6 Dec 2016

It’s Party Time

Party Time on vickiarcher.com

It is party time.

And it’s time to party. The festive season is here and I don’t mind admitting I love it. Do we ever need an excuse to dress up? Not really, but if we did now would be the moment.

Party dressing is always the one that gets you thinking. It’s easy to over complicate and worry about “what to wear’ or “whether it is suitable” when choosing party clothes. There are levels of “party” from the full-blown gala to the discreet black tie dinner. Most of the time a beautiful classic will take you everywhere; it is simply a question of the length and the accessories.

Never underestimate the power of a fabulous shoe and a slick of deep shade lipstick. They can transform the plain into the glamorous in the time it takes to wriggle the toes in and prepare the pout.


Party Time on vickiarcher.com



Party dresses work for me in mid-calf or full length. The mini has long since been a good friend to me and these days I find the longer lengths, especially in more formal wear, to be the more flattering choice. Covering up can be even sexier; leaving something to the imagination is an “oldie but a goldie”. As far as I can see it works every time.

Party Time on vickiarcher.comParty Time on vickiarcher.com


How To Choose The Perfect Party Dress?

For a start, let’s not over complicate matters.

Think style, aspire to elegance and the choices will become easy. Stay with classic fabrics and plains; it is never boring. How an outfit is interpreted is where personal signature plays the lead role.

When working with a strict budget invest in the timeless and leave the overly fussy and very intricate for another day. Those kinds of party time dresses are for wardrobes that know no bounds.

The same can be said for colour.

Black, nude and navy are timeless buys and can be worn repeatedly with a different set of jewellery or a change of shoes. As much as the vibrant colours, pastel shades and wild floral are tempting, I tend to steer away when it comes to the more formal.  The party dresses I have are few and I want them to be less identifiable so I can wear them year upon year.

It’s party time of the year. Shall we? xv

Party Time: The Edit

show the legs

**sequin midi  //  **felicity and coco midi  //  **addison sequin midi  // valentino lace and crepe  //  **roksanda izumi  //  **theory midi

bare the shoulders

velvet cocktail  //  double v neck silk  //  crepe halter  //  gwen midi

graze the floor

**vera wang illusion  //  **glitter mermaid  //  **embellished mess  //  ** mermaid gown  //  js illusion gown  //  **cavalli v back

metallic jaquard  //  tegan gown


The giveaway, a week staying at Le Petit Bijou in Provence, continues until the 19th December.

I am reading every comment so it may take me a little time to post them. Thank you for your wonderful enthusiasm, I am so touched.

To enter you must leave a comment and be a subscriber on vickiarcher.com.

Existing subscribers must leave a comment to enter. New subscribers will find the subscription box at the end of this post.

To enter the giveaway you can comment on any post before the 19th December; all subscribers will be entered into the draw.

(All that is required to subscribe is an email address and a click through on the verification email.)

And that’s it. Simple; subscribe and leave a comment.

Thank you Nordstrom for partnering on, It’s Party Time.

images, kristian schuller for vanity fair 

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In This Post:



Anita Rivera

Oh these photos, I WOULD WEAR any of these frocks to a party that called for total elegance! And, we were out the other day at the famous Mall of America. There was an outstanding sale at Ann Taylor and Vicki, you should see the dress my husband got me, in addition to a few other pieces. I am wearing it to a dinner party in a few weeks, and it has a young Audrey Hepburn look to it. Remember the black dress in the movie Sabrina that she wore with a little black hat? This dress of mine is the same cut, only black with gold brocade. It looks perfect on me. SCORE! Yes, it’s PARTY TIME!

Taste of France

Comfort and fit are essential. It isn’t elegant to constantly tug down a skirt, readjust a shoulder strap, trip on a too-long hem.
I agree on covering up, but something has to show. It’s a matter of choice. Either legs or décolletage but revealing both risks looking cheap and covering everything can look matronly. Unless you have a long skirt, long sleeves, high neck but a very form fitting silhouette.


Just another Australian who loves Provence. Been there once..would love to return. Enjoy your blog, pics and books..thankyou


Oh my what beautiful dresses you’ve posted. I would love to wear each and everyone of them. Now, LOL, to find a venue to do so.


The holidays are THE occasion for a beautiful dress. My choice is often black, but this year there is a luscious red velvet dress in my closet, just waiting to shine at a dinner party, or Christmas dinner. ( probably both!) I haven’t bought a new dress for so long, my legs are going to be bashful! Now to find the perfect shoes….holidays, always a great excuse to buy a dress, or shoes, or both. I’m secretly very excited!

Brenda Glanville

Love your blog…thanks for offering your home as a gift this year. I would love to see Provence.

Dana Lynch

Bonjour Vicki, I have been following your blog for 2 years. My daughter and I traveled to Paris 2 years ago. It was a dream come true. Followed many of your suggestions. Truly helpful. I always thought next time, Provence and meeting Vicki. It’s been such a knowledgeable experience following you mes ami. Thankyou


This is the perfect blog post for me! I have been over complicating matters for sure, about “what to wear” to a special wedding. I have looked and looked for a new dress. However I see my timeless LBD in the closet is just perfect, and as you say it is all in the accessories! I did buy a lovely pair of shoes.
As for Provence…oh my! What a beautiful place. What a lovely “jewel box.” A place I have always wanted to visit since I was little. I love the way French women dress too, simple yet so stylish…something I strive for. Thank you for this marvelous giveaway.


I just can’t squish one of those voluminous beauties in my one suitcase Vicki – as much as I I’d love to! We’re off to cruise pre-Christmas (and then to my original home in Devon) with 3 formal nights on board – so for me the trusty black tuxedo jacket with the option of pants and lace skirt, with different glittery tops, have to suffice. It’s amazing what an evening shoe and some bling jewelry can do, plus a red lip of course!
Enjoy your parties Vicki – Happy Christmas to you and your family.

Mary Catherine Sharman

All of your party dresses are so elegant! Love dressing up at this time of year. Hope you and your family has a very Merry Christmas!

laura s.

I am absolutely LOVING your blog…..dreaming of Provence every minute! :) Amazing :)


I so enjoy your blog, Vicki. You hit just the right note of understated elegance and style for women of a certain age. Not too trendy, certainly not matronly. You’ve certainly helped me find that sweet spot of style and comfort now that I’ve past the 50 milestone. Your blog is the first one I click on when it pops up in my inbox. Always look forward to your take on style, fashion, travel and whatever else inspires you.

Elaine Calhoun

I have followed you and French Essence for the past six years, your blog is fresh and relevant, always!!You are the voice of reason on so many topics and I continue to want to read your blog so many years later. I keep meaning to order your Book and just haven’t.
Being in Provence and most importantly, at your Le Petit Bijou would be magical. I remember when you announced that you and your husband purchased the property and all your readers watched as you made improvements and then started furnishing Le Petit Bijou.
If I were fortunate to win, I would bring 3 of my closest friends to share with.
Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas.
All the best,

Barbara Coghlan

I am new to your blog and love it so far! I have spent time in Paris, would love to see Provence someday!


I’m afraid none of my parties are very dressy this year so a LBD with different jewellery will carry me through. Still, it’s the people that you see that are most important and make the season cheerful.


My goodness! I can say there’s a
Chance I’m going to France!! Better make sure my passports up to date! Thank you!


I also would love a week in Your Apartment in the town. We will be in the area next year and it would be perfect.
Thank you for your wonderful blog.

Brenda Mcnair

Thank you Vicki for your wonderful blog!! I have been reading it for many years and enjoy it so very much!! Best Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season!!

Nancy McKenzie

Vickie, I have been following your blog daily anticipating what you will write next. I love all your beauty and fashion tips but especially enjoy the write-ups that allow you to dream. I have always wanted to go to Paris…especially the Paris flea market since i love all things vintage and french. Just bought your book French Essence and can not wait to immerse myself into your world in Provence.

Eve Smither

I have loved your books and find your blog so inspirational . Thank you for taking the time to produce such a lovely blog.


Happy Holiday’s! Vicki the blog is full of beautiful wonderland thoughts. As the hostess of an upcoming “sparkling” tea party for the season, creative ideas are welcome and appreciated!

Carolyn Roney

How very timely Vicki. Our eldest Gorgeous Boy Alex is marrying Clare in March, and I am desperately searching for a suitable Mother of the Groom dress (I don’t want to look dowdy…) Some of these dresses would be divine – are the sizes quoted American or Australian from the Nordstrom website?


US sizes Carolyn… but I think they have a converter on the site.

Normally for UK and Australian sizes it is two less.. so a 12 UK/Aus is an 8 in the US .. Always makes me feel better ;)


Yes! Elegance…timelessness. Always in style with those elements. And definitely never matronly! Can you believe I have yet to achieve my dream of visiting France? My father taught me elementary French when I was a child as he learned it during WWII and fought in Normandy. I studied French. I collect French niche perfumes. And I recently discovered through tracing my ancestry that my great grand-father was born in France! What a dream come true finally to experience beautiful Provence. Always enjoy your beautiful blog and all things French!


I so enjoyed reading your blog. The emphasis on classic and elegant seems just right. Also, I’m finding that red lips are surprisingly attractive!
A trip to Provence would be wonderful. Fingers crossed!


Love the photos today! Also, love the first ‘little black dress’ which is just so simple and elegant. I want that one! I’m not sure if we are suppose to send a comment each time you post to possibly get a chance at winning a week in Le Petit Bijou, but since I wasn’t sure, I thought I better post a comment today, too. Although I read your blog regularly, I am often shy (or maybe lazy!) to post comments. I almost rented your beautiful place when it first opened for rent, but we couldn’t quite get our dates to align with the rest of our France trip. David was a very helpful responder to my inquiries!

Fiona Booker

Ooooh I know the LBD goes everywhere, every time, but I cannot help it – the red keeps drawing my eye….again. Have a great Christmas – hope you have snow and we don’t have a heat wave again this year! Holiday decor this year is???


Holiday decor… is …. a holiday!!!!
Think palm trees, turquoise water and swimming all day long :) :)
Can you tell, I am very excited!!

Fiona Booker

Woo hoo, good for you. For me, reading about all the Christmas markets over there really reinforces my need, once, just once, to have a white Christmas. To those of you that have them I am envious – but for those of you who have them – once, just once you must have a Christmas “down under” ……we can do it in style too!

Jeanne Visser

Vicki you are SUCH an inspiration! I love your outlook on fashion and living, love your tips and most especially, your two books which I read every summer holiday. Am wondering whether you have published another book recently? If not, I am waiting!!
Holding thumbs for my holiday <3


Just found out about this site. I am going to forward it to my son, who works in the industry. There is much to admire here!


I love black with a touch of red for the holidays. I am into the black tassel beaded earrings by Baublebar or a red sparkly earring with black. I am 60 years old and my 30 something daughters even like to borrow my clothes and earrings sometimes. Ha. I consider that a compliment at my age.

Darlene Lane

Hello Vicki
I have a small business selling Provence to the locals and visitors to our small island of ll,000
people. I am a seamstress first and have been importing the fabrics for 25 years in a very small way. I sold both your books and gave them both to a very dear friend who had them in her rental
cottage, She loved them and even stayed in your little apt in Saint Remy when she visited 2 years ago She passed away last year but I she loved all things French and visited Paris often and was
thrilled to stay in your delightful apt in Saint Remy. We have visited Saint Remy each time we
have come to France but to stay in your lovely apt would be a real treat.

Carolyn McMillan

Vicki! I am loving everything that I’m reading on your site! As a recently (well, two and a half years now😔) widowed 66 year old woman I am feeling so uplifted reading what you are sharing. Thank you.


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Win a Week In Provence on vickiarcher.com
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