Wednesday 11 December 2019

How to wear... the jumpsuit

Christmas partywear isn’t limited to dresses. Meadhbh McGrath suggests the most stylish solution for festive nights out: a ready-made outfit that will save you time and stress

Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga attends a photocall on August 29, 2019 for the film
Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga attends a photocall on August 29, 2019 for the film "Ad Astra" during the 76th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
Amal Clooney
Teal, €59.95 from Zara
Black organza sleeve, €68 from Topshop
Burgundy, €77 from River Island
Silver sequins, €119.99 from Mango
Black oneshoulder, €279 from Lauren Ralph Lauren at Arnotts
Khaki cowlneck, €320 from Reiss
Red belted, €39.99 from H&M
Floral one-shoulder, €1,200 from MSGM at Brown Thomas
Gold bag, €43 from River Island
Asymmetric heel, €51 from Next
Earrings, €22 from French Connection
Black clutch, €95 from M&S
Mules, €155 from Vince Camuto at Arnotts

Meadhbh McGrath

In the chaos of the festive season, there's nothing like a one-piece wonder to save your outfit-making decisions. When you're looking at a month or more of parties, dinners and drinks on the town, you don't have the time (or the energy) to be worrying about what colour trousers goes with that blouse or whether that skirt looks better with the top tucked in or out.

For most of us, the party dress is the ready-made solution to these quandaries, but just as effective - and often more stylish - is the jumpsuit. It's easier to pull off than the fashion crowd's favourite trouser suits, and bolder than a dress - even the simplest black jumpsuit is more exciting than another LBD.

Jumpsuits are a year-round wardrobe hero, and while we're all acquainted with them at this stage, some women still hold back, preferring the safe familiarity of a dress or separates.

For those of you resisting, the Christmas party season is an ideal time to experiment, whatever your shape, size or height.

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On the catwalks, even legacy brands long ago embraced the all-in-one. For autumn-winter, Dior offered a strapless jumpsuit in festive green plaid with embellished ankle-strap pumps, and Ralph Lauren interspersed sleek tuxedo-style black jumpsuits among the many red carpet-ready gowns and tailored suits.

Cate Blanchett is a fan, having modelled one on the front row at Ralph Lauren, and again turned to the jumpsuit for a recent awards show, this time in a dazzling sequinned number by Armani Prive.

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett

The wide legs and short sleeves make for a fabulously flattering silhouette, and particularly for petite figures. If you've not got Cate's 5ft 9in, the contrast between the fitted top half and voluminous lower half will help to balance out your proportions, and works just as well with flats or trainers as with heels.

Amal Clooney loves a jumpsuit and even wore a cream Stella McCartney piece at the civil ceremony for her wedding to George Clooney in 2014, sparking a trend for bridal jumpsuits that continues to flourish. Five years later, they're still a staple in Amal's wardrobe and her sleek navy version is appealingly fuss-free for those who prefer a minimalist approach to partywear.

By virtue of their shape, jumpsuits naturally stand out more than dresses, whatever the event, but if you don't fancy being in the spotlight, a muted colour palette will ensure a more subtle style statement.

On top of that, a neutral-toned jumpsuit will prove far more versatile: you can go traditional with a classic pair of courts and demure clutch or give your look an edge with a dramatic pair of earrings, a printed clutch or a sexy lace-up sandal.

For some, of course, festive partywear means going all out - it's the one time of year when you can freely indulge your inner maximalist and pile on the feathers, sequins and ruffles to your heart's content.

Take inspiration from Ruth Negga in a striking gold brocade jumpsuit by Louis Vuitton. It's not the most accessible piece, but the effect is sensational and is making us hungry for metallics and shine in our festive jumpsuits.

Kick things into high gear with a fully sequinned affair or temper the glitz by choosing a contrasting style with a sparkling bodice and basic black on the bottom.

You can toughen up the look with a masculine blazer, leather moto jacket or this season's favoured clunky biker boots. Alternatively, lean into the glitter and accessorise with a sparkling clutch, jewellery and shoes. When it comes to Christmas fashion, more is more - less is a bore.

Ruth Negga
Ruth Negga

Irish Independent

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