The New Rules of Christmas Dinner Dressing

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By Sujata Assomull
New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANSlife)
We usually reserve our most glamorous outfits for this time of the year, as you can get away with literally dressing like Christmas bauble. It is as they say “the most wonderful time of the year,” and for fashion that translates to bling it out.
Not this year though; there will be no big blow out bashes on New Year’s Eve and Christmas Week parties will most likely be about socially distanced sit-down dinners with family and close friends. (If you are sensible). But you still need to dress up–it is Christmas after all.
A beautiful dinner deserves to be accompanied by beautiful clothes. Perhaps take a leaf out of the Crawley family’s fashion book (yes, I am referring to Downton Abbey) and remember dinner is an occasion one should dress up for. Of course you can leave the tiara — we do need to be sensitive to the times we live in too.
It is an elegant festive feel we want this year — (if there was one dress code I have never been able to decode it’s the semi-formal one). The fail-safe option is a smart LBD, a pair of heels, some statement jewelry and a clutch (and with not being able to carry our bags for most of this year do make them super-sized — think Bottega Veneta Pouch).
But with it being the holiday season, black can be a little somber for this time of the year. Red and green (yes I know they say should never be seen together, but rules are made to be broken) are the traditional colors, and I have always turned to jewel tones this time of year: amethyst purple, sapphire blue, ruby red and emerald green.
Fabrics can be more decadent–like a silk velvet or a duchess satin, they have a sheen that spells festivity and yet is very understated. (One dress I have my eye on is Saloni’s velvet deep green bow dress. The designer, Saloni Lodha is London based but was born in Nashik and retails from most well-known luxury e-tail sites.)
Dresses at dinner parties need to be “sitting friendly”– so not too short and not too low cut. When it comes to sleeves while there are a lot of butterfly and kimono sleeves in fashion right now you don’t want your cuff to fall into the gravy boat by mistake. Since you will be seated — rather like dressing for a zoom call, it is about waist up dressing. A statement piece of jewelry always adds to the look, be it a cocktail ring, a great pair of hoops or a stand out neckpiece. It is okay to jingle a bit at this time of year.
If you are not a dress girl, the tuxedo style jacket and trousers is a very fashion forward option. Also if you want to inject some desi magic (this is the year to be vocal for local) to your festive style, brocade jackets are always a glam yet sophisticated choice. Suket Dhir has a few options. Or if you have a good tailor and a jacket with a shape you like — just dupe the piece in a brocade.
But if all this just sounds too dressed up — there is always the kaftan dress option especially if you are one of lucky ones escaping to Goa, Maldives or some other beach resort. Remember traditionally December is the month of “Cruise” in fashion–as it is when high fashion labels drop their resort lines. From Masaba Gupta’s quirky and easy take on the kaftan to Payal Singhal’s more tailored tasseled and embroidered kaftans– jetsetters have always known that a kaftan can take you from the ballroom to the beach. In this year — where the kaftan has become the robe of the pandemic, why not end the year wearing this billowing, bohemian and beautiful silhouette?
The writer Sujata Assomull is an IANSlife columnist. Assomull is the author “100 Iconic Bollywood Costumes” and was the Founding Editor In Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, India.
(IANSlife Features can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in)

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