by Liz Cocozza
Leading fashion director and stylist Liz Cocozza shares her insights on how to style your most flattering festive look and shows you ways to increase the versatility of your winter wardrobe with some clever on-trend accessories
Super stylist and fashion director Liz Cocozza contemplating Christmas in her printed floral Ridley London maxi skirt, photographed at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London
Christmas is fast approaching and this year we’re all really looking forward to some much needed festive glamour, excitement and the chance to let our hair down, following last year's lockdowns. As A-listers showcase some of the sparkliest and most flamboyant creations ever seen on the red carpet, the search for that glamorous festive frock is on! This year the brighter, the bolder, sassier and sparklier the better! As retailers report high glamour dresses are already flying off the rails, now is the right time to think about finding that perfect Christmas dress, before it’s too late. However, with climate change and sustainability on the agenda, we're all well aware that a dress isn’t just for Christmas. We now need to be sure we’re going to get at least 30 wears out of investment pieces, which for most practical people immediately rules the aforementioned sequins, sparkles out of the equation. Before you jump to any premature conclusions, hold on. I think I might be able to change your mind.
In my 25 years of styling and directing fashion shoots for some of the most well known magazines, I’ve seen it all. It’s true, trends come and go and fashion is an endless churning cycle. However, there are always garments that rise above and become classics. These are the pieces that can always be worn and become treasured essentials in our wardrobes. The chosen ones, we refuse to throw away. We’ve all got them. Those incredible dresses we go back to time and time again, because they just make us look and feel incredible and often full of memories. With the right accessories, they can be brought straight up to the minute, dressed up or down for a whole host of occasions. So, if you’re shopping for a new dress for the festive season, one word of advice, avoid impulsive, trend driven purchases. Be a little more discerning and find something that really makes you look and feel special, because that way, you’ll definitely get more wear out of it. I absolutely love Ridley London dresses. They’re a clever modern take on timelessly flattering, feminine style and can be customised in your choice of fabric and custom-made for a perfect fit. So, you’ll really get something that works for you.
When you’ve found that perfect festive dress, or perhaps chosen something already hanging in your wardrobe (that you would like to bring up to date,) that’s the time to choose some beautiful on-trend accessories, to make the outfit work. I’ve selected five versatile festive items from Ridley London’s latest winter collection to help you get started. Some flamboyant, some more understated, with clever tips on how to style them and make the most of your seasonal festive wardrobe.
Look 1: The classically sumptuous velvet dress
Velvet is a key catwalk trend this winter, and in my book it always feels luxurious and looks chic at anytime of year, but particularly at Christmas. For me this is the ultimate, buy now, love forever dress, an absolute wardrobe classic. It is so versatile and works well for day or night and everything in between. The rich dark blues, greens and red’s are flatteringly slimming. The understated midi style of this Ridley London dress makes it very easy to style for day with long leather or suede knee high boots and a beautiful shoulder bag, but will also work for a party with glittery heels, statement jewellery and a sparkly clutch.
1) For evening try teaming with this season’s velvet platform heels and a long narrow silk neck scarf, as an alternative to jewellery.
2) Add a sleeveless belted jacket for a modern smart daytime look.
3) Wear with lots of gold chunky jewellery and satin pumps for Christmas cocktails.
Look 2: The Statement dress with serious sparkle
Metallic is a must for any wardrobe this season and this glamorous, green sparkly dress screams Christmas party. Dress it up for the special event by adding one of this season's chunky gold statement necklaces and gold strappy heels. Or team with a diamante jewelled earrings and a black satin tux jacket or a black Ridley velvet blazer. Equally, this dress can be played down, worn with a chunky knit (as pictured here by interior stylist @_vixstarella_), denim or leather jacketed trainers or ankle boots. And suddenly it’s a funky festive skirt.
1) Don’t keep your statement pieces just for best, wear in the day with flats and under winter coats and sweaters for lunch dates.
2) Try wearing with satin ankle boots and a leather biker jacket for a more funky evening look.
3) Wear with high leather heeled boots, a great winter coat and gorgeous leather bag for a festive Christmas lunch.
Look 3: The versatile printed winter floral dress
If you’re looking for a dress that’s really versatile, you can’t do better than something with a print. Print works well for every occasion, but particularly a great buy over the Christmas period when it’s easy to dress up for a party, or down for day. The very nature of print allows you to experiment by mixing on-trend accent colours with versatile and universally flattering base colours like navy blue. And in the right design, also helps to smooth over curves creating a more flattering silhouette. If you’re more conservative you can always go for a print that’s a little less bold. Add metallic heels and gorgeous statement bag and big hooped earrings. Equally, team with a blazer and boots for a more daytime look. Or throw on a cashmere sweater and pointy flats for a more casual relaxed look.
1) Add a chunky knit and flat boots for festive lunches and drinks at the pub.
2) Try adding a narrow leather belt and kitten heels or statement flats for a fun party look.
3) Long cardigans, leather jackets and statement coats also look great over long dresses, so make this piece work in your wardrobe.
Look 4: The relaxed winter floral skirt
The colours and pattern of this skirt make it a winning favourite. Ridley London have so many beautiful floral prints in wool, silks and cord to choose from or to have made to measure. A floral skirt is perfect for day with chunky biker boots a black roll neck sweater. Dress it up a little more under a black velvet blazer or bring more edge with a leather biker jacket. Add a statement knit and cool leather day bag for a more relaxed feel. This skirt would work well with trainers and a sweater or alternatively with long leather boots and a statement blouse in a complimentary tone for a festive lunch. Ridley London have some fabulous silk chiffon blouses that would work brilliantly. Choose a sweater or blouse to compliment the skirt pattern and flatter your natural colouring.
1) Team with shades of cream, rust and soft brown. Wear with a thin polo neck sweater under a wool camel coat.
2) Add trainers and cashmere jumper, trench coat and statement bag for a relaxed daytime look.
3) Try wearing with an on-trend orange knit or scarf to make the beautiful colours pop.
Look 5: The super versatile dis-co-ord
If you are intent on going for serious glamour, there is another way to increase versatility and wearability and that’s buying on trend co-ords, opposed to a dress. Co-ords (or matching top and bottom,) seems to be the buzz word right now, hardly surprising as you can make three outfits out of two pieces (a skirt, top and dress.) And I can guarantee this statement metallic blouse and skirt will be the hardest working items on your Christmas rail. There are so many ways to wear this blouse and skirt. Team the blouse with leather or velvet pants for a cool contrast and statement look, or wear it with the matching tiered maxi skirt and gold scrappy heels. This is the go to piece for parties, lunches and cocktails. Try teaming with blue denim and calf length suede boots, for an edgy, rock chic vibe, or under a velvet blazer with black jeans and heels. Like wise the sparkling skirt can be worn with a whole host of items to create different variety of looks. Wear with fine knit cashmere and a blazer or with a statement white blouse. Add a thin polo neck jumper and winter coat for day or lunch. Alternatively wear the blouse and skirt together to make the ultimate Christmas Day or party dress.
1) Wear under a leopard print coat, with black leather skinny pants and pointed flats for day.
2) Team with a cool leather biker jacket and statement jeans and gold hooped earrings.
3) Match with the metallic maxi skirt and a black velvet blazer. Accessorise with gold heels, bag and jewellery for head to toe glamour this festive season.
Ridley London's new collection of festive dresses, skirts, tops and coats for Christmas is available to purchase on-line and in Ridley's Barnes store. Celebrate your individuality with a unique piece that's individually crafted to flatter from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral silks or cottons. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting:
Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 01730 823097