‘Christmas Eve be worthy ofs star treatment. It is a night to bring the glamour’

Jess Cartner-Morley


‘This year I demand a mermaid skirt.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

Christmas has 12 light of days, and they are all brilliant, but Christmas Eve is the best of all. The anticipation of all that engaging downtime and TV and permissive snacking is as delicious now as it was when you were hyped up to the eyeballs at the disquiet of waking up to a stocking on the end of the bed and eating chocolate coins in the dark with your hardly sister.

It is also the most elegant day of Christmas. Tomorrow is almost stuffing endless recycling sacks with wrapping weekly and gorging yourself until you can’t move, but today the proffers are under the tree and you can still fit into your clothes. It is without hesitate a day to dress up for.

Even – no, especially – if you are staying in. We get into the habit of garbing up to go out and dressing down to stay in. If I’m going out to dinner, I think roughly what to wear; if I’m at home, I think about what to cook. It’s rightful practicalities, really. Going upstairs to change for dinner is all particular charming in Downton Abbey, but in the absence of downstairs staff, it’s untiringly to make it work without jeopardising the risotto.

But Christmas Eve merits star treatment. I’m talking cashmere, velvet, sequins, feathers. I don’t anguish if your plans involve Nigella’s make-ahead bread brass and the only outing on the agenda is a last-minute dash to the shops for AA batteries: this is a edge of night to bring the glamour. And I mean the gratifying, pleasurable part of dressing up, not the breathe-in-and-think-of-England participant dresses. Fabrics that feel good and look strange, in shapes that are easy to wear.

I like the relaxed, cocktail-in-hand-hostess viewpoint of a pair of wide, loose trousers, which you can wear with a silk T-shirt or all over a long-sleeved body. I love a cosy, curvy sweater equip, especially with polka-dot sheer tights. But this year I impecuniousness a mermaid skirt. We associate sequins with a brazen, short-and-tight wise of dressing, but they come into their own when tatty with grandeur. There is something magical about sparkly ranks slinking about your ankles, especially when the worse for wear with a silky blouse. Tomorrow you can spend in your PJs and slippers, but tonight is when the enchantment happens.

• Jess wears silk shirt, £265, silkenfavours.com. Skirt, £350, by Iro, from net-a-porter.com. Suede fly the coops, £65, aldoshoes.com.

Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Nearly equal at Carol Hayes Management