. This outfit is also available in black or pine green.

Silver lustre top; silver lustre skirt

If metallic clothes feel like too much you can always just add a touch of shimmer to your hands with an environmentally friendly, biodegradable nail polish. Also available in gold, bronze or gold or iridescent glitter

Metallic nail polish

A soft clutch with a hint of sheen that will work all year round. An almost unbelievable price for sustainable leather, also available in black sparkle.

Soft leather clutch

A lightweight navy jumper with a touch of metallic shimmer in the thread. Made from a recycled cotton and ecovero viscose blend, also available in moss green.

Sparkle jumper

Trousers of dreams that fit beautifully and will come out for special occasions from now till eternity. A slight flare at the bottom maximises the elegance of the French gold jacquard cloth.

Gold jacquard trousers

A simple and comfortable way of dressing for Christmas with a hint of glimmer – a cotton/viscose roll neck dress in navy that you can dress up or dress down. Also available in black.

Sparkle roll neck dress

An elegant plissé dress with interwoven gold thread. It’s the detail that makes the difference on this one, with fluted cuffs and a sculptural elasticated waist as well as fabric that has been engineered to snap back after washing.

Metallic plissé dress

Picking up on the season’s trend for chainmail (you’ll spot the young wearing chainmail bras over their tops). This boatnecked vest top has chainmail woven into it, dotted with diamanté – a superluxe buy but one that would work all year round.

Embellished mesh top

A particular favourite of mine – this looks like a dress but it’s actually a top and skirt giving you endless options over the twelve days of Christmas. Stretchy and sparkly with sizes up to XXXL, just so easy to wear.

Blue sparkly top; Blue sparkly skirt

High shine – Christmas 23 – easy outfit ideas

I always find that the closer I get to Christmas, the more I want to shine. I don’t know whether it’s because the days are getting darker or the Christmas spirit is burning brighter but it’s a fact. For the last few years I’ve made a point of putting some kind of sparkle on every day from 1st December onwards, somehow it boosts my mood more than an advent calendar! Anyway, here are the different finishes for those who like to glow and sparkle. I have to add that sequins need to be bought with thought because even if they’re recycled, they’re still a terrible thing to send to landfill. If you’re buying them, make sure it’s a piece you really love that you’ll wear for years and years to come. I suspect we’ll find sequins being banned for environmental reasons soon.

This skirt is just so pretty, the interspersing of sequins with the tulle makes me think of gossamer, it’s like something from a fairytale. It works with this season’s sheer trend and yet it’s still timeless . It currently has £25 off too.

Sequin scattered tulle skirt

There’s a whole collection of these vintage style diamanté earrings and I’m really impressed by their price and quality. They remind me of a pair of my mum’s that I had from the 1940s. It’s an easy way to add an expensive looking sparkle to any outfit. You can find the full collection here.

Vintage style earrings

I’m noticing that skinny jeans are creeping back, they’re popping up everywhere. I suspect some people have never given them up, others have tired of the impracticalities of wearing wide legs – plus of course fashion always flips when a style reaches a certain level of market saturation. Anyway here’s a party pair, great to wear with heels, reasonably priced and available in a blue or black shine.

Shimmer skinny jeans

This is a beautifully tailored long, lean blazer, made with some recycled materials, reasonably priced with five star reviews. It would be easy to throw on over a dress, jeans and a simple top or even the matching wide leg sequinned trousers. It comes in blue, black or silver.

Sequinned blazer

Sick of silver? These gold faux leather trousers are a great antidote and they come in lots of other colours too – including silver! They’re cropped at the ankle bone so they give you an opportunity to show off party shoes or boots as well.

Gold faux leather trousers

Christmas dressing doesn’t get easier than a sparkly sweatshirt. It’s more relaxed than a jumper but would still look cool worn with a skirt or smart pair of trousers. It’s a great way of bringing your winter wardrobe up to date, the only problem is that it’s selling out fast (size down).

Silver sequinned sweatshirt

This silver shirt echoes the molten metallics that were seen on the catwalks for Aw23. Easy to dress up or down it’s a simple, washable wardrobe update.

Molten metallic shirt

It isn’t easy to find timeless party shoes at the moment but here’s a pair that you’ll have forever. Made from sustainable leather they have a creamy silver sheen, a low heel and a padded elasticated slingback for a perfect fit. They’ll work to elevate both casual and smart outfits all year round.

Champagne slingbacks

I haven’t bought any new sequins since lockdown but this bomber really tempts me. It would be great to wear in place of a cardigan for a cool, layered look. I can just imagine it paired with a t-shirt or cami underneath as a way of managing escalating temperatures in a crowded room. And of course it would add Parisian chic worn over a dress too.

Black and silver sequinned bomber jacket

Soft texture – Christmas 23 – easy outfit ideas

There’s always a yin to the yang in fashion and some people prefer to turn their back on sparkle in favour of deeper, softer textures. Velvet has been out in the cold for a while but it’s clearly coming back. The only thing to consider is the type of event you’re going to attend – if there’s a likelihood that someone might knock into you with a chilled glass then opt for a cotton blend or even washable velvet. Pure cotton velvet is beautiful but unforgiving. Satin of course continues to be a key player in the soft category although at this time of year a skirt can be a more workable solution than a camisole. And tassels and tufts are a new arrival, making you think of the flapper era, don’t dismiss them straightaway, they can be a subtle way of standing out.

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

It isn’t easy to find a simple, flattering top in a warm blue velvet but here’s one. You could wear it with any trouser cut as well as a skirt – an affordable classic that you’ll probably pull out time and time again.

Blue velvet top

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

Fringing and tassels are the newcomers to this year’s party scene. This dress is a great way to achieve the mini-dress effect without actually revealing too much – sassy dressing at its best and there’s a skirt option too if you’re quick.

Fringed dress

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

A lovely Christmas take on the Chanel classic, a tinsel tufted structured cardigan. Another piece that will work as well with jeans as it will with a little black dress, a well priced wardrobe investment.

Tinsel tufted cardigan

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

If winter walks and meeting for relaxed drinks in the pub are more your thing at Christmas then this will work well, a soft sequin stripe jumper with a touch of cashmere

Sequin stripe jumper

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

A red satin skirt has been my Christmas buy for this year along with a tonal red jumper. This is made from sustainable viscose and it’s in the sale – I wish I’d seen it before I bought mine!

Red satin skirt

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

These velour trousers are another piece that I have in my basket while I try to work out if I can justify them. They’re in my favourite ‘super clean’ trouser cut that works so well to flatter your body, they have a comfortable elasticated waist and they’re washable too. Also available in burgundy.

Super clean cut velour trousers

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

This is such a flattering shape with its nipped in waist and a peplum that flares to hide your mince pie intake. The Christmas tree green is the festive version or it’s available in classic black for year round wear. Both are great value.

Velvet pintuck top

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

A more affordable velvet trouser option that also has an elasticated waist. These trousers come in the same colours and fabric as the top I just pointed out so you could create a jumpsuit effect while having the option to wear them with different tops as well.

Wide leg velvet trousers

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

One for the lovers of bright colours like me, this slim cut shirt is a great option but be warned, it’s selling out fast. Also available in three other colours: Black, forest green and a navy pattern.

Berry velvet shirt

Christmas 23 – easy outfit ideas – try-on

A Christmas edit with White Stuff helped me to get in the mood for writing this at the weekend. As one of the UK’s solid market town brands I’m really keen to keep on supporting them. They’re a great team of people and after the demise of Monsoon and now Fat Face being sadly been swallowed up by Next as well as Joules, those of us who live rurally really need to rally round the retailers that bring colour and joy to our local streets. So I picked out a few pieces to wear with the clothes I already have which is exactly how I’ll be updating my wardrobe this season.

I’m starting with wide leg velvet trousers and the thing that’s particularly good about these is that they’re an ecovero viscose velvet blend rather than polyester. This means that they feel similar to cotton velvet and yet they’re washable. They have a zip fastening rather than an elasticated waist so they don’t add any more volume than you already have at the middle and they have a standard rise, sitting across your tummy button.

I’ve paired them with one of my all time favourite Christmas shirts, I love the cut so much that I’ve been tracking different colours down on Vinted which seems like a good way to save sequins from landfill. You could happily wear these trousers with a jumper for a more casual day or a different style of party top for going out. They’re just the right length for wearing with flat shoes for me, I’m wearing a size 12 and they’re true to size, they’re also available in black. That isn’t really champagne I’m drinking by the way, it’s my new favourite Zoe aperitif – a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with sparkling water – yum!

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

Velvet wide leg trousers; Free People sequin shirt (past season); Boden jewelled shoes (AW 2014)

Moving on to outfit two, some of you will be thinking I had a skirt like this and I did but I sold it to one of you in a charity sale – and have always regretted it. However this one is nicer because it has a better cut at the top so the tulle frills don’t start as high which means your outline is sleeker where it needs to be. I really like the fact that the tulle is spotted too. I had to ask Mal with his creative’s eye why that was and he suggested that it was because it made the contrast less harsh – the polka dots emphasise the frothiness of the tulle texture. There’s a dress in the same fabric too. The reviews suggested that you need to size up on the skirt and they’re right.

I’ve paired it with a simple cashmere jumper that could take you to a lunch, a bar or just a festive day at work. You could, of course, dress the skirt up with a satin camisole or a fitted blouse too, or wear it with a jersey top if wool makes you feel too hot. In the end I felt so happy in this outfit that I ditched the ‘jeans and nice top’ I’d planed to wear for my evening with my siblings in a lovely country gastropub and kept this on instead.

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

Spotted tulle skirt (gifted AW23); M&S cashmere jumper (past season); Zara shoes (past season)

And last of all, a report in The Telegraph this week showed that there’s a growing trend for spending Christmas Day in a nice pair of pyjamas. I can’t see myself doing it but I can absolutely imagine the boys being very happy with the idea. Anyway, as I often say, you can’t beat White Stuff’s PJs. Why? Because of the organic cotton and ecovero viscose blend which means they feel like the silkiest soft cotton and they don’t crease too badly. They also continue to have beautiful details such as the piping, contrasting cuffs and the subtle embroidered ‘zzzz’ on the sleeves – little touches that you just don’t find on the high street very often these days.

I only have my favourite things in our Newcastle life so my White Stuff pyjamas live there and they’re always a treat to slip on when we arrive. This will be a second pair and the giraffe print is a nice tribute to the beautiful creatures we fed by hand in Kenya this year – it feels like a dream that we ever went there now, but a very happy one. There are four other prints and colourways to choose from – I’m wearing a medium and they’re true to size.

Christmas 23 - easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood

Pyjama top; pyjama bottoms; Boden slippers past season

Reader get together

I’m delighted to say that back in the summer, Rebecca, a reader, got in touch to offer help with organising a reader get together. She’s been very patient with me and I now have a date – Thursday 29th February 2024 at about 6pm. It feels like a nice way to mark Leap Day. We’re planning to hold it in London this time and we wondered if any of you have any ideas of where we could meet. Last time we had quite an impromptu gathering in the bar at the Royal Festival Hall but it would be good to have a room to ourselves somewhere. I try to keep prices as low as possible, all we need to do is cover the venue and any food/drink that’s involved. So, if you have any thoughts please could you email me using the contact form. And if you’re interested in coming, could you add your details below – there’s no commitment at this stage, it just gives us so an idea of numbers. It will be SO good to have an evening of chat and laughter – that’s all it’ll be, I’m not planning a speech or a talk or anything like that. Fingers crossed you can come.

And that’s it for today, I hope it’s helped you to start thinking about Christmas 23 – easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood felt like the best place to start. I have a lot on so I won’t have time to write a post for next Tuesday but I’ll be back on Friday. I know a few of you are enjoying hearing about my Zoe journey, this week has been all about blood sugar challenges and watching my glucose curve going up and down. Today’s task is to eat cake which I’m really looking forward to after a four day project that was based around plain white rice! I’m going to leave you with one thing that’s really made me think hard – I’ve been listening to the podcasts pretty solidly and they’re all informative but this one is particularly good. It’s about thinking ahead to the kind of old person you want to be in your last decade – and how to plan your life so that you can achieve it. It you have a spare 40 minutes you may just find that it changes everything – you can find out more here. 

In the meantime happy bonfire night to everyone in the UK and thoughts to those of you who have been hit by Storm Ciaran – the autumn weather isn’t turning out too well so far is it?!

Disclosure: ‘Christmas 23 – easy outfit ideas to get you in the mood’ is not a sponsored post

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