A Stylist’s Tips for Tackling Party Season

Like the rest of the world, I treat party season with equal amounts excitement and dread. Between a social calendar that starts to fill up from November, and finding the right outfit to wear to each event, the anxiety can get a bit too much—especially while juggling a job and, you know, life. That’s why this season, I’ve done us all a favour and asked one of Australia’s leading celebrity stylists, Kelly Smythe, to share her party-ready tips.

Keep scrolling to read everything you need to know before attempting to tackle party season.


"My secret is a combination for foot insurance (i.e. comfort), is Paw Paw Ointment and Panadol—prevention is better than cure when you have a long night ahead. Apply a layer of ointment to your toes before you slide into your heels and reapply every four hours. The Panadol is if the pain is too much to bear. A basic sewing kit is essential for the 'non' Hollywood moments—too many times I’ve had to whip this one out and a mini Klorane Dry Shampoo for when your hair needs a lift."


"If you get this routine sorted before party season, and continue a version of it throughout, you’ll be feeling your best. It’s all about the prep from the inside out. If you’re healthy on the inside, it’ll show on the outside. I have my clients aim for early nights and at least two litres of water every day.

Be sure to sign off on your look at least a few days before the event and not at the eleventh hour. A frenzied outfit dilemma minutes before the party, won’t make you a fun and relaxed guest."


"I always have a starting point for an outfit when putting together a look—it might be a colour or a pair of shoes. Gather inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram or your favourite blogs and create a mood board that tells your own story—it might be a certain colour palette or a nod to a particular era. From there, you can work on locking down the pieces to see your vision."


"This year, I’m loving pantsuits, soft-pleating, midi skirts, lace and texture. Ladylike details were all over the spring runways so that’ll be my starting point for this season.

I love to support Australian designers as much as possible! My first call is always to some of my favourites likes Toni Maticevski, Camilla and Marc, Scanlan and Theodore and By Johnny. If I want to go a little more high-profile, I go for international labels like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham or Balmain."

Main images by Sandra Semberg and We The People.

What secret party dressing tips do you have? Share in the comments below!

Amanda Bardas