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Fashion High Five: How to find a party dress for any occasion

November 7th 2014 / Laura Fantacci

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Our resident fashion expert Laura Fantacci gives us the lowdown on dressing for any kind of party

Need some ideas on what to wear to a winter wedding, or even a black tie do this Christmas? Fear not, for stylist and fashion blogger Laura Fantacci has her pick of the five outfits she'd be going for this party season...

COCKTAIL PARTY

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When it comes to cocktail parties, I don’t like to be innovative and simply love a little black frock. I’ve bought a few in the years that I never tire of and wear on a rotation; don’t worry if you don’t get to use them every year, as it’s still lovely to take them out every so often and wear them again - it often feels like having something new! My advice would be to stick to black and a little bit girly; think Breakfast at Tiffany’s for inspiration. That sort of timeless LBD, like this Tibi number, £405, will never go out of style.

HOUSE PARTY

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For an informal house party I would often opt for a statement top rather than a full-blown dress; you can then pair it with your jeans (if the party is really casual) or with a smarter pair of black trousers and a chic black court. It still looks like you’ve made an effort but you don’t run the risk of being overdressed, and it’s also a great piece to have in your wardrobe that you can wear with lots of different bottoms. I love this Boden bejewelled top, £99, as it feels really festive and looks really expensive.

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BLACK TIE

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I wore this Whistles dress, £650, at London Fashion Week in September and then at a black tie dinner shortly after, and I must say it made me feel like a movie star. What I love about it is that it’s a black tie gown but with a super modern approach to it; there is nothing pretty and delicate about it. It’s a structured cut, short at the front and with an extra long trail at the back. I know it’s a steep price for the high street, but when designer gowns are in the region of thousands… this one seems like a bargain!

WORK PARTY

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Once again for work dos and office parties I like to think of separates rather than a dress, and something like sequin or brocade trousers with a silk or cashmere top is usually my go-to outfit of choice. I simply adore these French Connection sequin trousers, £140 – I would wear them with a pointy black court shoe and a fine knit grey jumper. I might even add a pair of statement earrings to make the look extra special, and finish it off with a sleek leather black clutch. Chic, modern and a bit different.

WINTER WEDDING

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This fall I’ve received many emails from Wearing It Today readers about what to wear at a winter wedding/party and I can see where the difficulty comes from. Most dresses have short sleeves or are a bit lightweight, and when you have to go from a church (possibly in the day) to then dinner/reception/dancing, finding an outfit that suits all can be tricky. I’ve been advising on a maxi skirt such as this one from Coast, £160; something that you can then pair with a sheer cashmere tee in the day and change to a strapless top in the evening. It will also look great with a coat slung over your shoulders, so you needn't be shivering in all those everlasting photos.

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