How to practise self love this party season
By Lauren Taylor
It's the season of indulgence, but also the season of social events, sparkly party dresses and festive hashtags as you pose for social media.
With all the glamour of the party season, many of us put pressure on ourselves to look our best.
But overspending or buying clothes that make you uncomfortable won't make you feel good inside.
Here's how to keep some perspective - and practise some self-love as you choose your Christmas party outfits...
Don't overspend on an expensive outfit
It's tempting to believe you need lots of new on-trend party outfits, or that glamorous dress that's way out of your budget.
Susie Hasler, who runs Styled By Susie (styledbysusie.co.uk), says: "Realistically, you're only going to wear it a handful of times, so get your money's worth. I've been to clients' houses and seen special-occasion dresses from Ted Baker or Reiss they've hardly worn, as the style tends to date much faster than casualwear."
If sparkle or glitz isn't your style, don't do it
Just as you don't have to pack boho skirts for a festival, you don't have to buy into a festive trend that doesn't reflect you.
"It's important to stay true to your personal style during party season," says Hasler. "If you're not usually used to wearing dresses, don't force yourself to wear one, as you'll end up looking uncomfortable. Try a jumpsuit or a chic suit with a silky cami underneath. Don't allow yourself to be influenced by what friends or colleagues are wearing."
Don't be tempted to buy on the small side
All you'll end up feeling is failure. "If you're treating yourself to a new outfit, make sure to buy something that fits you now - not something that only just fits in the hope that you'll lose a few pounds before the event," says Hasler. "We all overindulge at Christmas, so go with your size, or even a size up."
There's nothing worse than feeling physically uncomfortable in clothes, whether it's high-waisted jeans that don't feel so good after the office Christmas lunch, or a bodycon that makes you feel like you need to suck in your stomach.
Hasler agrees: "It's really important to feel comfortable in your party outfit, so you can relax and enjoy yourself. Don't wear something tight or restrictive, like a pencil dress, that's going to make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable all night."
So, let yourself breathe, let your tummy relax and let's never punish ourselves with bodycons ever again.
Celebrate what you love about your body
We are conditioned to be far more negative about ourselves than about how other people look. So, if you do catch yourself berating your thighs before you go out, pause, rationalise that it's a thought pattern influenced by a patriarchal construct, and consciously tell yourself some kind things instead.
"Remember that others don't notice the parts of your body that you're not keen on," adds Hasler. "If you feel conscious of your tummy, for example, wear an outfit that draws the eye to a part of your body you do like. Show off your legs in a short dress, your feet in glitzy shoes or your decolletage with an off-the-shoulder number."
Once it's on, try to forget about your outfit
It's the run-up to Christmas, it's a celebration, a bringing together of loved ones, a totally acceptable time to flirt, and an excuse to party in cold, dreary winter. It is not the time to hesitate about accepting a homemade mince pie, pass up a Baileys or go home at a reasonable hour.