There’s no way of sugar-coating it. Your Christmas party this year is going to take place either (depending on your tier) outdoors in Arctic parkas; with members of your household under a hot lamp in a pub garden; or on Zoom, with you sitting at a laptop.
Of those, the only one that allows the presence of more than six people (we think you have to be in double figures to call a social gathering ‘a party’) is the Zoom party. So there it is. The office party, if you have one of those on the horizon, is going to be a virtual affair; your annual pre-Christmas knees-up with friends will now take place in separate kitchens.
No point pretending there aren’t downsides to this, ranging from the most obvious — it’s hard to work up a party atmosphere when you’re not in the same room — to the fact you can’t just slip out of a Zoom party when you’ve had enough. There isn’t a party-loving person in the country who won’t be thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll just sit this one out and wait until next year’.
Pictured: Blazer, £79.99, zara.com; bow slide, £7, and star hair slides, £10 for two, accessorize.com; earrings, £35, johnny-loves-rosie.com; rings, £92 each, heavenlynecklaces.com; plate, £144 for set of four, and crackers, £26 for set of six, amara.com; baubles, £5 for six, asda.com
That, however, is not an option.
So to ensure a Zoom Christmas Party works, you need more of everything: more energy, twinklier surroundings (a couple of feet of festive background will do it), more make-up (you’re on camera) and, last but not least, bigger-impact partywear.
If you’ve ever entertained the idea of a wig, now would be the time to give it a whirl. If you’ve been itching to try a new daring red lipstick, this is the moment.
And if there’s a dress out there you love, and the only thing stopping you from buying it is you wondering when you’d get the opportunity to wear it, the Zoom Christmas Party is that opportunity. Once you accept the ‘more effort’ rule, you can step outside your comfort zone and have fun. Here are some tips to get you in the mood…
Dress, now £177, lkbennett.com; Alice band, £150, ganni.com; earrings, £165, and bracelet, £65, laurence-coste.com; gold ring, £95, and stone rings, £92, heavenly necklaces.com; Christmas pudding, £8.95, fortnumandmason.com
● Focus on your top half
This may turn into a dancey sort of party, but the chances are you’ll be sitting most of the time. By all means wear a dress, just not one that’s as plain as a T-shirt above the waist. Black and slinky is no use here, and a regular tuxedo will get you nowhere. We are talking about high impact where it matters most: a dramatic neckline, sumptuous fabrics, a fancy sleeve — or one sleeve, like the H&M Conscious Exclusive dress (third from right) — and colour.
Dress, now £139.30, karenmillen.com; bow hair accessory, £225, emily-london.com; earrings, £145, laurence-coste.com; gold ring, £95, and stone ring, £92, heavenlynecklaces.com; placemat, £20, fionafinds.co.uk; mince pie, £12.95 for six, fortnumandmason.com
● Wear an outfit you never normally would…
Because we’re in the ‘more effort’ zone, and because you don’t have to think about any of the usual practical considerations. Will I be too hot? Will I be too cold? Is it too short, too fragile, too fancy? Can I walk far in it? None of this matters when you’re sitting in your own kitchen. Also, in classic Zoom tradition, you can always wear it with slippers. (We don’t recommend this, by the way — it’s all about getting in the mood, after all.)
Dress, £69.99, and necklace, £34.99, Conscious Exclusive at hm.com; earrings, £6, asos. com; bangle, £68, laurencecoste. com; cracker, £40 for set of six, amara.com
● Show some skin — in a sophisticated 2020 way
Wear a plush velvet blazer, such as this Zara one (far left), buttoned up with nothing underneath. Give your arms a moisturise and show them off in L.K.Bennett’s canary yellow sleeveless dress (far right). Plunging necklines aren’t the best idea for a Zoom party, but just off the shoulder, like on this Karen Millen dress (third from left), looks glamorous.
Blouse, £89.99, zara.com; necklace, £241, Alessandra Rich at matchesfashion.com; Alice band, £18, and bow hair accessory, £8, accessorize.com; earrings, £14, riverisland .com; rings, £92 each, heavenlynecklaces. com; candlestick, £35, issygranger.com
● Go for feathers and fancy accessories
Feathers are this season’s sequins, and whether trimming the neckline of a dress or the wrists of a top — take this Zara blouse (second from right), for example — they give whatever you’re wearing instant party attitude.
Then all you need is a pair of cocktail earrings (the ones pictured with the yellow dress above are crackers, and cost a mere £12).
Note: dazzling earrings are still the single smartest way to boost your look into party territory.
But don’t forget the potential of a beautiful, strategically placed brooch, such as this Essentiel Antwerp one (above). Happy Zooming!
Dress, £450, lkbennett.com; brooch, £70, essentielantwerp. com; bracelet, £19.99, reserved.com; earrings, £12, riverisland.com; rings, £92 each, heavenlynecklaces.com; bow, £36, Emilia Wickstead at matchesfashion.com; plate, £175 for set of four, oka.com; Baerii caviar, £55, fortnumandmason.com