Get a new Christmas party outfit - without buying anything new

Throughout 2015, Gillian gave up buying new clothes. But what about Christmas?

With party season upon us, it can be tempting to panic-buy something new to wear - Gillian gives her advice for simple ways to buy nothing new and still find a great Christmas party outfit!

Over the summer I had two weddings to go to where I wasn’t going to buy new outfits. I enjoyed the challenge of finding something that wasn’t new, and you definitely know that no-one’s going to be wearing the same outfit. But first you might want to:

  • Look at what you’ve already got. Can you dress it up in a different way? Change accessories, new shoes, bag or a scarf?
  • Borrow from someone else who’s the same size as you.
  • Blitz the charity shops. Try and think what colours you look good in and stick to those as it can help having a limited choice rather than being over faced with too many options. On the reverse of that though (depending on how much effort you want to put in) you could look for shapes and cuts of outfits that you like/suit you, and dye the item.

While looking for wedding outfits, the dresses I bought were never definite outfits until I’d got them home and tinkered with accessories and shoes etc. It will take a little creativity to put the full outfit together, for me this is part of the fun. Take note: the outfit you want will not be on display with lights dazzling on it and accessorized with a final look. Use your imagination about what jewellery and accessories you already have to add to things, or take a look around the shops beforehand to see what you like and what will go with potential outfits you might buy.

Top tips for Christmas outfits

You have your velvets, sequins, lace etc and these change only slightly year on year. Have a look around new clothing shops for ideas (if you want to stay current) then launch into the charity shops for something that you might like, either to wear off the peg (as it were) or to add a little bit of detail i.e. lace, sparkle. See Love Your Clothes' sewing tips for help, or dye items that might not to be the right colour. Dyes can be picked up from your local haberdashers or markets.

Again, look at your own wardrobe for party-wear that could do with a revamp. There's lots of inspiration online (on blogs, YouTube and Pinterest to name a few) on how to customise what you already have or add to slightly dated or not to your taste charity shop finds.

I’ve noticed that charity shops do stock their racks/shelves with seasonal outfits, so you should find more appropriate items when you are ready to look.

And the best thing about doing this is that you know that no-one will be wearing the same outfit as you!