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 Get a feel for luxe textures



Dress up in this season’s plush velvets, metallics and an array of tactile fabrics

The Guardian's Fashion Editor
Jess Cartner-Morley

For me, when counting up the joys of Christmas, what to wear is right up there with what to eat. Clothes are not quite as deliciously exciting as food, of course, but they run a close second. I get even more pleasure out of planning my wardrobe than I do thinking about what decorations I can buy for the tree or marking up the TV guide (yup, still doing that).

The best kind of Christmas clothes are the ones that are fabulous, not just to look at, but to feel against your skin. The plush pile of velvet, mermaid-like layers of sequins, super-soft cashmere, delicate silk, a nubble of glittery tweed… Christmas fashion is a sensory experience.

Just as you switch your bland daily sandwich for an indulgent Christmas special, studded with cranberries and oozing stuffing, you can switch up the no-frills utility of easy-care workwear for knitwear with feathers at the cuff and glittering tights. Adding drama to your clothes with texture and embellishment is more indulgent – and surely more Christmassy – than squeezing into a corset dress.

Velvet comes into its own at Christmas: it’s grand at social occasions, yet intimate and strokable when you're squished onto the sofa for the Boxing Day film. Red is always festive, and this winter it’s the catwalk colour of the season, so red velvet is a double win. Metallics – disco-ball silver, precious gold – are perfect if you want to add an element of fun without going down the novelty-jumper route.

The LBD is the fashion equivalent of the traditional turkey dinner. A safe, unassailable choice that you fall back on most years, and happily so. But every now and again, it’s liberating to ring the changes. This could be the Christmas that you roast a rib of beef instead of a turkey; or it could be the year you wear a jumpsuit instead of a dress for your big night out.

And while I am a staunch believer in dressing up for Christmas Day itself – you spent half an hour getting ready for the annual reunion drinks with your NCT girls, so why would you not make an effort for your favourite people in the whole world? – a formal dress can feel a little twee. A pair of slim velvet trousers and a silk blouse are a stylish alternative. Christmas chic can be whatever you want it to be. OK, except a novelty jumper. That’s a miracle too far, even for Santa.