The abundance of advice you’ll find throughout the holiday season about how to be festively fashionable will rarely cater toward an event such as a holiday office party. Here are a few tips to dress for work occasions without having to sacrifice style for professionalism during the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Decoded Dress Code
The variety of holiday work parties can usually be summed up into four neat categories: casual, business, cocktail, and black tie. Below will outline the guidelines for how men and women should dress in each event.
For men and women both, this dress code means you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in. It’s a chance for everyone to show a little more personality through their outfit than usual, in a way that stays true to their everyday nature.
For men, the standard suit will suffice in this kind of event. The biggest decision you will have to make is tie or no tie.
For women, stick with an outfit that makes you feel good and look professional. If the event happens to be on an early evening weekday, your ensemble should appear as if you’ve just come from an important meeting. However, if the event is on the weekend or into the night, dress a little more on the fancy side. Keep in mind tricks to turn your outfit from day to night like stashing jewelry and fancy shoes in your bag for after work.
Cocktail event indicate festive and creative! This would be a notch above your everyday business wear.
For men, this means a nice suit with a tie. Feel free to add some personality and holiday spirit with a festive pocket square or crew socks, as long as they don’t clash or are too distracting.
For women, think overdressed for the office but underdressed for a ball. Try clothes in fancier fabrics like silk, rather than cotton. One foolproof outfit is to own a Little Black Dress so that you have a go to outfit for cocktail events and then change it up each time with statement jewelry and bold shoes.
This would be the extent of formality one might run into at a holiday work party. Men should wear a tuxedo, and women should wear a gown ranging in length from knee-length to the floor. To stand out, wear a flattering color. Black tie does not necessarily mean you should wear all black!
TIP: For more information on what to wear in each event, check out this article
Amp up the basics
- Replace your go-to blazer with a sleek leather jacket, brocade blazer, or (faux) fur cape to add luxury and elegance to a simple outfit.
- Wear a top or dress that shines with metallics or sparkles in place of a neutral solid-colored one.
- Pair one of your go-to blouses with a fun tulle skirt (tutus aren’t just for ballerinas anymore!)
- Add a statement accessory to your ensemble. It will make a world of difference, especially if transitioning immediately from the office to an evening holiday work party.
- When in doubt, add a pair of fun kicks! A pair of snazzy red shoes can take any outfit to the next level. As Marilyn Monroe says, “Give a girl [or guy] the right shoes, and [they] can conquer the world.”
- Add fun textures such as ruffles, bell sleeves, and tassels that one wouldn’t normally see everyday in the work place.
TIP: This article has some great examples of ready to go outfits for the modern businesswoman- https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/05/7-stylish-outfits-to-wear-to-your-office-holiday-party.html
Don’t Go Back to Black
A tip for both men and women is to wear lighter and brighter colors than usual. An office party is the perfect place to show your personality and individualism. That pop of color will give your outfit the festive personal touch to make it stand out from your habitual work attire.
If bright colors aren’t necessarily your thing, go-to color combinations for the holidays include black & white and gold & silver. These classic contrasts provide for the epitome of class in your next holiday work party outfit.
For those who generally wear a neutral-colored suit to work, venture out of your comfort zone and wear an increasingly fashionable patterned suit. Go-to patterns include plaid, velvet, houndstooth, and checkered for the fashionably forward risk-taking professional.
In general, for everyone make sure you go beyond just your outfit for holiday work parties. Make sure your appearance is also polished and professional. Also, make sure you keep in mind whether your shoes will hurt your feet or your outfit will stay in place. Dressing for festive occasions should allow you to feel good and focus on having a great time, not focused on how your ensemble is affecting you and the fun you could be having.
According to TopResume.com‘s article Your Guide for What to Wear to the Company Holiday Party (link), “your goal for dressing for a company holiday party is to keep your look classy and conservative while also finding ways to show your personality and have fun.” With the help of these tips, you’ll be a shining style icon at your upcoming holiday office party in no time!