Work has just finished for the day and you're raring to hit that Christmas party, but you look like - well, frankly, as though you're about to go to a meeting with your boss. This is the perennial problem with going out straight from the office - there are few of us with the determination (or the funds) to go home and change into a different number every time we hit the town.

There are certain easy ways, however, to make that transition from day to evening. Most important is to keep it simple - you need only a few key items. A sequin top and belt can add va-va-voom to an everyday suit. An embroidered evening coat over a simple shift dress is ideal if the event is more formal. Even changing your hosiery can make a difference. Pretty Polly's party legs 2000 are gorgeously glittery diamond tights - much more exciting than plain black.

Plan in advance. It's one thing to visualise an outfit but you should try it on before the party night just in case it doesn't work (it has been known to happen). Finally, don't forget that underwear that's suitable for the office may not always work with your slinky evening outfit. Apart from the infamous VPL, the wrong bra can leave unattractive marks - unsightly when you're wearing your favourite delicate beaded vest top.

Black glitter shift dress (sizes 8-16), pounds 169, Austin Reed, 103- 113 Regent Street, London W1 (tel: 0800 585 479). Grey jacket with three- quarter-length sleeves (sizes 10-16), pounds 59.99. Magenta and gold scarf, pounds 21.99, both River Island, 283 Oxford Street London W1 (tel: 0181 991 4759)

Black dress, as before. Embroidered silk jacket (sizes 10-16), pounds 250, Monsoon Twilight, 5 Barkers Arcade, High Street Kensington, London W8 (tel: 0171 313 3000). Black sequinned mules (sizes 3-8), pounds 45, Dune, Freemans (tel: 0800 900 200). Beaded bag pounds 14.99, Accessorize, 123a High Street Kensington, London W8 (tel: 0171 313 3000)

Black silk skirt with gold side seam detail (sizes 8-16), pounds 760, Etro, 14 New Bond Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 495 5767).

Grey funnel-neck sweater (sizes s-l), pounds 65, Joseph, 26 Sloane Street, London SW1 (tel: 0171 590 6200)

Black silk skirt as before. Gold beaded silk top (sizes 10-14), pounds 80, Monsoon Twilight, as before. Black bag with diamante buckle, pounds 215. Black flower sandals, (sizes 3-8), pounds 125, both Russell & Bromley, 24-25 New Bond Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 629 6903)

Photographs by JIM MORRISON Assisted by GWYNETH HOLLAND

Grey trousers, pounds 99, jacket (sizes xs-l), pounds 219, Joseph, 26 Sloane Street, London SW1 (tel: 0171 590 6200). Black sleeveless polo-neck top (sizes 8-14 ), pounds 200, Jasper Conran, Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, London SW1 (tel: 0171 235 5000)

Grey zip jacket, pounds 89.99, and matching skirt (sizes 8-16), pounds 49.99, Inwear, 16-17 Thames Street, Windsor Royal Station. 9-11 St Anne Square,

Manchester (tel: 0181 871 2155). White top with silver pattern (s-l),

pounds 65, Jesire, Fenwick, Bond Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 629 9161)

Grey trousers, as before. Silver quilted top (s-l), pounds 60, French Connection, 249 Regent Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 399 7200). Beaded belt (one size), pounds 89, Cinch. Beaded bag, pounds 179, Spencer & Rutherford, Fenwick, 63 New Bond Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 629 9161). Diamante mules (sizes 3-8), pounds 45, Sacha at Empire (tel: 0800 220 230)

Grey skirt as before. Grey beaded bag pounds 29.95, Nine West, 1 James Street,

Covent Garden, London WC2 (tel: 0171 380 3800). Diamante belt, pounds 45, Fenwick, as before. Burgundy beaded vest (sizes 10-16 ), pounds 39.99, InWear, 9-11 St Anne Square, Manchester (tel: 0181 871 2155)