I believe a great party outfit should be a logical extension of a person’s existing wardrobe, not an outlier.
Timeless style is defined as unchanged by time; iconic silhouettes and the unfollower of trends. It means to invest in pieces such as the little black dress and other neutral items which are so prevalently offered in stores they risk becoming invisible. As an admirer of classic silhouettes, the traditional timeless style is deeply rooted to my own personal preferences and thus, my style guides will always include this approach. However, if this doesn’t fit into your own personal style, I still encourage you to look into classic pieces as they can help you create a better understanding of style Vs Fashion.
Although, this may seem strange to many, once I started creating a wardrobe I adored, I started to form rules for myself. A personal guideline, which I could follow to ensure I successfully created an outfit I loved and invested in pieces I got excited about and would consistently wear. I’ve found that approaching my style this way has resulted in a profound success, as I’m not abiding to the rules of the fashion industry but rather following my own set of directions to ensure that I’m living as my most authentic self.
My mission on Eternally Elle is to inspire my readers to be the queen of their own life and I believe that it starts with curating the closet fit for a conquerer. I’ve found that when we invest in ourselves, through practices of compassion- both to ourself, others and the planet- and invest in items which will make us more empowered. It gives an extra boost of confidence to take on the world, where doors aren’t opened but made and magic is created. A conquerers closet means turning away from trends and only investing in pieces which are never going to age for you, not the industry. It is achieved by observing and taking inspiration to find the path that will lead you to style greatness but never believing that you can only get there by following somebody else’s rules.
Therefore, I want to be clear that my intentions are never to tell you how to live your life or wear certain clothing. My hope is that by reading this guide you can take my own personal, autumnal, party-outfit rules, which resonate with you, to add to your own style guide. Perhaps this will educate you on the effects of curating your own personal guidelines or inspire something wonderful.
Here is my timeless girls guide to dressing for parties in the autumnal season…
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A funnel coat
As a British babe, born and raised in the north, I have a high tolerance for cold weather and with my ladylike style, dressing for low temperatures all the whilst feeling über feminine is a challenge. I have found that the best way to tackle this is to invest in chic winter coats that ooze elegance, are classically shaped and will protect me from the harsh weather. It’s a small but difficult list yet surprisingly very achievable, with a few perfect coats ticking every box. The funnel coat is one of these style saviours.
If there were to be a coat fit for a modern princess, its the funnel. Carrying a royal vibe, the funnel coat oozes sophistication with it’s tailored cut and belted waist to compliment every wearer. Choose one with shawl lapels for a graceful touch, in a softer colour such as snow white, sky blue or mink, like I have, and you can easily reach that fairytale romantic look with just one item.
This coat will stand the tests of time through its impressive traits; snuggly and fairly light, the funnel offers protection through the colder months, making it the perfect investment. It’s easy to style, will always keep you warm and still keeps your look feminine and polished. Moreover, as it holds a sweet softness, the funnel coat excels in lighter, muted shades and thus, if you’re anything like myself and favour black, this is a great piece to choose to add some colour into your wardrobe.
The most important feature for any investment piece is versatility and the funnel coat has plenty. I’ve seen it compliment casual looks with blue denim jeans and boots, fun printed skirts, refined workwear and of course, a chic party look as exhibited through this guide. It’s essentially the ruler of every typical outfit, elevating every look to gracefully elegant, skilfully mastering my ladylike love and reaching that ‘modern princess aesthetic’. It’s really no surprise, this expert piece made it on my list, now is there?
Rule #1 – Choose a funnel coat with shawl lapels in a soft shade that oozes ethereal romance to make you feel like royalty
Choose three colours
The easiest way to make timeless clothes feel lifeless is by wearing the wrong colours. Timeless style doesn’t only mean bland colours such as greys, blacks and other neutrals. Unless, you love neutrals, like myself, you’re not going to find a high success rate with curating a timeless party outfit that you love. Instead, you need to find a colour palette that is personal to you. After all, timeless is another word for personal and that means stepping away from trends and embracing your authentic self.
Your colour palette for a timeless outfit is best when you choose three complimentary colours. De la soul was on to something when they said it was the magic number. It’s high enough that you’ll just skip the town of yawn and add interest to you look but low enough that you’re not going to overdo it. You can then start mixing different shades in one of your colours, as I’ve done here; a dusty rose dress, and a pale pink bag. I’ve then pulled out the grey from the mink coat with my grey boots and deepened the look with black tights.
My biggest tip is to choose one colour and two neutrals for an undertone of elegance and achieve ultimate timelessness. Neutrals and muted colours over bold and bright tend to be at the fashion fore front of fast trends, so this can be harder to accomplish. However, it is still achievable by sticking to the equation of one colour and two neutrals that do not clash.
Rule #2 – Opt for three complimentary colours. Stick to a colour palette of similar tones and colour block your outfit adding one patterned piece for an added intricate interest.
The fit and flare mini dress
Dresses are the #1 ditched piece when it hits the cold weather but if you have the feminine flare, like myself, then the dress is your go-to. Personally, I feel my best self when wearing a darling dress. Therefore, I will always find a way to wear one, no matter what the season. Moreover, in my eyes, a party outfit isn’t a party outfit without a chic dress and a mini fit and flare takes the birthday cake (or whatever type of party it is) .
For many, a mini fit and flare is risky and unpredictable in the windy weather, Autumn graces us with, but I find wearing any jacket that is longer than hip length resolves the issue by keeping the dress down. Once you’re indoors and partying away, your concerns will cease to exist. (Unless there’s a fan on the floor and you’re left to do a Marilyn Monroe, then you’re on your own.)
Notably, the mini dress isn’t always seen as a timeless piece as it can quit easily fall into the skimpy section. Of course, there is nothing wrong with showing a little flesh but it’s not likely you’ll favour this look in five years time. Moreover, I’m a big believer of ‘leaving it to the imagination’ and personally prefer a piece that is more demure. To tackle this, I find a one tone dress with minimal detailing to transform the mini length to a timeless classic. A fit and flare shape is universally flattering and adds a tasteful touch of flirtiness which is perfect for a party. Further enhanced by a sweetheart neckline which gives a romantic graceful look, the dress I am wearing has all the qualities for the timeless style seeker.
Rule #3 – A mini dress with a sweetheart neckline is the perfect flirty piece for a party and still achieves timeless chic. Choose one with minimal detail and a demure neckline to take you through a decade of classy celebrations.
Small sparkling accessories
Sparkles and glitter are the defining qualities for a party but I believe that there’s a fine line when it comes to your outfit. You really can have too much of a good thing. Despite being a magpie, I find that going overboard with the sparkle can result in the opposite of what you were probably striving for and cheapening your whole outfit.
Timeless fashion is adjacent to tasteful choices and opting for a sparkling accessory over a piece of clothing is going to be your successor. Glittery clothing can be fun to wear but the likelihood of this item being classed as wearable is very slim. Moreover, glitter and sequins are very hard to pull of without looking tacky and they can look dated very quickly. A truly timeless wardrobe equates to your own personal style with items which you can see yourself wearing for years into the future and can be alternated with other pieces you have invested in. Unless you can imagine wearing those gold glittered pants more than seven times, with in the first year of purchasing them, you’re not only wasting your money and adding clutter to your closet, but you’re also adding to the already problematic waste issue of the planet.
I personally find it is much wiser to invest in high quality, sparkling accessories such as a diamond necklace, a crystal hair clip (like the one I’m wearing), or even some embellished heels or sparkling clutch. These items are never going to age and can be added to an abundance of various outfits, making them a great investment. Moreover, they can easily dress up any look and gracefully elevates your outfits with delicate ease. Adding a touch of glitter with a shimmering eyeshadow and some glowing highlighter works well as another discrete tactic. Just make sure not to overdo it and allow your beautiful soul to shine through.
Rule #4 – Keep your outfit amidst of sparkle and add it in discreetly with an accessory which you can add to various other outfits with ease. You don’t want to take away from your glowing personality.
A pair of black lace or patterned tights are like the peanut butter to my jam. They instantly elevate any outfit, adding a discrete seductive feel that no other item can achieve. Versatile and elegant, the lace tight is a timeless staple any woman can fall in love with. Not only do they add dimension to any ensemble, they work wonderfully as a transitional piece from Summer to Autumn. As Autumn in the U.K can be unpredictable with constant shifts from clear skys and sunshine to cold winds and rain, the lace tight gives a perfect balance of protection from the low temperatures without being too warm if the sun decides to make an appearance. This all-purpose piece fits into looks fit for both work and play and makes a classic statement. Consequently, becoming the best piece in your wardrobe for Autumn party wear. If you’re celebrating straight after work, all you need to do is wear a pair of patterned tights, then change your shoes and dress, or skirt and blouse, once the clock hits 5pm you are ready to go.
The lace tight can be intimidating to many and too much detail in the rest of your outfit can take away from the natural elegance a pair of patterned stockings naturally exudes. My ultimate style secret is keeping the rest of your look minimal from textures and choosing one tonal pieces, as I have done here. Using a pair of patterned tights to separate the colour blocking and allow them room to breathe, will achieve a more refined and timeless look. See how I’ve chosen small delicate accessories, such as the bulldog clip and dainty jewellery, as the tights already add a lot of detail? One statement piece is enough.
It is also best to choose a pair in black, as this is perceived as more sophisticated and should work well with any outfit. For an idea on which patterns, I personally favour classic feminine designs such as hearts and polka dot prints and floral lace or prints.
Rule #5 – Colour block your outfit and use a pair of black lace or pattern tights to elevate your look and add more interest.
Swap out your pumps
I really can’t resist a cute pair of high heels and there really is no better time to bring those babies out of the closet than when the party poppers are snapping. However, most heel choices lack practicality for the cold weather and unless it’s the grand New Years Eve or Christmas Day, I’m not putting up with my toes turning into ice cubes. Thankfully there is an alternative; the ankle boot, and there really is no better time to bring out the chic ankle boot, than Autumn.
Rule #6 – Opt for heeled ankle boots over a pair of pumps to still achieve that empowering, elegant look without making your feet suffer from the cold.
Do you have any rules you’ve created for creating a timeless party outfit in Autumn?