Heels: Phase Eight ‘Aria’ Style c/o | Evening Bag: Next | Earrings: New Look
Hi hi friends! Happy Friday and start of December . . . ✨
Oli and I just returned from a magical trip to Paris, and we are both so excited to have come home to what feels like the true start of Christmas. (Despite Bublé having made a guest appearance for a few weeks already . . . )
Our little town has been decorated with mounted trees adorning every store front, and as we live above a shop, we even get one of our own!
Today I am so excited to share with you a new project I’ve been working on, helping you to navigate desk to dinner dressing with Phase Eight.
With the festive season in full swing I know that the choice of what to wear to the office party can be a much-debated one. It’s one of the only times in the year that everyone gets to dress up together, celebrate the year behind and look forward to the year ahead.
I hope today’s post will help you to select your perfect desk to dinner party look. To kick-start the festivities I have a little video to get things on the way . . . ✨ It’s my first time playing with video and I’m hoping to create more as we enter 2017 ✨
5 Rules For Choosing Your Perfect ‘Desk To Dinner’ Party Look
1. Choose The Right Dress Or Outfit (Don’t Worry I’m Going To Help You!)
This is the most fundamental part of your ‘desk to dinner’ party look. If you find the right dress or outfit, you can transition with ease from the office in to cocktail attire.
Whether you choose a dress or separates, you can think of it like a Venn Diagram:
What’s appropriate attire for the office? What’s appropriate attire for an evening do? Somewhere in the middle you’ll find your perfect party piece.
For me, I chose this beautiful ‘Alba’ emerald green shift dress from Phase Eight. I was immediately drawn to its rich jewel colour – jewel tones are my favourite palette for the holiday season – and its classic (but not boring) silhouette.
A little detailing can go a long way with a party piece, subtle enough to pass in the office (or be hidden beneath a jacket) yet dressy enough to work for the evening too. I love that there’s a little surprise detailing along the back waistline of this dress. It’s such a pretty detail which you don’t see at first.
Phase Eight’s transitioned over the past few seasons in to a true destination for beautifully-crafted pieces for daytime, office and evening wear. They even have a special #DressDestination campaign and online hub right now, designed to help you unearth beautiful party looks for the Christmas season. If you’ve known the brand for a long time you may have historical connotations of occasionwear, mainly for a slightly older generation. Whilst there are still pieces for Phase Eight’s loyal customer, I was so pleased to discover items I would jump on too. From cool embellished separates (love these trousers and this matching top!), to the dress I’m wearing here, and some truly gorgeous accessories, Phase Eight is definitely a brand worth re-visiting.
Oh and do you remember the camel coat from this blog post? One of my favourite pieces of the year!
You can explore all of Phase Eight’s party dresses here – I’d love to know which one takes your fancy . . .
2. A Jacket Is Your Desk To Dinner BFF
A great jacket has to be one of my most-loved and most-used wardrobe items. I’m always on the look out for a great tuxedo-style blazer, one which can work easily from the daytime in to the evening.
A smart jacket will be your festive season BFF when it comes to transitioning your office look. It smartens up any outfit and covers your arms – helpful if you happen to have chosen a sleeveless look for the evening. By the time it’s clocking-off hour you can either slip off your jacket, or simply push up the sleeves and wear it through the evening too. I often opt for a smart blazer or tuxedo jacket for an evening do in the winter – it looks so elegant and keeps you warm.
I opted for the Aleia Satin Back Crepe Jacket from Phase Eight for this look. I love it’s longer-length, which I always find to be flattering. The slim lapel and button detail mean that it works perfectly for the office, as well as for the evening.
For me, a jacket like this is also an easy weekend piece which can be worn over a breton top or cashmere crew neck and jeans. Think Olivia Palermo. (Always think Olivia Palermo!)
3. Add Earrings & Elegant Heels
I don’t believe you need a suitcase of extras to head to your Christmas party from work. I already carry a huge amount of stuff with me when I’m on appointments (laptop, notebook, magazines . . . ) and so the last thing I want to do is carry a million other things to help me dress up an outfit.
What I do always carry with me, when I know I’ll be going straight to an event or party from work, is a pair of gorgeous heels, a clutch bag and statement earrings.
Top tip #1 – I’ve got in to the habit of keeping the dust bags which come with leather handbags, and the free canvas totes you get at events and the like, to pop my spare shoes in. Carrying shoes loose in my bag doesn’t sit well with me – especially when I’ve been walking round all day! – and so keeping a pair of spare shoes in a dust bag is a really easy way to compartmentalise your handbag and keep it clean too.
Top tip #2 – Leave your work shoes at work. There’s no real need for you to take your work shoes home with you if you are going straight to a party. If you think they’d bulk up your bag, leave them at work and pick them up (in a dust bag ofc.) next time you’re in.
For earrings and bags, I have a stash of pretty costume jewellery and evening clutches on a shelf in my room I always go to. Over the years I’ve used and re-used the same evening accessories many times. They can amp up an outfit in seconds.
4. A tan makes everything look better
When it comes to the winter months it’s easy to think that all limbs will be hidden away and no-one will notice if you have pasty legs or not.
Trust me – when I am layering up on a freezing day the last thing I’m imagining is getting my pins out . . . !
And then the Christmas party comes round . . . ????! I’ve got in to the habit of booking in for a spray tan before a big event, or if I don’t have time, I put lots of moisturiser on and follow up with an instant tan at home. A little tan top-up is a super quick way to ensure you’ll feel your very best at the Christmas party, and in the photos afterwards!
If you are worried about looking too dark for the winter season, ask the person applying your tan to go for a more natural look. Salons often have a variety of shade options. If you are DIY’ing it, look for brands which have lighter shades.
5. A little more makeup is all you need
With your tan in place, your outfit sorted and accessories banked, a little more makeup is as much as you need to complete the desk to dinner transformation.
On a day when I know I’ll be heading straight to an event from work, I take extra care with applying my makeup first thing in the morning, that way it’s less work to amp it up in the evening.
I tend to layer more makeup on top of my daytime look, rather than starting from fresh. For me, my skin would only get irritated if I was removing and re-applying makeup, so it’s easier to top-up.
I carry a palette of smokey eyeshadows with me which I can layer, a liquid eyeliner to line my top lash line, mascara, bronzer and a clear lip gloss. Whilst I love a red lip I can never seem to maintain it for a whole evening!
Again, I am all for packing light for this office to evening change-up. I never carry my whole makeup bag with me and instead opt for a little pouch with a distilled selection of products I know I’ll need.
Top Beauty Tip – Eye drops are amazing for helping you to look perky at the end of a long day! I carry a little bottle in my makeup pouch and pop a few drops in before topping up my makeup.
What’s Your Take?
Are you ready for your Christmas party? Do you struggle with your desk to dinner routine, or are you a seasoned pro?
I’d love to know your tips for getting ready too! You can leave me a comment below or tweet me.
Wishing you a wonderful start to the (true) festive season! We are off Christmas tree shopping today . . . !
Love, Monica x
Thank you to Phase Eight for sponsoring this post. Thank you to you my lovely Elgin Avenue readers for supporting the brands we share.
Video editing by Tom Pointer