Who doesn’t love dressing up for the party season? It’s my favourite time of year for occasion wear as there’s usually an abundance of everything I love – sequins, glitter, shine and metallic. Of course being in an office of one these days as a freelancer does mean that I don’t really have the excuse of a big old work Christmas do to warrant spending lots on the perfect party outfit.
Has that ever stopped me over the three years I’ve been self employed? No soiree. Because, quite simply, I love to dress up over the festive season, so whether there’s an organised shindig or not, you’ll most likely find me donning glittery shoes and sequin dresses in the last two weeks of the year, regardless.
I’ve learnt over the years that I simply need to bring the party, and now I always make sure to organise a few pre-Christmas lunches/drinks/shopping dates with friends and fellow bloggers around this time of year to give us an excuse to don our finery and get in the mood. I’m also one of *those people* who loves to dress up for actual Christmas and always have an outfit in the bag for each day of the festivities (apart from maybe boxing day which is strictly a PJ only zone). Sometimes when I talk about my Christmas Eve or Christmas Day outfit, there are people who look at me in utter confusion as if to say – ‘What? You actually dress up for Christmas???’. This definitely seemed to be the response the first Christmas I spent with GB’s family when I came down the stairs on Christmas Eve with my tulle skirt, sequin top and high heels on ahead of going out to collect a Chinese takeaway – LOL.
But in our family, it’s a thing. With Dutch blood and a long tradition of celebrating on Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas for us has always been a big deal and we all put on our gladrags and have a little mini party full of festive nibbles, party games and presents (yes we open presents the night before -shock horror!). I guess it probably stemmed from me being so into party clothes as a young girl and wanting to spend every second in my prettiest frock and glittery shoes. Perhaps realising I was going to do it anyway, the rest of my family followed suit and the precedent was set. Ever since I was a little girl, Christmas Eve has always been my most favourite part of the Christmas holidays – a day spent helping my Mum bake mince pies and sausage rolls before putting on my favourite party dress and getting to see what was inside some of those wrapped goodies ahead of Santa arriving in the night. It was magical.
And so the tradition lives on and somehow within the last seven years I’ve even managed to persuade my – hates dressing up – husband to adopt a little festive outfit too (and open a couple of presents on Christmas Eve!).
This year of course, picking festive party outfits has had an added dilemma – a 31 week baby bump. Speak to any pregnant woman and she’ll probably tell you that occasion wear is her biggest bug bear when it comes to maternity clothes. I’ve heard it so often now, from those pregnant over summer and getting invited to countless weddings, to those of us navigating the Christmas party looks with a sizeable bump in tow and probably not feeling our best.
At first, with a quick glance of the ‘maternity’ options available to me, I almost decided to forget all about my dressing up tradition this year and instead spend the whole of December in leggings and oversized knitwear feeling sorry for myself every time I saw another pretty dress on the high street that ordinarily I would have snapped up instantly. But then I changed my mind and decided it was a challenge worth tackling. Reaching the third trimester brings with it a mix of accepting your new larger than life figure and realising there’s very little you can do now to stop every part of your face and body expanding to new levels over the next few months (hello swollen ankles, double chin and pronounced outie belly button) but at the same time still having bouts where you feel utterly pants about it and blaming yourself for not doing more yoga over the last seven months to avoid the thunder thighs and love handles you now find yourself with, while you pray to every god out there that you’ll be able to get your old figure back… one day.
But no-one wants to feel pants at this time of year, and while wallowing in the same pair of leggings for weeks on end might not help, a little endorphin inducing sparkle and glitter MOST CERTAINLY WILL.
So fellow preggos, let’s not let our whale like bodies stop us from enjoying the sheer joy that is putting on a party frock and feeling fabulous ok? And for everyone else – dress up in your most FABULOUS of dresses and put on your highest and most glittery heels and ROCK that party look so far that your work colleagues exclaim ‘that’s a bit much isn’t it?’.
Because NO. It’s never TOO MUCH. Not at Christmas.
I’ve put together four pregnancy friendly party looks that will see you through the holidays, but bar a few items most of the outfits can also be worn when not pregnant too so enjoy!
The Christmas Party = Human Disco Ball
Dress – H&M (in store only) | Leather Jacket – Gestuz (old, similar)
Shoes – Rupert Sanderson (wedding heels, buy similar)
First up it’s THE Christmas party. You know, the big work shindig that everyone’s been talking about all year and you’ve spent months wondering what on earth you are going to wear to. If you find yourself working in a very large company or invited to your other half’s very large company do, and you are also pregnant, chances are this is the one you’ll be fretting about. Usually these type of affairs are the dressiest of the lot and jeans and a top won’t cut it. They may even be black tie (oh gawd) and you need to look like you’ve made an effort while still retaining some form of pregnancy belly comfort along the way. I say there’s only one way to go here and it’s go ALL OUT. Embrace that burgeoning bump with abandon and find your inner Kim K. Don the skin tight, clings to every curve, super sexy, shiny and sparkly dress and don it with confidence. So much so that if you even catch a glimpse of anyone double taking at your giant ass you can hit them with ‘yes, my ass is huge, but I’m growing a goddamn human, what have you done this year??’.
I have to admit that the Kim K approach hasn’t been my pregnancy go to as strangely I’ve found myself much more self conscious about my changing body than I ever expected to be. But, when it came to my one and only Christmas night out this year, I suddenly felt the need to show that bump off (it’s looking particularly round and cute at the moment) and so I chose this silver metallic dress from H&M. It’s non maternity and was picked in my usual size (I’m guessing it’s supposed to sit a little longer and baggier normally) but luckily is made from a stretchy pleated metallic fabric. Just one word of warning – beware of the side split with a bump as it will jump up to just below your hip before you know it. I had to sew this one in a little to protect my modesty. Oh – and unless you’re in complete denial like me, avoid heels this high as you’ll last approximately the time it takes your taxi to arrive before changing into something comfier and less back breaking.
Shop the Look…
The Christmas Lunch = Just Dressy Enough
Burgundy Wave heels – Boden | Bag – Vintage | Earrings – H&M
For a more laid back festive event with work/friends/family (or even your Christmas Day attire if like me, you’re a fan of dressing up for the occasion) you can usually rely on the fail safe option of jeans and a dressy top with added sparkly accessories. Or in this case, the world’s comfiest maternity leggings (which miraculously till look party ready) and a dressy top. I don’t think I’ve ever worn a pair of wet look leggings, even in my pre-pregnancy state I was always convinced they would make my legs look like tree trunks and draw attention to my sizeable hips, but that’s the great thing about having a massive bump, aint nobody looking at your hips. Suddenly the rule of proportions has re-aligned itself – bonus! But in all seriousness, I was pretty bowled over with these leggings (especially as they were under £15) as they have a great soft fabric bump band underneath, stay up (which so few do) and look dressed up too. I will be getting a lot of wear out of these over the festive period I’m sure.
I chose the overly co-ordinated look with this New Look burgundy top (in the sale) which again isn’t maternity but stretches nicely (I think this fabric is a winner) and has a tie waist that you can use to pull you in under the bust slightly, and one of my go-to pairs of shoes from Boden which are so comfy I can still get away with them. Of course, if in doubt and not feeling dressy enough, simply add a gigantic pair of earrings and you’re good.
Shop the Look…
Cocktails with Friends = All the Pink and Glitter
Glitter Shoes – Topshop (sold out, similar) | Bag – Zara
This is probably my favourite party look of all this year, and it won’t take you long to guess why – it’s pink, it’s glittery and it’s a true girly outfit that makes me feel pretty. Although looking back at these photos has taught me that strapless bras are no longer an option at 7 months pregnant and this top isn’t altogether flattering on me right now (I think I’ll wear it with a pink fluffy knit a la Holly Willoughby next time and leave the bare shoulder look to those of you who aren’t contending with droopy boobs – sigh). Anyway this is what I’ll no doubt wear on Christmas Eve and is as close to my usual Christmas party style as I can get right now. It’s perfect for a girls night out or a festive catch up over cocktails with your bestie (alcoholic or not).
The pleated midi skirt has to be one of my favourite trends of the last couple of seasons and it’s a look I’d been rocking happily for a long time… until I got pregnant. As the months went on, my favourite high waisted skirts got tighter and more uncomfortable around the waist, the hems got shorter on one side and they just didn’t look good anymore. Seeing so many people spinning around on Instagram in their metallic pleated skirts this party season has filled me with all the FOMO and I was determined (DETERMINED I tell you) to find one that would work for me this Christmas. When it comes to maternity, skirts are pretty much a non existent form of clothing. It seems that no-one has come up with an option other than the tube skirt, and so that’s all we’re given. I guess the shape of a pleated skirt isn’t very easy to adapt for a bump, which is probably why I tried and failed to find any maternity versions of this trend.
In the end I ordered this Asos non maternity one in a big size and just kept all my fingers and toes crossed (well at least I think I did – I can no longer see my toes LOL) that somehow it would fit. And it did… I mean the seams are in kind of the wrong place and if you see me from the side, well I just look GINORMOUS and much bigger than I do in any of the other outfits. But did I mention it’s pink, and pleated, and satin, and shiny, and FITS around the waist?? I can twirl and dance and that’s good enough for me. If you’re not pregnant – Asos have this style of skirt in every colour at the moment and it’s fabulous, without a bump it will look even more gorgeous so go forth and show off your waists, I’m not jealous at all – ahem.
It’s also the look that got the MOST attention when being photographed and garnered more than a few strange looks from passers by. I can’t work out whether it was the mahoosive bump or the fact I was wearing a pink satin skirt and gold glittery heels at midday on a Tuesday? Although it IS the season for dressed up lunches no? I had about 5 people stop and ask if they could get in the shot with me (including an extremely inebriated man who almost spilled his bottle of whatever all over the skirt), one woman stop to tell me I was ‘blooming’, one person say they loved the skirt, one coo over the shoes, about ten people stride by and tut, and one adorable little boy who walked past three times with his Mum before plucking up the gorgeous to come and tell me he thought I looked ‘like a beautiful Princess’. Considering I currently feel like a beached whale – I took that one and ran with it all week!!
Shop the Look…
Christmas at Home = Luxe Comfort
My final look is a more relaxed one, and the type of thing that’s easy to throw on over the holidays when you have guests popping over or just want to feel like you’ve made a bit of an effort but can’t face the actual reality of shaving legs and putting on tan and wearing heels. This is what I’ll be wearing in those in between days, and may even end up being my Hogmanay outfit (we’re staying in a cottage in Scotland with some of our friends so it will be a laid back affair) as the luxe fabrics and touch of sparkle allow you to old onto the party vibe, while the oversized cosy knit allows you to curl up on the sofa and relax.
I spotted these sparkly joggers in H&M and couldn’t resist – the perfect lounging attire for over the Christmas period and still with a little festive cheer. The top is another sale buy from New Look, and is ideal maternity wear – skimming over the bump perfectly and feeling luxe with the soft velvet fabric and detailed straps. When you’re ready to cosy up, just throw on an oversized knit like this long coatigan (part coat, part cardigan) from Boden which is the best piece to wrap up in. I added some fancy flats for extra sparkle, this pair are last season from Boden but I still adore them, although no doubt after the guests leave you’ll be swapping them for slippers anyway.
Shop the Look…
So those are my four party looks this Christmas, all still working with a bump too hurrah!
Do you dress up over the festive season? And if so, what’s your go to look this year?