Wham songs are playing, disco balls are spinning and your local pub has been transformed into tinsel town, which can only mean one thing - the search for 2009's star party frock is on.

It's that time of year when even the most die-hard tomboys want to pull out their best dress.

Trophy jackets and trousers might be having a moment but nothing says party season-ready like a slinky dress to hit the dancefloors.

This season, there's something to suit every party animal, from devilishly dark LBDs to 80s-style Madonna-esque cocktail frocks.

Ditch the 9 to 5 uniforms and get rocking around the Christmas tree with your perfect party dress.

Dark diva

Every girl needs a little black dress in their wardrobe. With infinite wow factor potential, a black dress can be reinvented season after season by vamping it up with high octane accessories.

For an on-trend LBD, give a nod to gothic glamour with a lace-panelled number or dazzle with a hint of embellishment. Steely grey is a flattering dark alternative.

Try: Monsoon Originals black Dolly dress, £150; Miss Selfridge grey mesh prom dress, £60; Matalan Et Vous black bow dress £30; Wallis black bubble hem embellished dress, £70.


If you hate the idea of drowning in a sea of predictable party dresses, an eye-popping print or uber-bright colour is your fashion lifebuoy.

Flaunting a full-on shade or stand-out print requires serious attitude to pull it off with conviction. You can always tone down the show-off stakes with a black blazer and black tights.

Try: Oli Fusion by PPQ hot pink prom dress, £70; ASOS Premium Cornelli red bandeau dress, £65; South at Very cosmic swirl print dress, £40; Jane Norman zebra print tulip dress, £35.

Classic lady

When ostentatious outfits leave you uninspired and you prefer to go cold turkey on following trends, turn to classic dress styles in luxe fabrics like satin, silk and velvet that accentuate your body's curves.

Dolce & Gabbana-style corset dresses will really suck you in and show off your figure. To really turn heads try a floor-length column maxi - but watch your step on the dancefloor.

Try: Per Una at M&S pewter velvet dress, £79.50; TK Maxx satin corset dress, from £19.99; Monsoon satin Belisama dress, £120; French Connection floor-length silk dress, £140.

Disco queen

Sequins are the way forward if you want to sparkle under the spotlights. Opt for long-sleeved styles for a more grown-up feel.

Avoid looking like you've been raiding the Strictly Come Dancing wardrobe department by toughening up super-sparkly minis with shoe boots or fierce gladiator heels.

Try: Warehouse purple sequin mini dress, £100; French Connection multicoloured sequin dress, £190; Wallis George sparkly mini dress, £16; Debenhams Butterfly by Matthew Williamson swirl sequin dress, £120.

Dress reinvention

When pocket money is tight for splashing out on party dresses, there's a multitude of tricks you can use to transform last year's favourite frock.

Celebrity stylist Kirsty Drury, who has joined forces with Wonderbra (www.ultimatestrapless.co.uk), shares her updating tips:

- Look for 'of-the-moment' costume jewellery, bags, tights and belts to update your dress from season to season and keep it bang on trend.

- Rework a strapless dress by layering on an assortment of glam necklaces in the same colour palette as your dress. Raid your jewellery box and pile them on - more is definitely more with this look.

- If your dress is short, start the night by teaming it up with an oversized suit jacket. If you haven't got one, head to a charity shop and pick up a man's double breasted tuxedo on the cheap. The contrast of mannish suit jacket with dainty dress underneath is very sexy.

- Buy a couple of metres of velvet ribbon two to three inches wide in the same colour as your dress. Make an oversized bow and sew the ends onto the bodice of your dress and you have a brand new one shoulder number.

- If you worked your trusty dress last year with bare legs, this season go for solid opaque or lace tights finished off with on-trend ankle boots.