How to shop for the perfect party outfit - your plan of action

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Need to find the perfect party outfit? Here's a plan of shopping action from expert stylists

Philipp Plein sparkly high heel - autumn winter 2013 catwalk show -

© Imaxtree

Party dress or the trouser suit trend? Heels or flats? Sequins, lace or leather? Hands up if you're feeling daunted by the party season shopping challenge!

Well fear not - we've consulted the crack team of stylists and personal shoppers at Westfield, to devise an official POA. Ready to shop?

ACTION 1: Think Outside the Box

Dressing up for a festive night out doesn't always have to mean a sparkly little dress and heels. Have you considered a jumpsuit? Or mixing up some statement separates like a crop top and tux trousers? Fluffy sweater and embellished pencil skirt? Both super stylish and left field.

ACTION 2: Test the Catwalk

Catwalk trends which initially seemed mystifying - sweet wrapper shine, Hitchcock heroines, 90s grunge etc - can suddenly come into their own when you're sussing out a festive look. They might not be right for the 9 to 5, but a dash of catwalk bravery will set you apart come party time.

Christian Siriano catwalk show - autumn winter 2013 - gold sequin and glitter dresses -

© Imaxtree

ACTION 3: Get A Strategy

Shops are crammed with party dressing options at this time of year, so planning is key. Know which shops you want to hit and plan a route. Westfield has an app to help with this you know!

ACTION 4: Get Versatile

If you count up all the Christmas situations you'll need to dress for, getting a new outfit for each one could cause serious bank balance damage. Get clever instead, with a few items you can mix and match. A silky slip dress for example, could be layered with a cosy jumper and ankle boots on Christmas Day, then teamed with heels and glam accessories for New Year's Eve.

ACTION 5: Know Your Limits

Off to an all-night dancefest? Six-inch heels are probably not the best plan, however beautiful they are. And if you're coming home late? Always take a coat. It's winter remember!

ACTION 6: Get Decorated

Your festive statement piece needn't be clothing. If you're perfectly happy with your trusty LBD, update it with a swoosh of bright lipstick, bold eye make-up, or add a some chunky, super sparkly jewellery.

lanvin clutch bag and glittery accessories - go bracelet wrist cuff - autumn winter 2013 runway -

© Imaxtree

ACTION 7: Don't do the diet thing

If it's two weeks 'til the party and the outfit you've set your heart on is only available in a size too small - hard as it may be - walk away. Don't even pretend that a fortnight of juice fasting is an achievable prospect, or even a good idea.

ACTION 8: Find your Celebrity Body Double

When it comes to celebrity style inspiration, a little body analysis is necessary. Do you have bigger boobs and slim legs? Then scan the style of Sarah Jessica Parker or Angelina Jolie. Perhaps you've got a small bust with a bit of a bum? Look to celebs like Rihanna. It's all about finding famous girls with similar traits, rather than trying to emulate a look might which not translate.

ACTION 9: Consult, Consult, consult

Even if you're usually happy to make up your own mind when it comes to shopping, big occasions can require more input. Firstly, try and check what other people are planning to wear - there's nothing worse than turning up wearing the same thing. Then, if you're considering an outfit a little outside your comfort zone (which we totally encourage), get a second opinion from an honest friend. Just in case!

Ready to attack the party season shopping challenge?



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