Take a stroll into town on any given night of the next two weeks and you will see without doubt or reserve that Christmas party season is finally in full swing.
With corks a’popping, turkeys a’roasting and merriment on high this is the season most workers look forward to the most. After twelve months of hard graft it’s finally time to wind down and take stock of the year over several drinks on the tiles.
But the night itself is merely the tip of the iceberg. With weeks of planning, calendar invites chalking out the best day, conversations over how to best spend the party budget and emails asking whether you’d like Christmas pud or cheesecake, the work night out can be a months-long affair. Especially when it comes to choosing an outfit.
New research has found the average women spends eight hours planning their Christmas party look – more than double the time they actually spend wearing it! The poll of 2,000 women also revealed the average woman will attend three parties over the festive season, with nine in ten wearing a different outfit to each one.
So what, precisely is the reason why it takes us so long to plan ahead?
Well, according to the study it’s a combination of planning what to wear, browsing and buying the outfit and accessories and getting ready for the night itself.
The study found women will spend two hours and nine minutes thinking about what to wear, browsing sites like Pinterest for inspiration or trying on clothes they already have for each party they attend. Another two hours and 17 minutes is spent browsing online retailers or going into shops for ideas, while two hours and 16 minutes is taken up shopping and actually buying the items you decide on.
Over the course of that time, women will go on two different shopping trips, either in-store or online, visiting a total of eight shops or websites in the hunt for their party outfit. They will also try on four different items of clothing and end up returning one after changing their mind.
Finally, one hour and 20 minutes is spent getting ready on the night itself.
A spokesman for online clothing retailer AX Paris, which commissioned the research, said: “Christmas parties are an important date for many in the annual social calendar and everyone wants to be looking their best.
“But it can be a stressful and daunting experience trying to find the perfect Christmas party outfit – particularly if you have more than one event you need to buy for.
“There are so many things to consider such as the dress code, what other people will be wearing, what suits you and what style you like that it can be overwhelming trying to find the ideal dress.
“And after hours of planning and shopping, most will only then spend a fraction of that time wearing the outfit.
“Shopping online can make the search for a party outfit much easier, in the comfort of your own home, away from the bustle of the Christmas shopping crowds on the High Street.”
The study also found 59 per cent of women look forward to planning and shopping for their Christmas party dress. And 71 per cent even went as far as to say they have times where they prefer the outfit planning and getting ready to the night out itself.
But 81 per cent admitted they have occasions where they find it stressful searching for the perfect party outfit. It also emerged that 89 per cent of women think women tend to dress to impress other women rather than the opposite sex.
And while 67 per cent of women dress to make themselves feel good, almost one in twenty admit they dress to impress others. One in five women even said they would rather get a compliment from another woman than a man.
A spokesman for AX Paris added: “It’s interesting to see that many women are dressing to impress their friends and peers rather than the opposite sex.
“We all want to look our best, but it seems we care more about what our friends think than our partners.
“We are more than confident that with our brand new collection of statement party dresses, chic co-ords and elegant jumpsuits, we have a style to make everyone feel special this party season- no matter who you’re trying to impress.”