Christmas Party Outfits

Tis' the season to pull out your party frocks, and dust off your dancing shoes, for the Christmas party marathon is well under way. From the dreaded work Christmas do, to the mulled wine bash that always gets a little out of hand, you are going to need something to wear. Read on below for our advice on looking your very best this Christmas time.

Alice & Olivia xxx

The Lunch Party

An early Christmas lunch with all your boyfriend's relatives, or a lunch with friends who are decidedly more 'grown-up' than you (they have a 2 year old, you have a dead pot plant), Boden and French Sole are your friends here try these trousers, this shirt and these pumps, and you'll look tidy and trendy, perfect.

The Work Christmas Party

This is easy in some ways, all your colleagues will be discussing their outfits weeks before so you'll be able to gauge the appropriate dress code. We say, as it's Christmas, go full on sequins, and pair with an appropriate level heel, you don't want to be staggering at the beginning of the night.

The Drinks Party

Pull out the stops for this one, first of all this may be the only chance to see the boy you fancy who is friend of a friend of a friend - he'll for sure be at this party. Dress up because it's a good excuse too, and because when everyone else sees you they'll wish they had made an effort too.  It's also the perfect time to wear that dress that's too smart for going out but not wedding-attire appropriate.

The Birthday Brunch

The selfish friend whose birthday is in December, I mean really, don't they know how many other Christmas social engagements are already in your diary?  However off to the birthday brunch you must go, and looking good is a must, particularly when you haven't seen them in a while. A wool skirt with over the knee boots and a cashmere sweater is cool yet v casual.

The Winter Wedding

It's happening, you're nearly 30 and your friends keep getting engaged.  It turns out the wedding season is a season that never ends, ever - May bank holiday, the middle of the week, Easter Sunday - there isn't a single day of the year that is safe, even New Years Eve has been hijacked. Photos will be taken, and put on Facebook whether you like or not, so outfit recycling is just not an option, and beware anything from Zara, the girl two pews behind you will be wearing it. You are however, almost refreshingly, allowed to wear black, so for that winter wedding, try this dress and a bespoke hat.

Christmas Day Outfit

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It's important to make an effort on Christmas day, so plan ahead and make sure you pack something comfy yet chic.  It's the year of the metallic pleated skirt, we love it paired with a polo neck and ankle boots, and don't forget your Alex Monroe necklace and fun tights.

The Black Tie Party

Who even knows what 'Black Tie' means anymore, is it short, is it long, does it include jumpsuits and does it even matter? Really you can choose a dress you like provided it's not uber short / too revealing, and dress it up how you want, what fun. Any dress from Needle & Thread will do very nicely, and make sure you have a suitably snazzy clutch bag too.

New Years Eve Party

The big night of the year everyone dreads, WHAT to do for New Year (should celebrate, must celebrate), and certainly must look good. This year it's all about the glitter jumpsuit, surprisingly it works on most shapes, just pair with some magenta velvet block heels and your ready for 2018.

Words Alice Bray, Illustrations Olivia Dueser

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An Illustration Exhibition - Talking with Karin Söderquist

owl sqareI recently took a trip to Shoreditch on my bicycle.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and I took a leisurely route avoiding the main roads - through the back of Stockwell, past Oval, over Southwark Bridge and up past Finsbury Square.   I made it to Shoreditch and tied my bike up in a very snazzy bike rack (green and in the shape of a car, Shoreditch is very trendy).I went to find The Old Shoreditch Station which is a cafe and bar in a decommissioned station.  It's pretty difficult to tell it was ever a station, although there is a nice map on the wall explaining which rooms were which part of the station.  I had a lovely coffee and sat in the window - and I rather like it as a place - you order your coffee 'in' at the bar, and take it with you to sit where  ever you like, and they don't fuss over you too much.  It has a very easy going vibe, definitely the sort of place you could take a book, or an essay to be written and sit for a while and that would be just fine.So the main purpose of my trip to The Old Shoreditch Station was to see an exhibition of works by Bat Country Collective entitled When Hell Breaks Loose.  I really like illustration and Bat Country Collective are a London and Stockholm based group of illustrators who create rather charming and often quirky illustrations.  I really like this concept - illustrators with different techniques and styles, collating their visions to create collections and curate exhibitions.The illustrations are very much hung as though they are works of art specifically bought and displayed for the coffee shop - so I did do some awkward photo taking over people enjoying their coffee (thank you for your patience!!).I enjoyed the lino prints by James Swain and also Asa Wikman's motivational unicorn is just super.But it was Karin Soderquist's illustration's based on Russian prison tattoos caught my eye.  They were inspired by FUEL's Russian criminal tattoo archive - and the combination of almost comical images tattooed onto rather terrifying Russian criminals and recreated by Karin in bright, colourful rather fanciful illustrations is bizarre and delightful.I asked Karin some questions about the concept behind this exhibition, and her illustrations:

Explain to me a little bit about your work as an illustrator, and the techniques you use?

I studied illustration at Camberwell College of Art and graduated in 2011. Since then I've been freelancing part-time and worked on a range of different projects, mostly editorial illustration but also some advertising, food illustration and packaging design. My work is a mix of digital and hand-drawn illustration. All the colours are digital but the base of the illustration is always a drawing. Bat Country Collective formed as a fun way to collaborate and support each others work and “When Hell Breaks Loose” is our third exhibition in London. We've had different members but right now the collective is made up of me, Åsa Wikman and Ashley Amery.

How did you and Bat Country Collective arrive at the theme 'When Hell Breaks Loose'?

Coming up with a theme for a group show can be tricky. It has to be something that feels fun and inspiring for everyone taking part and something that is wide enough for everyone to be able to create the kind of work that they enjoy. As we live in different countries, I'm in Stockholm and the rest of the collective is in London, we usually communicate via Facebook. We had a bit of a brainstorm on there and decided on ”When Hell Breaks Loose”, it triggered all of our imaginations!

How and why were you inspired to use the Russian prison tattoos for these works?

I was given all three of FUEL's Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedias for Christmas last year. After looking through them I knew that I wanted to make my own versions of some of the amazing tattoos. This exhibition felt like a perfect time to start working in the project, being in prison probably feels a lot like being in hell.

I love your colour combinations - do you have a colour palette you always work with, or do you change it depending on project?

I love colours and sometimes it comes really easily, the colours I want to use for a certain illustration. Other times it takes a bit more work to find something that feels right so that the colours play off each other nicely. I have a few combinations that I keep coming back to, but I try to challenge myself and not always use the first combinations that pops into my head. I usually spend a lot of time playing around with the ”Hue and Saturation” in Photoshop!

Do go and see this exhibition at The Old Shoreditch Station, it is on until mid-May, and definitely have a coffee :-)

Alice xxx

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