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By: Jamie Simpson
Party dresses this season are available in a wide variety of lengths and cuts, suitable for any age and body style. Warmer fabrics of lush velvet, rich satin and vibrant brocade can still be light and flowing with the correct cut and fit.

Full-figured women should opt for dresses with a V-neckline and a medium length flared skirt to accentuate the waist and legs while minimising hips and thighs. A gathered waistline is ideal for thin figured women wishing to create a defined waistline. Women "of a certain age" will want to avoid an overload of trendy patterns like leopard-skin, and opt to use the pattern as an accent on shoes or a handbag rather than the actual dress. Shorter skirt lengths and high empire waistlines will create the appearance of long legs on shorter women.

Many of this winter holiday season's cocktail dresses feature jewelled embellishments around the neckline, waist, side or sleeves And while diamond-coloured rhinestones are a basic, jewelled-tone stones can also be found in shades of ruby reds, sapphire blues and emerald greens. When wearing highly embellished dresses, accessories should be kept to a minimum to keep the dress and jewellery from competing. One bold necklace or a stunning pair of earrings should be sufficient.

Form fitting cocktail dresses of sequined fabric are also popular for this year's party season. While metallic colours of silver, gold, and bronze are classic, this season also features patterns of zebra, leopard, and zigzagged chevrons. When wearing a sequined dress, be careful of snagging the dress on chairs or corners. Most dresses come with extra sequins and matching thread.

Black tie events require formal, full length gowns. Although basic black never goes out of style, "formal" need necessarily mean "stuffy". This season's full length party dresses can be found in a plethora of jewel toned holiday colours such as garnet and emerald as well as rich colours such as deep purple and gold. Classic full length dresses are updated this season with the use of a halter neck line or asymmetrical, one-shoulder sleeves. Sleeveless gowns can be particularly dramatic, especially those with a princess cut bodice and full, sweeping skirt.

The thigh's the limit when it comes to formal gowns with slits on the leg or side. And necklines can plunge as deeply as one will dare to wear. Luckily, wardrobe tape is available at most department stores to aid with avoiding any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions.

Two-piece party dresses, regardless of the length, are wonderful options for holiday attire. Dresses with matching or coordinating boleros or shrug style jackets allow for added warmth and modesty while maintaining a festive look. Many two-piece party dresses feature jackets or tops with elaborate embellishments of sequins, beading or embroidery.


You can find a great selection of Christmas party dresses in a variety of colours and styles at
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