As we creep towards December, the prospect of attending the annual Christmas party is something that will fill most people with either unbridled joy or paralysing dread. The pressure to look fashionable, demure – and most importantly, unique – can lead to plenty of sleepless nights. But rest easy: help is at hand.

For an evening event, you will of course be expected to dress more formally than you would for a lunchtime party, so go for a classic look such as a chic cocktail dress or a lace number. The office dress-code is still in effect as well, so stay clear of revealing outfits with deep cleavages, or anything that is sheer or too tight – when your boss is around, less is always more!

Conversely, it's important to avoid going too far the other way by dressing too casually, as this can also have a detrimental effect on peoples' perception of you. Are you too cool to care? Are you too insecure to feel that you can make an effort? Jeans, trainers and animal prints are all big no-nos, and it's crucial that you ensure your make-up matches your elegant look.

Of course, one place that you should definitely dress to impress would be Ladies' Days at horse racing events such as Cheltenham or the Grand National, both of which take place in the spring of next year. These are the events that allow women to really express themselves, and with no official dress code, the sky really is the limit. Emphasis is normally placed on standing out of the crowd, but with the famous Coco Chanel quote: “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman” operating as a general rule, a classy look is preferred.

Away from the fashion, Aintree offers plenty of action on the track and visitors to the Grand National 2016 will be spoilt for choice over the course of the weekend – and even if you don't feel that you have a suitable dress for the occasion, you can still check all the runners and riders as well as making sure that you get the best odds available via the app on your iPhone or iPad.

Ladies Day is on the Friday, immediately preceded by the Grand Opening Day on the Thursday and followed by the Grand National Day itself on the Saturday, and with a number of horses already pencilled-in to race, it's not too early to cast an eye over the early favourites. So whether it's the fashion or the racing that captures your imagination, it's not too early to start picking out your wardrobe – and your winners.