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Christmas party season! Sequins and sparkles or slick and expensive?

Designer Tabitha Webb and blogger Emily Johnston are fashion-loving friends who don’t always see eye to eye. As we plunge into Christmas party season, how will our columnists be celebrating – and most importantly, what will they be wearing – strutting their stuff in sequins and sparkle, or slipping into something slick and expensive?

For US-born, London-based blogger Emily Johnston, Christmas isn’t a time to hold back. She loves the merry-go-round of parties, bubbles and bling.

The sparkly lights have all gone on, the smell of mulled wine is in the air and the anxious shoppers of Oxford Street have begun their pushing and shoving in their hunt for the perfect gift. Yes, it’s Christmas time in London and it’s one of the city’s most beautiful times of year. It’s also one of the craziest. You can already spot the office Christmas parties as they walk through the West End or spill out from pubs, pints in hand. It is indeed the season to be merry.

I am not shut in at Christmas, not by any means. I’ll go to the opening of a jolly Christmas card. No joke. And when it comes to dressing for the season with no curfew, I go all out. Doing this on a designer level can be difficult, so the British high street becomes my best friend around the holidays. Bring out your designer classics – a great tuxedo jacket, the perfect-fitting black pant or the oversized silk blouse – and pair them with high street sequins, velvet, fringe, leather and more. I shop Asos, M&S, Topshop, H&M and Zara for the “bling factor”. Go as loud as you can, then bring it down a notch with the designer staple. Jourdan Dunn illustrated this technique perfectly when she stepped out wearing a Topshop sequinned skirt with a Burberry leather jacket.

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For Londoners looking to get into the Christmas spirit, these places will instantly put you in the festive mood: Claridge’s, Liberty, Bond Street, skating at Somerset House, the Rooftop Winter Cinema at The Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge, then a quick stroll and into Harrods. If that doesn’t work, well I guess you’re just a big old Scrooge.

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For British designer Tabitha Webb, Christmas isn’t a time to get carried away in a sea of sequins; she’d prefer to party in some seriously stylish investment pieces.

I love Christmas. Well, I love the idea of Christmas. Nothing makes my heart sing more than looking forward to snowflakes drifting lazily from the sky as I rush from nativities to carol services to glamorous drinks parties. The problem? Real Christmas mostly isn’t anything like our dream Christmas. And nothing makes that point more firmly than the average Christmas party. It won’t be snowing, it will be raining. You won’t arrive humming Jingle Bells, no – you’ll be cold, tired, damp and desperate to get home to sort the kids’ Christmas stockings out, or to watch Elf in front of the fire. Bah humbug.

Well I have good news. There is a way to make things more like they should be. And that is to wear proper party clothes. I don’t mean glitzy and sparkly. And I don’t mean uncomfortable. No mini skirts. No knee-high boots. And please, no sexy Santa outfits. More cool investment clothes that are nearly like self gifting, as we all know Christmas is for sharing…

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So if I had all the money in the world and a bottom like Gigi Hadid’s I would slip into a pair of Balmain’s leather biker trousers, coupled with a Self-Portrait lace ruffle top the likes of which are often seen on Lily Collins and Jessica Biel. I might even throw on one of my own green silk swan shirts. Pair this with LK Bennett’s Evangelia haircalf courts in leopard, throw on a Ba&sh Onour furry coat and you have an outfit that will see you through from office party to karaoke.

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Suddenly Christmas becomes fun and if someone gifted me a few days of R&R at Soho Farmhouse, I reckon I could kick off 2017 in style.

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