The style rules of Christmas

From parties to shopping the sales, Annmarie O’Connor brings us the new — and improved — festive fashion rules.

THE ACCESSORY: Rhinestone necklace choker, Uterqüe, €89
THE ACCESSORY: Rhinestone necklace choker, Uterqüe, €89

DO YOU hear what I hear? Ah, yes. It’s the familiar sound of mass panic; that low decibel cry emitted each year when Christmas arrives and we’re simply not ready — not even close. Office parties, nativity plays, present wrapping, turkey basting, tree trimming, the very shenanigans that make the yuletide bright make us want to weep silently in a corner or, at the very least, pony up some help on the sly. What’s more, we’ve got absolutely nothing to wear. Until now.

Burning the Christmas candle at both ends doesn’t require a caffeine drip and an act of God.

It merely requires the right dressing, the kind that dupes the world and your mother into thinking you got eight hours sleep even if you’ve been up all night sewing a shepherd costume for your kid’s play while trying to hustle two dozen mince pies into the oven.

Want to look as luminous as a string of fairy lights? It’s a no-brainer if you follow the new (and improved) Christmas style rules.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that time and space collapse between November 24 and January 2. Calendars melt, timetables implode and remembering the day of the week becomes tantamount to that of the square root of pi.

In order to short-circuit these temporal temper tantrums, decisions must be hacked and pruned like a forest of pine trees. Making life easier (whatever day it is) starts with the grown-up onesie.

THE JUMPSUIT: ‘Hutton’ gold sequin jumpsuit, L.K.Bennett, €650
THE JUMPSUIT: ‘Hutton’ gold sequin jumpsuit, L.K.Bennett, €650

The clue is in the name: one item, dressed, done. Look to brands like Mango for `70s-inspired flares or L.K.Bennett whose gilded sequin Hutton jumpsuit (€650), puts the kibosh on the added headache of accessories. We, of course, recommend shoes but we’ll leave that up to you.

It bears repeating that time is not your friend. Even poor aul Santa only gets 24 hours to haul his sleigh full of presents around the world.

With that in mind, it’s handy to have an amulet of change at hand – the kind of hack that can transmute a basic work outfit into a basically amazing conversation starter.

Take this rhinestone choker (€89) from Zara’s older and smarter sister Uterqüe.

Not only does it do wonders for bare skin but cinched over a polo neck, it turns that desk-to-dinner dash into a look-at-me stroll. Oh, yeah!

So far, you’ve stuffed a goose, stuffed some stockings, stuffed your face and stuffed a rogue string of fairy lights in the rubbish bin. Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle — you’ve still got neighbours to visit, mulled wine to make and an M&S Christmas pudding to pawn off as your own before the in-laws arrive.

What you need is something that provides succour whilst looking stylish when dashing through the hailstones to grab those forgotten tubs of brandy cream.

A blanket scarf says, “Snuggle up, buttercup!” or, at the very least, gives you a knitted hole in which to disappear should sleeping in heavenly peace be a long shot.

THE SCARF BLANKET: Scarf, Parfois, €19.99
THE SCARF BLANKET: Scarf, Parfois, €19.99

We recommend the current selection from Parfois (€16.99) or, should the coffers allow, a prodigious handwoven herringbone beauty (€270) from Stable of Ireland.

Stall the disco ball. If you’re going to dance and prance in one piece, you’ll need shoes that are sole saviours but also the life and soul of the party. There’s sod all point throwing shapes to Slade in 6in obelisks if the fallout entails hobbling for a taxi at 2am. Likewise, no one ever said, “Nice orthopaedics!” with a straight face. There’s a fine line, folks. In the mutual interests of fashion and function, a bejewelled kitten heel should do the trick. Our party-minded friends at L.K.Bennett are serving up some delicious foot candy (€270) — rust velvet with a bejewelled strap and a heel low enough to facilitate an errant speed wobble should several egg nogs be enjoyed. Win-win.

THE KITTEN HEEL: €89 ‘Eira’ burnt orange velvet kitten heel shoes, L.K.Bennett, €270
THE KITTEN HEEL: €89 ‘Eira’ burnt orange velvet kitten heel shoes, L.K.Bennett, €270

You’ve survived through the big day intact bar a few threadbare nerves. Good for you. Saint Stephen’s Day now calls for duvet-diving, box set-bingeing and mainlining as much chocolate and leftovers as the State-decreed downtime will accommodate. Leaving the house just isn’t an option — until it is. Times like this call for the perfect cover-up — one that distracts from your loungewear (see: glorified pyjamas) while driving to the nearest Mace for the toilet paper nobody remembered or, indeed, the pub carols you promised to attend in November (does it even count?). Don’t feel like making an effort? Don’t panic.

Simply “distract up” — an interior design term for drawing attention away from those incriminating sweatpants. Give those baubles a run for their money with a Tommy Hilfiger Icon high gloss puffer (€299).

THE PUFFER COAT: ‘Icon’ high gloss gold puffer, Tommy Hilfiger, €299
THE PUFFER COAT: ‘Icon’ high gloss gold puffer, Tommy Hilfiger, €299

The warm golden glow will be rivalled only by the snug down feather padding. Should your foray take you further afield, this full-length faux fur from Warehouse (€129) covers a multitude.

FAUX FUR: Coat, Warehouse, €129
FAUX FUR: Coat, Warehouse, €129

Just be sure to sit close to the door — away from the roaring fire. The only thing that should be glowing are the embers in the hearth.

As the season of giving would suggest, a spot of self-gifting is always allowed. In fact, we rather encourage it. See it as an opportunity to switch the paradigm from double duty survival tools to unabashed frippery like a fun hat.

Consider this yellow Rocas fedora (€250) from FAO Millinery your crowning glory for surviving the silly season.

THE FUN HAT: FAO Millinery ‘Rocas’ felt hat, Bloss, €250
THE FUN HAT: FAO Millinery ‘Rocas’ felt hat, Bloss, €250

Plus, think of all the fun you’ll have taking your hat off to yourself. G’wan, we won’t tell anyone. Now kick back and relax. You made it!


Bloss – Dundrum Town Centre, Insta @blossintl;

L.K.Bennett – Dundrum Town Centre 01-2963727;

Parfois – Mahon Point SC 021-4515143;

Stable of Ireland –

Tommy Hilfiger – Opera Lane 021-4273478;

Uterqüe –

Warehouse – Patrick Street 021-4278215;

More on this topic

Check-mate: Gingham- the easy summer style win

Naomi Campbell to be honoured with Fashion Icon Award

Bright ideas: How to wear the summer tailoring trend

What’s the Occasion? What to wear on your next big day out

More in this Section

Hozier adds more believers to his church after Cork gig

Simply off the wall: Your go-to guide to shelving

Peter Dowdall shares his top 4 flower picks to add a splash of summer colour to your garden

Ask a counsellor: ‘Why does my husband hate that our daughter’s dating a man going through divorce?’

Latest Showbiz

Kylie Jenner denies bragging about wealth at Met Gala

More From The Irish Examiner