Gemma Critchley: The party dress edit part 1: the high street

Posted on November 10, 2011 by


I love dresses.

I love parties.

I love Christmas

So it’s only sensible to (rightly) assume that I love Chritsmas party dresses. You simply cannot beat the feeling on getting ready to go out to an awesome party, especially a festive one. It’s a legitimate reason to wear as much glitter as your body can handle, what’s not to love?

glitter eye makeup sparkle christmas glittery eyes gold silver white illamasqua seophora

You put some music on (this year I will be telling people I’m listening to the She and Him Christmas record when really I’ve got Michael Bublé on repeat), pour yourself a glass of fizz and then spend hours in the bathtub making sure you’re primped, scrubbed, moisturised and shimmered into oblivion. You then proceed to make sure your hair and makeup look amazing and you’ve probably spent time beforehand getting yo’ nails did. Then for the best part: it’s time to get dressed and to climb onto those shoes that are so high they come with a health and safety warning. Now, I’m not much of a shoe girl. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a nice pair (wheeey!), but for me, dresses are the real coup de foudre that make an outfit.

Here are some of my favourite festive high street party frocks that I’ve spied this season so far.

Madam Rage is a good option for ladies who want a bit of sparkle on a budget. This star print dress, £25 would work well for those from-office-straight-to-town Christmas lunches, wear with opaques, a leather jacket and chelsea boots to give it a bit of an edge.

This dress is an awesome way to channel the star-print trend that was trailblazed by Lily Allen, Anne Hathaway and Jessie J when they were styled for their cover-shoot-offs for Elle, Marie Claire and Glamour magazines earlier this year. Personally I think Lily pulled it off best, but I digress.

star print dress madam rage dolce and gabbana lily allen anne hathaway jessie j


lily allen elle magazine dolce and gabanna star print dress starry dress anne hathaway jessie j glamour marie claire dolce and gabbana star print dress anne hathaway marie clair lily allen jessie j star trend jessie j star print dress glamour magazine cover shoot lily allen anne hathaway dolce and gabbana

This multi-coloured sequin dress is by Lipsy, which is somewhere I wouldn’t normally shop, but it’s amazing. And at £100 it’s cheaper than the French Connection number I’ve got my eye on. I’d dress this one up with bare legs, minimal acessories – maybe a black clutch and sequin barettes in my hair – and jewels on my eyelashes.

lipsy sequin dress christmas party dress multi coloured sequin asos

multi coloured diamante jewel false eyelashes fake lashes

Speak of the devil, here is the offending article from French Connection, the gold sequinned Samantha dress; weighing in at a hefty £165. It’s a beautiful dress but is it £165 beautiful? Probably not. Think of all the cheap and cheerful wear-once-then-swap-for-something-new-to-you dresses you could buy with that. Not to mention all of the Christmas cocktails you’d have to forego if you blew your budget on this.

french connection gold sequin samantha dress christmas party dress FCUK


I couldn’t do a Christmas party feature without including a dress in one of this season’s boozy hues. Not because I’m a massive lush who loves wine, but because the burgundy shades that are everywhere at the moment are so festive. This bodycon dress from Miss Guided could be dressed up or down, depending on where you were going. Wear with a big cream circle scarf/snood over tights with brogues for daytime, or don a tuxedo jacket and black courts after dark (I don’t mean like, 3pm in the office, that’d just be inappropriate, darlings).

miss guided wine coloured velvet bodycon long sleeve dress party dresses christmas

I could go on and on like this forever, but I’ve leave you with those favourites for now. Expect more in the run up to the party season, I’ll be looking at boutique, designer and second hand (it’s not vintage, idiots).


Have you found your perfect Christmas party outfit yet?

Posted in: Gemma Critchley