Get the lowdown on festive partywear here.

It’s a scenario we are all familiar with. With days to go to the office party or the family get-together we suddenly decide we need a new outfit. We make the long journey into town in a seemingly futile quest for the perfect party frock. After hours spent rooting through the rails, we track down every size, colour and shape - apart from the one we want. When we finally find that dress to end all dresses, it is only available in a size zero and in yellow when we wanted black. Even though we know we shouldn’t buy it - and will probably never wear it - the credit card is out.

Take a look at our gallery of gorgeous party frocks here.

There’s nothing worse than panic buying - so my advice is to give yourself a couple of shopping trips so you can browse before you buy. And don't leave it too late. Of course, there’s nothing quite like putting on a fabulous party dress to make you feel stunning and magically confident. And this Christmas, party dresses are more glamorous than ever, with rich purples, pinks and gold’s in shiny satins and glitter - but with so much on offer – what styles should you choose?

Your festive dressing up kit should include at least one glam dress teamed with sky-high heels. This raspberry sequined dress, only €40 from Tesco, will get you noticed, while golden girls will love this sequined mini from Lovarni. Girls with curves look fantastic in a wrap dress, like Marisota’s version here. Black dresses with sequins or a splash of colour are a simple twist on the classic and Debenhams and next have great examples.

Sequins are also great fun, especially during those fancy, formal events. However, there is a bad side to sequins. Some women may think that just because sequins are a huge trend this winter it is okay to go all out, like a shimmering, sparkling glitter bomb. Whether it's a dinner date, cocktails with the girls or an evening at the opera, each requires a certain look - and a lot of careful planning.

You don’t have to limit your sequins to one small accessory; in fact, you can wear an entire dress covered in sequins! But you DO have to know when too much is really too much. A full length dress, clutch, and shoes adorned with sequins will have you looking like a Christmas tree, so remember that a little goes a long way.

Georgina Heffernan