Susie Rushton: My festive sartorial diktat: wear anything so long as it's not red. Or sparkly

Notebook: Make your excuses and scarper early, because it's always later than you think

Share
Related Topics

I've been on a four-a-week regime for the past month. I don't mean gingerbread lattes, nor gym sessions, but something more fattening and tiring: Christmas parties. Some of these might have been civilised sit-down dinners in a pub, others were raucous stand-up-then-fall-over gatherings in bars, but either way, it's been a gruelling schedule.

Quite apart from the season's physical demands (from keeping the broken loo door closed with one heeled foot to sawing through a plate of marble-hard Brussels sprouts), the marathon is socially and emotionally taxing. On one long journey home last week, I formulated my own rules for survival. It really is no good to simply throw yourself into "the spirit"; you've got to be organised.

So, first of all, what to wear. There is only one thing to bear in mind on this subject, and it concerns the colour red. A surprising number of revellers still insist on a Special Red Outfit – clingy scarlet dress for women, questionable claret-coloured velvet jacket for men, tomato-coloured jumper for either – reserved for the season. This is like co-ordinating your outfit with the Christmas tree. So my only diktat on this is: wear anything – nobody notices really, it's too dark – so long as it's not red. Or sparkly, obviously.

Second, how far to travel. The Christmas party is rarely located conveniently (unless you're the organiser, in which case you've booked it at your local, obviously) so set a personal roaming limit. This year, I'm not going to anything that means I have to listen to a cabbie's Magic FM festive playlist for more than 20 minutes. Remember, this isn't about a one-off night out; December is a series of discrete expeditions, and energy must be budgeted if you're to go the distance.

Next, one for the wine snobs. At larger parties, you can still turn up empty-handed, although austere budgets are making these happy events less common. More intimate festive dinner parties bring into sharp focus what is, in truth, a year-round problem: how to get the host to actually open that carefully selected chardonnay you bought, rather than see it hidden away in a cupboard as you endure the "special mull". Last week, Anthony Rose, this newspaper's revered wine correspondent, offered me a good tip for the whites: "Make sure the bottle is really, really chillled, so that it's blindingly obvious that it's ready to drink right now." And red? As with the rule on jumpers, take any nice bottle so long as it's not red – save that for your night off.

Lastly: make your excuses and scarper early, because it's always later than you think. That's shortly after dessert for a seated meal, or, for a drinks party, just as Ms Scarlet Dress and Mr Claret Jacket have begun their inadvisable smooch. In fact, this year I've made it a personal ambition to be the first to leave. You'll be scorned for quitting so soon, but don't forget all tomorrow's parties...

 

Can't we have a Bond who is not Daniel?

Will Daniel Craig beat Roger Moore's record to become the longest-serving Bond? He will if franchise producer Michael G Wilson has anything to do with it – he said at the weekend that he wants Craig to do five more Bond films, taking his total to eight. Whether the hulking blond can bring as much amusement to the role in his entire 007 career that Moore's right eyebrow delivered in a single movie is up for debate, but then the current Bond is stuck in a rather humourless, not to mention sexless, place.

Maybe that's why the makers of Skyfall, next year's installment, hope to "take it back to the 60s, a more Sean feel". If the idea is to rejuvenate the films with a little of the irony and sex appeal of the originals, perhaps Wilson should consider giving another British actor a chance. How about a weird and wiry spy played by Benedict Cumberbatch? Or an alluring, sardonic one, portrayed by Dominic West? Even the (surely unintentionally) hilarious Jason Statham would deliver more entertainment than another five years of Craig's moody brawn.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts

Björt Ólafsdóttir
 

Daily catch-up: opening round in the election contest of the YouTube videos

John Rentoul
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor