There are certain occasions in life that bring out the larger-than-life size fashion gesture in even the most sensible dresser.
Christmas is one such occasion and I'd like to think that even Inès de la Fressange wears a gold paper hat over her turkey dinner on that day, with her fine-gauge, V-neck cashmere knit, cigarette pants and paper-flat pumps, of course. And, yes, I am aware of the fact that the Inès de la Fressange turkey dinner scenario is a leap too far.
Endearingly, at least some people have a Christmas outfit that they bring out year after year, safe in the knowledge that a) there's a certain bonhomie to be had when friends and family cry: "Aaah, it's your Christmas shirt", warm in the (red and green) glow of its familiarity and b) because obviously they wouldn't be seen dead in it any other day of their lives.
A well-organised friend has not one but two of these lurking at the back of her wardrobe. One suits a rustic family Christmas; the other a more metropolitan experience. While dressed in jeans and skinny sweaters 364 days of the year, on 25 December she wears either her "Christmas jumper" (think chunky-knit and covered in snowflakes) or "a dark dress and my Christmas jacket". The latter is cut from black and gold velvet which, in terms of her signature style, is a maximal aberration of unprecedented proportions.
I've been through several Christmas looks myself before settling on my personal favourite. There was the default black jumper, black jeans Christmas look, accessorised only with red patent ballerinas (Repetto for Comme des Garcons – there are certain standards) and a red handbag tied at each corner in a festive bow. That, however, I have now decided, is vanilla. I still wear jeans – blue boyfriend fit ones, the better to accommodate a swollen waistline – but with a tomato red Alexander McQueen sweater, emblazoned with a portrait of a four-legged friend who bares more than a passing resemblance to my own, Wolfie, and made all the more celebratory by the fact that he has an oversized bejewelled safety pin strategically placed through his sweet little nose.