‘My husband has been promoted so I need to impress his bosses at their Christmas work do. I’ve been at home looking after our children for the past five years and rarely go to parties any more, so I feel out of the loop about fashion. How do I overcome my lack of confidence to make sure I don’t let him down – and also enjoy myself?’
First, you need the perfect outfit that’s chic, not too sexy and won’t leave you feeling over- or underdressed. Then you’ll have the confidence of knowing you look the part. I love this black velvet dress – it’s elegant and sophisticated. Wear it with a great pair of statement earrings and 70s-style platform sandals. Finish off with this incredible handbag, which will be a talking point in itself – it will draw people to you.
Drinking is a very personal thing, but you might want to have a fortifying cocktail before you go, so you’re not in a rush to get a drink at the party. Once you’re there, it will be up to you to make sure you have a good time, as your partner may be busy working the room. Smile, introduce yourself to people and don’t worry that you don’t know what to say; you’ll soon find that there’s plenty to talk about.
Ask other guests whether they work with your husband and how they fill their days (rather than what they do for a living, in case they’re self-conscious about their job or they don’t work). And offer other women compliments about their outfits, which really breaks the ice.
Sometimes if I don’t know anyone at an event, I’ll challenge myself to get to know three people; or, as I sit down to dinner, I try to guess about the people at my table (are they married, divorced, what do they do for a living?), and then see if I was right. Remember, all the other plus-ones at the party are in the same situation and will be as keen as you to chat and meet new people. So go forth and have a great time!
My party season survival kit
For a morning-after-a-late-night refresher, try Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O₂ (£100, embassyofbeauty.co.uk). The FaceGym Pro tool (£429, facegym.com) transmits a mild current to boost muscle tone and skin tissue. Use on the low setting to help release sinus blockage and depuff under eyes. You don’t have to buy the collagen drops for the device to glide over (it requires a water-based solution for the current to travel) – I use 100 per cent aloe vera gel, which is much cheaper.
The desk-to-disco top 4
To dress down sequins during the day, wear a little bib collar, such as this one from Cos, inside the neckline of your top, and avoid mixing with high-shine evening fabrics such as satin, lace or more sequins.
And always remember…
‘You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and
smarter than you think’