‘Tis the season when you’ve got some kind of Christmas ‘thing’ to go to every night of the week, and you have neither the time nor the inclination for a full outfit change each time.
It gets expensive too, and with everyone asking each other: “What are you wearing?” it can be hard to shake the pressure that you need to splash out over and over again in order to look your very best.
Of course, the truth is, last year’s dress or jumpsuit will suffice just nicely. And with a few small, inexpensive updates, you can make it look and feel as au courant as any brand new look.
Here, we reveal seven tried-and-tested ways to look party-ready for under £10.
1. Add Pat Butcher earrings
Big earrings can make a big impact. Take an unlikely style lead from Eastenders’ Pat Butcher and go all out with an Eighties-inspired pair. Nobody will even notice that you forgot your heels and haven’t touched up your makeup since 7am.
Not everyone feels they can carry off a bold lip colour, no matter how many times they’re told that there’s a red for every skin tone. For those who do dare, though, it’s one of the easiest and quickest ways to look party-ready without a change of wardrobe. It always looks like you’ve made an effort. MAC has clutch bag-friendly mini lipsticks, too - try its famous Ruby Woo shade in compact size (£10, selfridges.com)
3. Turn your crossbody bag into a clutch
Body language can speak volumes: the simple act of holding your bag, clutch-style, rather than wearing it across your body or on your shoulder, instantly makes you look like you’re ‘ready for an evening event’, rather than ‘coming straight from work’. Bonus points if you’re a small bag person anyway, and can just stuff the strap into your bag, transforming it into a clutch.
If you need to take a really big bag to work, and have the option to leave it in the cloak room, you can also invest in a mini pouch to take just your phone and debit card into the party, like this gold snake-effect purse from Mango.
Metallic purse, £6.99, mango.com
4. Add some hair accessories
Hair accessories have been the inescapable trend of the season - and the best thing about them is that they tend to be affordable. Try a trio of coordinating clips on one side to add drama to an up-do, a silky bow at the top of a ponytail, or a bejewelled headband over centrally parted loose waves.
Don’t knock this until you’ve tried it: glam socks have the ability to transform your everyday courts into party shoes. Not just any socks will do though, they need to be ankle-high and in a luxe-looking fabric or grown-up print. Think of it more as a means of turning your work shoes into sexy ankle boots than goody-two-shoes schoolgirl, and you’ll be on the right track. We love these sheer polka dot socks, £5, arket.com.
6. Add a belt
Turn that loose fitting tent dress that you love to wear into an evening dress by giving it a waist. There are no rules about what type of belt works best: it can be narrow or wide, buckled or tied. Something with a bit of bling will be your best bet when it comes to festive flair though - we like this chain edge faux python belt, £10, asos.com.
7. If in doubt, add glitter
Never underestimate the power of a little sparkle - low party lighting demands reflective surfaces, so a shimmery eyelid, cheekbone or shoulder is a subtle but effective way to stand out. Don't go overboard though, the aim is more grown-up glimmer than tweeny glitter. Try Eco Glitter, £9, selfridges.com.