As we’re getting into the swing of Christmas now, for my last Boden edit of the year it made sense to look at what we might wear when we’re in the mood to look festive. Every year, at the end of November ( for me anyway) there comes a morning where I suddenly want to move away from my autumn clothes and add a little touch of something extra to my outfits. And that’s what today’s post is going to be about, the little touches, because I’ve heard what most of you are saying in the comments – that you’re not buying full-on Christmas party outfits this year. So I’ve deliberately focused on pieces that will work with clothes I think you’ll already have in your wardrobe. And I’ve deliberately photographed them in an ordinary trying-on session rather than a party atmosphere so that you aren’t distracted by any Christmassy scenarios that might not apply to you. I’ve also made a point of choosing items that aren’t seasonal to give you ideas for Christmassy outfits that are not just for Christmas
Before we go on to that though, let’s just have a chat about Christmas outfits because there’s no denying that the first thing that comes to mind is sequins and sparkle and that’s something we need to think about. I’ll be honest and say that when I first saw Boden’s partywear collection I felt a bit flat because it all seemed a bit pared back. At the end of last year they announced that they would no longer be producing clothes with sequins or glitter in any of their ranges. And when you first look at the Christmas collection, the absence is notable because if anybody did sequinned partywear beautifully, it was them.
However, as I’ve been saying for the last few years, lovely though sequins are, we have to remember that unless they’re vintage or very high end, they’re tiny pieces of plastic that will take forever to break down – and when they eventually do, they add to the trillions of microplastics in our oceans. These microplastics are then blown on shore by sea spray to settle on the land. Glitter is the same and with the particles being smaller they disperse quickly so they’re increasingly being found in our domestic rivers.
Given that all of this is pretty obvious when you stop to think about it, it suddenly feels surprising to see just how many retailers who claim to have sustainability at heart are still selling sequins this year. To be fair, the ones at the top end of the high street tend to be using recycled sequins which helps as long as you’re buying something that you know you’ll wear for years to come. Boden however have decided to stop once and for all. As Christina Gilkes, Director of Product Development said when the decision was announced,
We wanted to be brave and make a firm decision. We know that sequins and glitter do drive sales but now we’re really honing in on our craft and passion for print, spectacular fabrics and flawless cuts… By removing sequins, the wearability potential of these pieces increases from seasonal showstoppers to year-round wardrobe treasures.
The idea of having items of clothing to be worn for just one month out of twelve is not something that aligns with who we are… so it makes sense that our partywear is for life – not just for Christmas.
Christmassy outfits that are not just for Christmas
I no longer buy anything seasonal. Everything in my wardrobe has to work through all seasons and likely events – for a party, for work or just for a coffee with friends
I’m starting with the hardest one because for somebody like me who wears completely different colours and fabrics in summer to winter, it was a challenge. However, as with so many capsule dressing projects, it’s a case of focusing on your wardrobe’s base colour first and then thinking texture. For a lot of us here the base colour that weaves throughout our wardrobe is navy so that’s where I began. Then I moved on to texture – because if you’re looking for pieces that you’ll want to wear repeatedly for years, it’s worth investing in something that looks and feels luxurious.
In the end I settled on cashmere and silk, worn with my own wide legged jeans. For a touch of Christmas sparkle I added a pair of glitter shoes from one of Boden’s past collections – I think they’re about five years old. If we have these things we must treasure them and I’ll be wearing mine even when I’m just at home this Christmas – of course at some stage I’ll kick them off but they’ll have worked their magic by then.
Boden’s heavy cashmere is an investment but it will last you for the rest of your life. It isn’t the fine, fluffy kind – it’s the warm, cosy cashmere that has a bit of heft to help it hang well. Underneath I have a silk camisole that thanks to its higher V-neck and pattern, doesn’t feel too close to lingerie if that’s not your style. The touches of red feel Christmassy at this time of year but it would also work beautifully with white jeans at a summer barbecue so it’s a true year-round piece. I’m wearing a size 12 in both pieces, the cardigan was the loose fit I wanted for layering; the camisole was a bit tight across the top so if you’re busty, you might need to size up.
Weighty cashmere cardigan (also available in ivory or warm grey); silk camisole (also available in a range of plain colours); Boden party shoes past season, jeans – Me+Em past season
I don’t have any parties as such this year – but I still want to sparkle
Well you probably know what’s coming – my patience with the silver mini was rewarded because they restocked and here it is. Before you think ‘I couldn’t wear a mini’, I’ll remind you again that if you wore skinny jeans then you absolutely can because this is less revealing on the silhouette. Just keep everything else a bit loose. To show you that it’s more versatile than you think, I’ve worn it in two easy to put together ways for slightly different occasions. I’ve started with a relaxed Christmas walk to meet friends for a pub lunch – so I’m wearing it with the orange coat from the last edit, a chunky black high neck jumper and chunky soled black boots.
Silver mini; Orange puffer coat (also available in navy); Jumper and boots both past season Boden
Here it is without the coat. All of the other pieces are from past Boden seasons which shows that their clothes keep on working together, even if you just add the odd new piece each year. The skirt is quite short so even though I tried it with this season’s on trend 15 deniers, I preferred it with opaques. It has a slightly A line cut which I always feel is better for a mini to avoid nodding towards ‘lady of the night’.
Silver mini; Jumper and boots both past season Boden
And this is how I’ll be jumping into wearing it for client meetings on that day in November when I suddenly come over all Christmassy – with a classic wool coat and neater boots. The ultimate core wardrobe pieces.
Silver mini; Jumper past season Boden; Coat past season original Jaeger; Boots past season LK Bennett
I don’t want anyone to think that we’re too old to wear something like this. The key is, as always, just to pare everything else down which makes it incredibly easy Christmas dressing. And of course you could wear it with a t-shirt for a party in the summer too. A size 12 is true to size.
Silver mini; Jumper past season Boden; Boots past season LK Bennett
I want to look wintery and nod to Christmas but I don’t do colour
Yes, it isn’t easy for monochrome fans but how about winter whites? A head to toe pale tonal look can be a great way to do the ‘White Christmas’ look in a super luxe way. This has to be the loveliest cable knit jumper I’ve ever tried. It’s ultra soft, it fits neatly on the shoulders rather than being sloppy and the cable pattern isn’t too fussy. Plus it’s a soft shade of clotted cream that’s particularly kind to a winter skintone and being a neutral, if you’re a colour lover it will work with any other shade in your wardrobe. Bear in mind that it’s a short cut, designed for wearing with skirts and high waisted trousers. I’m wearing a size 12 and it’s true to size.
Chunky cable knit jumper (also available in pink or deep red); Cheetah shoes; Jeans – Me + Em past season
Charity Christmas jumper day – I want something chic and not seasonal that still plays a part
Good point – we should all take part and do Christmas Jumper Day (Thursday 8th December) properly this year and by that I mean make a donation to Save The Children rather than buy something with a glowing nose on the front. This is my choice because it’s a lovely blend of warm blue and pink with a sparkling metallic thread woven through. I’ve added gold boots that I already had for a little extra gleam, Boden have a similar gold pair here but they’ve sold really fast. A new, bright pink colourway has just arrived in stock though – you can’t beat a metallic boot for jazzing up a night out outfit – it does all the work for you, all year round.
Soft jumper with metallic thread (available in other colours without the sparkle); jeans Me+Em past season; Boots past season
Try as we did, we couldn’t catch the subtle sparkle on photos but you can just about see it here. This knit is supersoft and I didn’t find it remotely itchy which is one of the bonuses that comes with a lower wool content. I’m wearing a size 12 and it feels right, size up for a looser look.
Soft jumper with metallic thread (available in other colours without the sparkle)
I’m spending the whole Christmas season at home so I want to be warm-ish and comfortable but still feel festive
Let’s face it we all put so much focus on partywear at Christmas and yet when you do a time analysis, most of it is spent relaxing, either at our own homes or somebody else’s. We need fewer tight fitting, revealing pieces and more outfits that have plenty of stretch and yet still feel spirited – oh and this Christmas they probably need to be warm-ish too. Here’s a solution for you, dressed slightly down and then slightly up.
I do love a multi-coloured jumper because it goes with so many different bottoms. I’ve stuck with navy here but you could choose any of the colours and look very pulled together. Once again this has a hint of sparkle but not so much that it wouldn’t feel right in January – in fact it would be just the thing to cheer up those short, dark days. In response to the need to feel comfortable I’ve paired it with velvet trousers with an elasticated waist, one of my past season Christmas favourites. And just to give it a lift, I’ve dug out another pair of party shoes from my magpie collection that I’ll still be wearing in my care home days.
Rainbow stripe ribbed sparkle jumper; velvet trousers – Boden past season; gold shoes – Boden past season
If I need to make a bit of effort because we’re popping out to see someone, I’ll wear a satin skirt. Again this is past season but Boden have a lovely one in their mainstay collection here, available in navy, pink or pattern. A pleated skirt or a denim skirt would be great options with this jumper too – and jeans of course. I’m wearing a size 12 and it feels true to size but if you prefer more of a skimming fit, size up.
Rainbow stripe ribbed sparkle jumper; satin skirt – Hope Fashion past season; boots – Boden past season
I want shoes for a party that I can walk in – and wear all year
Ah I was so tempted by the red ones with the crystal strap but then I saw these and with my trans-seasonal head on, I knew they were the winners. They have a squared off toe so they won’t pinch, they’re flat so you can stride out in them easily and the pearl Mary Jane strap elevates them from an everyday shoe. Plus if you get caught in a shower walking from bar to restaurant they’re ponyskin so they’ll be fine. I know somebody will scream, “cold feet” so I’ll reply, “nude pop socks”. No, they’re not attractive but nobody can tell if you’re wearing trousers – and you can slip them off discretely as soon as you get home. Obviously if you were wearing them with a skirt or dress you could add tights to tone with your outfit. These shoes are lovely quality, true to size and comfortable – plus they’ll look just as good in summer with a cropped trouser.
Cheetah shoes; Chunky cable knit jumper (also available in pink or deep red); Jeans – Me + Em past season
And so there you go, Christmassy outfits that are not just for Christmas. Hopefully the year will come again where we have a decadent party or two to go to… that require proper party dressing with heels and bags and false eyelashes (maybe not false eyelashes). This year though is another year of keeping it real so my advice is to start by digging out some party shoes. Even if it’s just for the first five minutes of a kitchen disco they’ll make you feel starry. Then add a bit of shine, sparkle, texture or colour to another part of your outfit and enjoy the elevation. Whether you’re going out or staying in, dressing up is good for the soul.
Don’t forget the Boden offer: 22% discount code – E7K3 – but it ends tomorrow (Saturday 12th November) at 8am. Following that you will get 20% off everything full price if you click through via my links until further notice (spend over £30).
And now that we know what we’ll be wearing, I’ll crack back on with Christmas gift ideas again next week. There will be two posts again, one on Tuesday and one on Friday. I hope you have a good weekend ahead, we’re going out with friends we haven’t seen for ages tomorrow night so I hope the Covid booster I’ve just had won’t take the shine off it. And on Sunday we’ll be at the village Cenotaph service, I’ll be thinking about my father, grandfather and great grandfather and countless others on all sides really who did what they believed was right. As you get older you truly appreciate just what they gave up don’t you? I was thinking as I walked Teddy today that if my forebears hadn’t been amongst the lucky ones who survived WWI and WWII I simply wouldn’t have existed. No doubt it’s the same for many of you. We have a lot to be thankful for don’t we?
Disclosure: ‘Christmassy outfits that are not just for Christmas’ was commissioned by Boden but as always, I had full control over what I wrote and photographed.
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