Taste the rainbow with colourful partywear

Why stick with a boring little black dress this party season when there's a whole rainbow of choice?

If everyone and their mother turns up in their favourite LBD, a party can soon start to resemble an inappropriately lively wake. Blocks of black can work wonders to minimise and slim down your look, but don't get sucked into the complete black hole of the LBD (little black dress or little boring dress?). Feel free to experiment with colour.

A party is the perfect opportunity for you to test drive a colour you wouldn't normally wear in your everyday life. There is a rich variety to choose from this season, with jewel colours making their presence known again. While teal and cerise can be tough to pull off successfully, virtually everyone can get away with aubergine, dark green or ruby red. In other words, there's no excuse!

Plunging necklines work on all shapes and sizes. Teamed with cap sleeves, a deep V-neck is a useful option if you've got bingo wing issues. It's also good for hourglass figures as it draws attention to your best assets (opt for a skimming rather than a clinging fabric though unless you want the host to suspect you are smuggling two bald buddies into their party).

If you have narrow, sloping shoulders, dresses with straps that hang close to the end of your shoulders will broaden your shape. For straight up and down girls, cut-out fabrics with lace inserts work well. They soften more angular shapes, particularly if you boost your bottom with a bit of flare.

For the curvier among you, a dress that's fitted down to the waist and flares out in an A-line is perfect for accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative.

Vertical stripes are slimming on everyone, but are especially good for petite women who want to appear taller. At the other extreme, horizontal stripes are great for tall, slim women because they draw the eye across the body, adding shape and definition.

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A bold print on top keeps attention away from any horrors (real or imagined) lurking below the waistline, while a bold print below works wonders on slim-hipped girls who want to add curves.

And if your problem is somewhere in the middle, an off-the-shoulder, asymmetric number draws the eye away from your tum and up to your shoulders.

See, there really is something for everyone. So give 'old faithful' - your little boring dress - the heave-ho and invest in a colour and cut this season that will really get the party started.