party season is always with us, but somehow the season leading up to
Christmas makes women panic before they find that special evening party dress.
The reaction is just the same if the search is for a prom dress.
This page includes a mixed range of dresses suitable for a variety of age
Mostly the available dresses in shops are sleeveless and this is a concern
for many older women including myself. Once the tone in the arms goes,
opt for little top arm cover-ups for these dresses. Somewhere there
will be a jacket or shrug that makes a dress you might initially refuse to
consider turn into a wearable option with a small top layer. See
below and a
bolero jacket here.
If you are younger then you can wear short evening party dresses that are
totally feminine and show legs and plenty of bare shoulder.
Right - A very pretty dress called the Bo Party Dress in dark purple at £135
and from Monsoon. It would also make a great short prom dress.
The time to get away with the skimpier look is
when you are young and much lovelier than you will ever realise. One day it dawns on you that if only you had known how good you looked at 21, you would have had more confidence to wear clothes that
really are difficult to wear wisely when you advance in years!
black and white dress left and the deep purple dress above are both created by the much loved high street retailer
the perfect red-carpet short party dress for a woman who can carry off the
pretty baby doll elements of the empire line designs.
Each ladies party dress is romantic, feminine, striking, yet tasteful.
Each is the sort of dress that should it suit your
figure type and personality. This party dress will carry you through several seasons, because full
skirts can only get fuller as we take on 'volume' fashion looks.
V necks are popular and are taking on more of a wide-set V shape rather than
being the pure narrow plunge necklines of other years. Plunge necklines
are still around, yet because of the more refined elements of the rest of a
dress, seem to have left that old fashioned raunchy look behind.
Note how skirts in
all four styles have become fuller and each skim the knee line. Soft
chiffons and luxury silks are ultra feminine and ladylike. These two
evening party dresses below are from high street retailers Laura Ashley and French
The Laura Ashley's pale silver grey dress is subtly
understated, yet very glamorous with its cinched in waist.
The yellow lemon party dress from French Connection is Grecian in line and has that same soft feminine charge. The French Connection
evening party dress also comes in dark charcoal grey shown in the centre, giving an
almost classic little
black dress version.
Lots of women hate showing their arms, especially if they have poor tone.
sleeveless dress can often be matched in the store with a cover up garment such
as a shrug or other bolero jacket. Make friends with the
assistant and ask what variety of cover-up items they have that match the dress you have selected.
The straight sheath dress, harking back to the 1950s, is a hot autumn evening party
dress choice. Necklines are primarily boat shaped, but sometimes can
be square cut with wide or narrow straps or strapless bandeaus. These three
evening party dresses have more tulip volume from the waistline and taper to a narrow
The plainer silhouette is used to show lush fabrics including satins, lace
overlays, flocked fabrics and brocades to advantage. These evening party
dresses and shown in the thumbnails above, are from left to right, the Christmas
ranges of House of Fraser, Wallis, and Marks and Spencer.
Images of these ladies party dresses are courtesy of the respective companies are available later in
There are plenty of strapless ladies dresses on offer this season. High street
retailers Monsoon and Laura Ashley will both have several styles available.
earthy brown is a hue of this autumn and this classic cocktail frock from
Laura Ashley, combines on trend colour, strapless bodice and a volume
skirt. See picture above right.
Notice how 50% of the models shown here are not over tanned and are sporting
natural skin tones. This is a trend gaining momentum as the raunchy
If you are ethnically pale skinned, then in winter, a pale skin is now very acceptable.
Whatever your skin colour, if you plan
to bare your shoulders make sure you condition your skin and use a body
scrub/body brush weeks in advance. Regular exfoliation and conditioning with good body creams will keep your skin looking beautiful and give it a health glow.
If you prefer
a hint of colour, then just a light faint glow of fake tan looks more natural than a
deep mahogany tan.
The deep mahogany fake tan look is very dated.
For a really soft hint of colour, try Dove Summer Glow Body lotion and
gradually build the lightest of soft tans in a couple of days. Or you
could use some of the sunless tan glow make-ups that are temporary and very
suitable for a one-off event.
This black strapless evening party dress from
Monsoon is very similar in style to the one
from Laura Ashley above. Contrast sashes like the red sash cummerbund,
add freshness to what is basically a little black dress.
Everyone should have at least one little black dress.
If you are very youthful you may be looking for dresses like these two choices
below. They have elements that can also be adapted easily to personalized Gothic looks.
Both these little black dresses featured below are short and very pretty.
River Island’s classic black dress (main picture below) is given a fashionable
overhaul with a bandeau finish and exaggerated ruffles.
River Island Tiered Dress - Ruffle pleated bandeau dress £59.99; Metallic crossover shoes
£49.99; Patent tie front brogue shoes £49.99.
The little black bra dress, above right, is by
French Connection. French Connection Black
Frill Tiered Dress £90
A basic black dress, like the short sleeved scoop neck magic slimming dress from Marks and Spencer, is
versatile in that it could be worn in the daytime too.
you seek all day sophistication that will take you into evening, then this
beautiful dress from Harvey Nichols might be just the answer. This dark brown
ladies dress is by Graeme Black and could be styled in variety of ways to make it look different.
Whilst it would look great with the
finest of sheer tights, the addition of full net petticoats, lace tights
or leggings would add a contemporary touch. Just add jewellery and
transform it for evening wear.
What wonderful attractive collar bones this model has. If you
have good features such as great collar bones or a lovely long neck, then
choose a neckline that shows them off.
There are other parts of the body apart from breasts that have great allure when used in a subtle manner.
The raunchy look has become tired and lost ground. Now the new understated
look is certainly more
appropriate for an
If you feel you are fed up of black, but want a stunning statement of colour.
Then these evening party dresses below can offer an interesting alternative. Colours of this
season include rich purples,
I have featured pages on all these colours in the autumn trends section.
Maybe the man of
the moment will remember
you were wearing, not a
red dress or even a
little black dress, but a little blue number that matched your eyes.
Men love it when women wear velvet dresses. Velvet is such a sensuous luxurious fabric that is well suited to grown up winter dressing.
A lush rich violet blue frock like this velvet evening party dress from
Phase Eight, above right, will
make you feel very special. It's perfect for the festive season. The
intensity of the colour is striking and memorable. This velvet dress
is available at Phase Eight shops now. You can read about
velvet fabrics, over
pressing, general care and
sewing velvet tips in the velvets section.
Lighter blues like these two cobalt blue dresses are just as lovely and
are colours that look good against most complexions.
wispy chiffon number from
Monsoon is a marvellous shade of blue. (See Left).
Monsoon Kiko Dress in Cobalt £85 is available in autumn.
You would certainly stand out among any sea of little black dresses.
It says elegance with not a hint of vulgarity.
Sometimes at Christmas you get a party invite with the words 'fancy dress'.
Some people love that and others hate hearing those words, because they feel that
the one time of the year when they can dress-up, has been hijacked by the cast of a badly designed costume movie.
Let us concentrate on the many who prefer to go glamour.
Look no further than Debenhams which
has a great selection of both short and long evening party gowns and prom
dresses. Many designs are special ranges by top UK fashion designers
such as Jasper Conran, Pearce II Fionda, Ben de Lisi and Julien Macdonald.
Many styles are fashion forward featuring the latest fashion trend elements.
What better choice than this little frill tiered evening party dress from
is perfect for any 50s theme party or other occasion. It has a real come-dancing look to it. This dress is by Debenhams
and is perfect for parties. The 'Star' range is designed by Julien Macdonald for
Debenhams and this is a Limited Edition prom dress. Dress available
In fact if you browse the Debenhams website you will see that already there
is a large and varied selection of short and long evening dresses for
autumn. It has one of the best collections of little black dresses I have
seen in one spot.
Following similar fashion lines, these pretty cocktail dresses are perfect for those with a petite figure. Both
the designs are by Petite
Affair and are perfectly proportioned for a petite fit. The clothes are
scaled down to suit more delicate limbs and a dainty figure for the shorter
woman who is 5'3" or under.
The cocktail dresses are both from the petite range at Petite Affair an
online website specialising in fashions for the smaller woman.
Petite Affair Autumn/Winter 2006 Ebony Velvet Print Dress, sizes 6-16 at
generally neglected by fashion houses.
Over recent years a small amount of progress has been made with ranges like
Précis Petite and Minuet. NEXT UK has a ladies petite range of a limited
selection of its regular NEXT Directory. Some chain stores such as Marks and Spencer
also offer a ladies petite selection.
However I think petite garments are so often made up in safe classic styles.
It must be very dull for a young petite woman to be faced with some of the dire
ranges on offer in some stores. A girl of 20 does not want a petite
product that looks more suitable for a woman of 80. In fact a woman of 50 or
60 doesn't want a petite garment with a look that she thinks her mother
The petite market wants fashionable
looks just like their 5'9" friends. Retailers might be missing an opportunity
to develop this niche in the UK.
Finally if you are hunting for an affordable basic black dress you can wear
to the office all day with perhaps a covering jacket and go straight out
wearing it at 6pm, consider the short
sleeved magic slimming
dress in black from Marks and Spencer. You can read my
consumer review of the
magic dress on a full page on site or see it via the link below.
I'm sure you have looked at photos discarded with disgust 10 years ago and suddenly realised you were not nearly as bad as you may have thought and were actually quite stunning! So when you are
young enough to get away with certain looks take that opportunity.
You can be assured that as long as you shop in advance there will be plenty
of short party dresses available. If you are brave enough to wait
until a week before Christmas, then the chances
are you might just pick up a bargain in the sales, although many Christmas
and office party events take place in
Have a great night...
Fashion-Era.com looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also
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