New Year's: forgo the little black dress

Jewel tones, sequins, accessories to bring in the new year

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Fendi oversize bag

This season marked the return of the party dress in all its glory. From Alexander McQueen to Zac Posen, designers sent a multitude of flat-out fantastic frocks down the runway.

With new details, a fresh colour palette and tons of embellishment, these styles give the little black dress a run for its money. What better way to show off your classy looks than during the biggest evening of the (new) year?

Jewel Tones
Forego basic black for a shot of intense colour. Designers like Christian Dior and Donatella Versace must have had some serious rocks on their minds when they created evening looks in shades like emerald green, ruby red, sapphire and dark amethyst.

Whereas black can feel a little drab, brighter tones look amazing on almost every skin tone and add a much-needed spark to winter dressing. Look for jewel-toned dresses in luxe fabrics like satin and chiffon â€" or for the less adventurous, pair a bold-colour top with a dark pencil skirt or trousers.

This season, sequins are a girl’s best friend. With a knockout sequined dress, there’s no need for lots of jewellery. To avoid looking like a Vegas showgirl, keep the silhouette simple and streamlined. Try a tank-strap sequin mini dress or stick to one glittery piece like an embellished top or skirt. A more muted colour (think dark grey or black) also works well.

Cocktail ring

New Silhouettes
There are two dramatic new shapes for winter, and they both offer something for every body type. The first is the mini â€" still going strong from the summer and great for tall girls (and those blessed with great legs). Go for a more voluminous silhouette like a tunic or shift dress instead of something too form-fitting.

The second shape â€" the pencil skirt â€" works well for hourglass and pear-shaped figures. Pairing a dark knee-length pencil skirt with a lighter top minimizes hips and evokes 1940s-style glamour.

Standout Accessories
Many of winter’s newest evening looks make dress-wearing a breeze since it can hold its own without a lot of accessories. That said, the right accessories can make or break an outfit.

For New Year’s Eve, find an oversize clutch that’s big enough to carry all the essentials â€" whether or not you actually hold on to it throughout the night (how many glasses of champagne you take in) is up to you. Look for details like metallic shades, satin and bows to make your evening bag special.

With embellished dresses, swap fussy necklaces and bangles for a big, sparkly cocktail ring. And for all of us who will likely be waiting outside in line for the bar at some point this winter, black tights are key. They tone down a skimpy hemline or bold jewel-toned fabric while keeping you warm. Pair them with ankle boots or round-toe black pumps for a sleek, sophisticated look and legs that look like they go on forever.

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