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Forget the novelty jumper – this year, it’s easier than ever to do Christmas in style

Last year, my partner and I decided to host Christmas at our place for both of our families for the first time. It was also the first time our parents were meeting. The stakes were high, and we went into maximum meticulous planning mode to make sure everything ran smoothly.

What I forgot to plan was what I would wear. I picked out a Christmas jumper which, as soon as we’d squeezed in all eight people and switched on the oven, turned out to be completely impractical. Within 30 minutes, I was encased in a mohair sauna of my own making and had to change

This is the thing with dressing for Christmas: you want something that’ll make you feel festive, but to truly enjoy the party spirit, you also need to be comfortable. While many men (me included) default to a fuzzy knit as their key Christmas wardrobe update, if you’re hosting guests on the big day, it’s a good idea to invest in a new shirt – something that’ll keep you cool, whether you’re stationed at the oven or in a constant loop of drinks refilling.

It’s best to go for a pattern, too – it will keep you looking good, and if you’re up and down all day (you know how physical charades can get), any creases from such activity will be much better disguised on a shirt with a check or floral print.

“This is the thing with dressing for Christmas: you want something that’ll make you feel festive, but to truly enjoy the party spirit, you also need to be comfortable.”

But if you’re concerned that you might get chilly in the evening, the knit I’d suggest would be either a plain cardigan to layer over your shirt or a fine-gauge roll-neck in a solid complementary colour you can slip under it.

Navy or black are usually best, but, hey, it’s Christmas – if there’s ever a time to choose dark green or burgundy knitwear, this is it.

Of course, at this time of year, you’ll almost certainly attend some sort of social gathering that’ll require you to look a bit smarter, whether that’s a full-on black-tie formal event or cocktails at a friend’s house. This season, the way to mix things up at the dressier end of the spectrum is to invest in a contrast blazer. Texture was everywhere at the men’s AW17 shows, with velvet and soft corduroy being the designers’ key materials of choice for winter tailoring.

Look out for tactile fabrics in rich, jewel-like colours, such as emerald or garnet (or even a pattern if you’re feeling brave), and wear with classic black suit trousers and a plain bow tie, or black jeans and a black crew-neck T-shirt. In short, it’s an instantly decadent, luxurious upgrade for any festive celebration you happen to be headed to – and what could be more Christmasappropriate than that?