Do you have a diary full of festive lunches, dinners and drinks parties, but an empty wardrobe? Then you’re just like me.
You might imagine someone who began modelling at 16 and is still going strong at 61 would own countless designer outfits. But you’d be wrong.
Four years ago, I auctioned off all of my best pieces by top designers such as Chanel, Ossie Clark and Yves Saint Laurent.
I wasn’t wearing them any more and loved the idea of someone else breathing new life into them.
This feels a little bit Grecian. Get both ties, take them over one shoulder, twist at the back of the neck until you get to the small of your back and then wrap around your waist.
It would look lovely at an informal party with friends. Diagonal lines are lengthening, so this is a good shape for anyone petite. It covers the bust – perfect for women who don’t want to show too much flesh. A brooch pinned to the belt or the shoulder would give the look a bit of extra glamour.
But that means every item I do have in my wardrobe has to work that little bit harder – especially at this time of year when, even though I’m not the party girl I once was, I still have umpteen events in my social calendar.
So well done Marks & Spencer and its ‘flexible party season saviour’ multi-way dress, which they claim will see me through every occasion from Christmas to New Year.
This frock – which comes in navy, gunmetal grey or black, and in sizes six to 18 – has a secret: an in-built bra and two long, jersey ties just below the bust that can transform it into five styles.
You can wear it with demure sleeves for Christmas lunch or a more daring halterneck for cocktails on New Year’s Eve. The concept of a simple, hard-working dress certainly appeals. In contrast to the flamboyant style of my youth, my look is much more pared down these days.
I tend to wear the same thing: a black Vivienne Westwood pencil skirt, which I’ve had for 25 years, with a white shirt or cashmere sweater.
At 61, I accept I’m not going to look like I did in my 20s and 30s, but that doesn’t mean I am going to let things slide. Besides not drinking, smoking or eating meat, I have a good diet and go to the gym four times a week. All of which means my skin looks a lot brighter and fresher.
For this look, you pull the ties sideways and up over your shoulder, then loop them back under your armpit and knot around the front. This pretty style would be ideal for Christmas lunch.
Any woman who feels self-conscious about the tops of her arms will feel comfortable in this. The back shows off the shoulder blades, which tend to look wonderful on women of all ages.
But, of course, feeling and looking good has just as much to do with how comfortable you are in what you’re wearing. So, will this dress pass muster? And can you really wear it in so many different and interesting ways that you won’t need any other outfit this party season?
I’ve modelled for M&S before, but I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you if this dress didn’t make the grade. To be honest, some of the looks are a lot easier to achieve than others – shifting the ties around can be simplicity itself or a right old challenge, depending on which style you choose.
And not all the options will work for everyone: the strapless style is a no-no if you’re big up top and anyone with bingo wings is going to need a shrug or wrap with the halterneck.
Here, I model all five ways of wearing the dress. Overall, I’m impressed.
If you’re in a hurry, don’t even attempt this look. You have to pull the ties under your arms, loop them over your shoulders and then tie them around your waist.
Even when I roped in a friend to help, the two of us kept going wrong. It was worth it, though, as this is a great look. However, the cap sleeves will not flatter those with bingo wings.
So daring, but so wonderfully stylish! Just wrap the ties around under your bust for an empire-line shape. This would be a great outfit for a romantic dinner, formal evening out or glamorous New Year’s party.
I wouldn’t wear the strapless style if you have a heavy bust, as it will emphasise it. If you feel self-conscious about your shoulders, pair it with a faux fur shrug or sparkly shawl.
The easiest look of all: just knot the ties at the back of your neck. To make it more chic, I twisted the back and knotted it around my waist.
A halterneck is my favourite look for a glitzy cocktail party – a little bit informal but sexy. This dress makes me think of Marilyn Monroe in that picture of her skirt blowing up. Halternecks flatter broad shoulders as they break up the expanse of skin.
Read more: Daily Mail