Add some va-voom to winter party time
You may, of course, have splashed the cash on something sensational for partying: a new frock, a pair of ankle-skimming trousers or a tulle skirt and a sleek tuxedo (inspired, of course, by last week's partywear). If that is the case, you will be urgently seeking the perfect shoes, bag, bangle, cuff, earrings and necklace to accompany them.
But if you have decided that, in this age of austerity, you will forego a new frock, then rocking some fashion jewellery, a pair of stunning shoes or a stylish handbag are exactly the way to ramp up the glamour quotient without spending a lot.
Fierce, killer-heel ankle boots or cage shoes are not only perfect with a pair of ankle-length trousers, but are essential to give an edgy look to a frou-frou skirt or party frock, which can otherwise be a bit saccharine. Among our favourites are various black suede pairs on dizzyingly high heels by Azzedine Alaia (at Browns and Matches); a sublime blue studded shoe boot by Bionda Castana (£495, Browns) and black snake-skin babies at LK Bennett (£195).
Alternatively, a pair of sky-high courts will make your legs look longer, and are equally effective with a pretty skirt or ankle-skimming trousers. In the latter case, bare legs only under those trousers - pop-sox or tights will kill the look. Especially desirable is Christian Louboutin's lace-look stiletto, £455 , a nude lace pump by Alexander McQueen, £525, (both at Brown's) and a lace, platform pump at Barratt's (£35); which all rock winter's favourite fabric, lace.
If you can't go the killer-heel route (or are not prepared to down two Nurofen before you leave home), there are alternatives: Lanvin, not normally known for comfort over style, has stunning suede mid-heel shoe boots (£500, Browns), while ballerina flats are pretty, decorative and comfy. Most glamorous, and in the biggest variety of styles, colours and finishes - and with lots of sexy toe cleavage on show - are by French Sole. For something flat but edgier, Louboutin has studded flats (£625 at Browns).
A cool clutch or small, chain-handle satchel is the other vital party accessory. Two of the most covetable include Mulberry's Ava, a large, suede envelope clutch with rivets (£495) and Lily, with chain-handle in a lovely gold metallic. We are also in lust with the iridescent clutch from French Sole, as well as every one of Wilbur & Gussie's silk envelope clutch bags, and the fringed, sequined beauties at Angel Jackson.
And while serious jewellery can be lovely, a bold, statement fashion piece can often work better. Some of the best are at Topshop, River Island and New Look, mostly at under £20 a throw.
Fenwick's Bond Street leads the way among department stores for on-trend pieces, with John Lewis (Oxford Street, Brent Cross and Newcastle) close behind thanks to their cache of sublime vintage pieces. In Manchester, Selfridges is the perfect fashion-jewellery hunting ground; in Leeds, it's Harvey Nichols.
The key to fabulousness with costume jewellery is a bold shape in the right proportion for you and in a colour that suits your skintone. Choose one great piece near your face - chandelier earrings or a dramatic necklace, never both - and wear with an unfussy neckline.
If you are crave real jewellery at "fashion" prices, Ernest Jones has a clever new collection of stylish, sterling silver-and-diamond rings, earrings and cuffs. Ravishingly pretty pieces (think Boodles at budget prices) cost £175 to £399.