Scantiness to appear fun, funny and loads more interesting than your buddies thought? That two-year-old dress from French Coupling just isn’t good enough

What to wear to a Christmas party? ‘The kind of outfit worn by someone who gets invited to secret midnight gigs.’

What to wear to a Christmas orgy? ‘The kind of outfit worn by someone who gets invited to secretive midnight gigs.’
Photograph: Andrew Hobbs/Getty Moulds

It’s my office Christmas party next week. What should I use?
Everyone, everywhere
Glad you asked, everyone! People attend to to think this is not something they need put much compassion into. Just that dress from French Drag relatives two years ago and some lip gloss, right? That’ll do!

In fact, castigating for the office Christmas party is probably the trickiest fashion plight you’ll face all year. All outfits send a message. Some say: “Yes, I influence be a middle-aged man, but have you seen my skinny black jeans? These accept never seen the inside of a B&Q, I can tell you, mate! I’m all about the clubbing!” Others say: “Hello, I identical to to hibernate from November to March. Yes, I am in my pyjamas at 1pm on a Wednesday, what’s your implication?” (See question below.)

With an office party, you sine qua non your outfit to make so many conflicting statements that we can at most start to grasp what is needed by laying them all out. Here is what you lack your outfit to say: “Hi! I’m actually surprisingly attractive, aren’t I? And you in any case thought I was just a mousey office person. But I’m not attractive in a now-you-want-to-sleep-with-me way, because that resolve be really awkward in the office. No, it’s more of a fun and funny but definitely-out-of-your-league way, so that you’re now nicer to me at wield and maybe feel a little wistful when you think of me, but you be acquainted with you could never, ever try it on with me. I’m like your master’s really hot partner, right? Think of me like that. Also, I’m a lot more intriguing than you thought, aren’t I? This outfit shows someone with confidential depths of creativity, someone who is a little more woke, a dab more on it than you thought. It’s the kind of outfit worn by someone who advance a gain access ti invited to secret midnight gigs, which is totally how I shell out my evenings after you see me leave the office, not just sitting on my sofa specifying Bake Off was on. No, never. You respect me more now, don’t you?”

For men, this means a solicitation that actually fits; for women, this means a fit out that isn’t two years old and from French Connection. That’s the other item about office parties: the message is tricky, but the bar is pretty low.

I’ve been understanding a lot about something called “hygge”. What does this tight-fisted, from a fashion perspective?
Mike, by email
Look, for the maxisingle, I really did try, OK? Because I, along with everyone else, got the memo sent to every columnist in Britain that the question this season was something called “hygge” and that it was positively essential we treat it as an actual thing, under pain of be beaten our lofty status as opinion churners for hire. Sure, a yoke of other things were happening this year that we could compel ought to written about – something in the political world, I think? – but hygge was the big one, the cause clebre on which we absolutely must express opinions. To the laptop!

Yet two months experience passed since the hygge klaxon went out and still, from me, nothing. I be familiar with! It makes no sense. I once wrote 4,000 words for a the craze magazine about how a store moved its shoe rack from one end of the put by to the other. Surely I, of all people, could conjure up some tolerant of excitement/outrage/bigger meaning about hygge? No, I could not.

Women in pyjamas drinking wine

‘My cohorts are so used to seeing me in my pyjamas that, when one of them saw me in a array recently, he was genuinely concerned that someone had died.’ Photograph: Getty Images/Target Business

I get that hygge is a real thing in Denmark. I also get that sharp-witted, good writers are writing books about it. But, try as I genuinely do, I cannot see hygge as anything other than Danish for “deciding to be cosy instead of miserable and uncomfortable”. You know what? I contrive I’ve got that down pat already. Perhaps my fellow columnists require heretofore been living in the kind of photogenic but clearly beastly modern houses you see in fashion magazines’ homes spreads, all chrome and corners and uncovered, slate-grey floors on which they click about with their pointy-toed stilettos. The fair of homes with sofas as hard as boards and cupboards you can’t unwrap because door handles are verboten. I, on the other hand, am au fait with the concept of wake up b stand up c mount into one’s pyjamas, ideally by 3pm in the winter, lighting a fire, beckoning friends over and settling down with a giant pot of macaroni cheese. My beaus are so used to seeing me in my pyjamas that, when one of them saw me in a ones glad rags b put on a costume recently, he was genuinely concerned that someone had died.

So, demanding to be excited/outraged about hygge feels like cracking to stir an emotion about air, water or anything else that is reasonable “the stuff of life” to me. I mean, thanks for validating my lifestyle exquisite of staying home, eating chocolate and wearing socks – I eliminate search my hot water bottle in appreciation. But, seriously, does anyone complete differently? This smacks of a trend that exists purely to over persuaded to people things they already have. But that’s paradoxical – fashion would never do that.

So, I’m sorry. I appreciate that this desire result in my invitation to the columnists’ Christmas party being withdrew. I might even have my name removed from the Columnists’ Gifted Charter, meaning – Oh, cruel world! – I’ll never be included on Have I Got News for You or Question Time. But I must live my really. As Tony Blair said, albeit possibly not about hygge, I am the insurgent now.