Christmas is not the right time to be understated. I love sequins and glitter.
A scene in Spencer, Pablo Larrain’s cinematic fable stars Kristen Stewart as the unhappy princess trapped in a cold Christmas castle. In which Diana’s wardrobe is wheeled on racks to her suite, there is also a scene. There are dresses for dinner, suits for lunches and a hat for the church. Sally Hawkins plays Diana’s dresser and groans under the weight, as if she is dragging an old grand piano.
Even civilians are not likely to be seen posing in Chanel skirt suits by the trees. Insufficiently groomed people can cause a diplomatic crisis. Diana is warned. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t rules. The rules for Christmas dressing are rooted in tradition and ritual. They may be expressed in terms of manners or in language that encourages the holiday spirit. Everyone at your table should wear the appropriate tiara, even if it is the wrong colour.
No matter if it’s novelty sweaters or tartan pajamas, Christmas clothes are just as eccentric as any other time.
This year, I’m all in for festive fashion. I will be wearing a lot of Pushkin-inspired knitwear and tight-laced boots for any outdoor seasonal activity, including gift shopping at Christmas markets or just taking a hot chocolate in a red cup. It doesn’t matter that I am in London, not St Petersburg, or that I haven’t been on an ice rink in 20 years. I’m dressed in black velvet, Wolford tights and a pair of Wolford socks, as if I were going to the ballet, if there’s anything Christmassy at the theatre.
No matter if it’s novelty sweaters or tartan pajamas, Christmas clothes are unlike any other time. Christmas is a time when we are able to escape the humdrum of 21st century life by listening to carols and being scented with gingerbread. Our Christmas Day outfits with velvet, ribbons, feathers, and textured knits are the best of modern Sunday life.
Even if Christmas is something you love as much as me, it’s a difficult time of the year. Christmas Day can be a long one. Children can get very excited about Christmas Day, even though it’s still dark outside. When you’re cooking, it can feel like an endless to-do list that goes on until teatime. It is difficult to choose between the desire to appear glamorous or the need to get some fresh air. There is a choice between the lures of the afternoon movie and the scattered wrapping paper and satsuma bark. Someone needs to keep the book tokens safe. Do we have enough AA batteries?
Fashion, like the rest of Christmas, is a chaotic time. It’s best to be calm and embrace it. You can wear glittery tights and a sequin skirt. Absolutely. Why not wear pyjamas with high heels or jewellery? You should. You don’t want to be too casual. For a day when you have to get the Lego wotsit out of the house quickly, a fitted black dress with high heels is not the best choice. Comfortable clothes and flats, adorned with colour and sparkle, are a practical choice. What do I know? Every front door is different. Christmas is different. But everyone has to wear the ridiculous paper hat.