Blokes are the lucky ones at fancy occasions because they’re cozily layered up in suits, socks and shoes, while us lasses often end up feeling the chill in order to showcase a smashing outfit. Not so fab. 

Your party ensemble probably looks best worn on its own with hose, heels and clutch handbag. But if you’re miserable because you’re cold, you have to cover up, even if it’s for just part of the time. The good news is that you can do so in style. Here are eight cover-up options. 

Evening Coat

A very dressy knee-length coat made of satin, brocade, taffeta, velvet, sequins, or something else equally formal makes for a substantial cover-up. Sometimes the coat looks even better than the dress! It might be worth investing in this item because you’ll wear it over and over again, season after season. I am definitely investing as soon as I find a style that works for me.

Capes or Capelets

‘Tis the season of the cape. Keep the fabrication dressy and you’ll make a dramatic party entrance. Is anyone in the mood for pom poms? 


A short cardigan that’s shaped like a bolero or very cropped jacket is an easy cover-up solution. Shrugs can either be woven or knitted, embellished or plain, and solid or patterned. They are especially comfortable over sleeveless dresses (no sleeve bunching). 

Sequin or Metallic Cardigan

This item is a little more relaxed, but certainly does the trick. Think of cardigans in silver, pewter, bronze, copper or gold. Any shape cardigan with a sparkly surface interest is an option. 

Faux Fur Topper

You have choices a-plenty. From faux fur knee-length coats, to cropped jackets, vests, boleros, shrugs or capelets. Always retro and, at the moment, so very on trend. 

Tuxedo Jacket

This is my favourite way to cover up a party frock. I have a cropped black tuxedo jacket that I wear with party outfits and jeans, but I’d also like a longer version to wear with trousers. I absolutely LOVE the crisp clean lines of a tuxedo jacket. 


Stores are full of basic pashmina type wraps that I personally don’t think look all that smashing with a party outfit. The more interesting wraps are usually harder to find and much more expensive. I like wraps with a vintage integrity made of substantial fabrications. I found a black quilted shawl made of sparkly brocade five years ago and, although it cost a pretty penny, I’m glad that I bought it. Every so often it comes in very handy and I think it’s fairly timeless. 

Cropped Jacket

A cropped jacket in jacquards, velveteen, satin, lurex and brocade looks nothing short of splendid over a party frock or skirt. And if you’re in the mood for a little avant-garde spunk, try a short leather jacket with your party attire. 

These are the cover-up options I explore with my clients when they’re concerned about feeling cold in their party outfits. Sateen trench coats, shrugs, wraps, sequin cardigans and velvet jackets are most popular, but faux fur and tuxedo jackets are gaining favour. 

When we have a fancy do at our house in the colder months, we turn up the heat up so that no one feels cold. The gents usually end up taking off their jackets, but at least the ladies are happy. We are the belles of the ball, after all. 

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