Nail party wear dressing this season with 15 of the best fashion-forward occasion dresses

Words Joy Montgomery

And so begins the yearly hunt for the Christmas party-appropriate outfit. Whether it’s festive cocktails with the girls, intimate dinner with family, or the infamously awkward work ‘do, finding a look which nails your criteria can seem impossible.

After last week’s party top edit – a versatile look for cocktails and smart casual ‘dos – we decided to focus on the party dress. Despite their show-stopping potential, a woman’s relationship with occasion dresses can be a fraught one. From childhood party frocks and shiny prom gowns, to far-too-tight body cons and that first work party monstrosity, these purchases are so often a symbol of significant life events, so why are they so hard to get right?

First of all, we suggest focusing on your favourite feature. Whether it’s legs, décolletage, back or arms, purchase a dress that shows it off, but keep other areas concealed for maximum impact. Long sleeves and high hemlines are cool for AW16 FYI. Rich autumnal hues, such as navy blue, oxblood and gold are universally flattering and look high-end, while frivolous touches, such as frills, tulle overlays and cold-shoulders add a fashion-forward flourish to classic silhouettes.

We’ve rounded up the best party dresses to buy now. Shop our favourite looks below…

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