Festive Fashion: When Tinsel Just Won't Cut It

By Katherine Houston

Festive fashion is upon us. Those Christmas events are right around the corner and soon you'll be digging into the back of your wardrobe for anything red, green or sparkly; colours you've never needed to wear before but are now critical. Emerging from your wardrobe like something out of Narnia, empty handed, you hunt around the house and spot the Christmas tree perched in the corner, laden with decorations. As a last resort you unwind some tinsel to throw on later and pray you've done enough.

But what if it's not enough? How do you know if throwing some tinsel in your hair the morning of just won't cut it?

The work Christmas party

If you're with a company that likes to get fully invested in the end of year last hurrah, with a theme, a party outfit committee and exciting venues (basically anything that's a bar above the local pub), then you may be tempted to spend money you don't have, on something you don't want, that you'll never wear again. Sound familiar?

You don't need to break the bank to look good. Plus, if the theme is super formal, like The Great Gatsby or the Met Gala theme (like ours), then you may not need that velvet dinner jacket or ballgown again for some time. Borrow, don't buy, or head to the op shops if you have an hour spare, there can be some great gems tucked away for a fraction of the price you'd pay elsewhere. Or ask around, and perhaps a friend or family member can help you out.

The ugly Christmas t-shirt party

In Europe and parts of North America, the festivities include attending 'ugly Christmas sweater parties'. Seeing as we can't really do that here; it's ugly Christmas t-shirt parties for us. Equally fun, just a little warmer and ideally a lot sunnier. There are plenty of websites delivering to Australia, such as ASOS, Etsy and the like. You can even customise the t-shirt with your favourite festive tagline, like the classic 'Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal' from Home Alone, or gents can go for a striking Christmas print collared shirt*.

Feeling crafty? Grab a plain t-shirt, choose your photo or text, print it onto transfer paper at your local Officeworks or photo printing store, and iron it on. I've heard just your dog in a Santa hat is equally effective. Don't have time for arts and crafts? Order a t-shirt print from somewhere like Vistaprint online for around the $20 mark - the approximate price you'd pay for the time and money going into your DIY shirt, and just make sure it arrives in time for your ugly t-shirt soiree. On the one hand, purchasing the materials (transfer paper currently $21.58 at Officeworks for five sheets) and making your own could be quite time-consuming, but on the other, you could create a new t-shirt every Christmas for the next five years. Talk about organised.

Home visits

Your home, your rules. Whether you've been cooking all day and night, or peeling back the foil on dips and laying out grapes with a certain je ne sais quoi for 20 minutes - it's your call on the dress code. You can dress up or down, from hostess with the mostess with high heels and a festive dress, or no shoes at all; as the host it's you calling the shots. And whichever way you've gone is likely to set the tone for guests, so getting into the Christmas spirit with a bit of tinsel or a pop of red will go further than you think, plus, is bound to get your guests in the festive mood if they're not already.

Nonetheless, it's one month of the year to enjoy the festivities, and no one will hold it against you if you go down the bit of tinsel route. It is Christmas after all, the season of forgiving.

* must be worn with confidence.