Office holiday parties are tricky dress-code wise. On one hand side, one wants to dress up, but still has to navigate the HR dress code. This post provides some outfit ideas for an office holiday party.
- Stay within the Office’s Dress Code at the Holiday Party
- What to Wear to a Festive Office Party
- What Not to Wear to a Festive Office Holiday Party Outside the Office
- Corporate Office Party
- What Not to Wear to a Corporate Office Party
- Work Appropriate EOB Holiday Party Outfits
- Holiday Office Party Looks Made by Swapping Accessories
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Stay within the Office’s Dress Code at the Holiday Party
Office parties are tricky with respect to the dress code. Thus, keep the ruleIf it works for a date night out, it's not for the office. #workholidayparty #HighLatitudeStyle Click To Tweet
Yes, even when or especially when it is a corporate cocktail party. Stop! Let’s do one step at a time. There are corporate parties, festive office cocktail parties and end-of-the-day parties.
A general rule is to within the broad lines of the office dress code’s limits with respect to showing skin. Skin in the sense of toes, heels, cleavage, belly, legs, and arms. Pay attention to the invitation. Often it has a hint for the dress code. If so, go with it to dress for success. For instance, when it says festive business casual style, go for business casual style, and add longer earrings or a festive top. Read on …
What to Wear to a Festive Office Party
Let’s start with the festive office party because of the holiday season. Here you can go for sequins, metallic, and embellishments. Even a holiday dress that does not show too much skin works. When it is strapless, wear it with a matching bolero, thin fine fabric stole, or a nice leather jacket. Black slim pants with a metallic, embellished or sequin top are also fine. What about a sequin or brocade skirt? A holiday dress, would also meet the dress code for a festive office cocktail party.
Go for a big clutch or nice evening bag (see photo below), i.e. something different than your usual day bag. Embellished stilettos or open toe pumps fit the bill. In cold climate regions, have a large satchel or around town tote to carry your shoes and a clutch inside that you place on the table. Leave the satchel with the coat clerk if possible.
What Not to Wear to a Festive Office Holiday Party Outside the Office
Stay away from informal fabrics, daytime outfits, corporate clothes, suits, or anything denim. You are never wrong with a little black dress. But if you go for one, stay out of the crowd by festive rhinestone jewelry. Also steer away from anything that is too short or too long (e.g. maxi dress), shows too much cleavage (back or front, it doesn’t matter). Recall the attendees are your colleagues. Thus, try to still look professional.
Corporate Office Party
The corporate office cocktail party reads more or less gray or dark corporate style as foundation given a twist with jewelry and/or accessories as shown in the first two photos of this post. One statement piece of jewelry only. Avoid double blink. In other words, stay on the road of classics with a twist.
Tights or pantyhose are a must! Sheer pantyhose as well as opaque work depending on climate. Cover your arms in agreement with your office’s dress code.A little black dress in a classic cut is always a good idea. #holidayparty Click To Tweet
In cold climate regions, wearing a layering top underneath is acceptable. Straight skirts with a feminine blouse, or straight slacks in gray or black with a shell and bolero or Chanel-type jacket, or a classic shift dress with patent leather belt and a statement brooch are save options too.
Go for closed toe pumps. Anything less would look too casual with tights on. In cold climate regions, classic boots will be acceptable on cold days with snow outside. Stiletto booties are risky, but may work when they are the only “twist” in the look, i.e. the statement.
What Not to wear to a Corporative Office Holiday Party
Again stay away from anything informal like knits, jersey, too short or too much skin. A shiny clutch in silver, gold or patent leather is perfect. Any bright color is risky. Neon is a No-No.
“Work Appropriate” EOB Holiday Outfit Ideas
In recent years, many work places celebrate their office holiday party in their meeting room. They either make it a potluck or outsource the cooking to a party service. These kind of work holiday parties at the office are as tricky to dress for as going from work to a picnic.
These parties typically start at the end of business, or in the hour before. This means your outfit must do double-duty. It must work for your typical work duties, but should also have some holiday spirit or at least be switched into a Thanksgiving or easy Christmas outfit by just swapping some accessories. You can’t block the restrooms for a full change at the office. 😉
When the office holiday party is in a hotel, you know at least that it is a formal office holiday party dress code.
When the party starts about 1 hour before end of business (EoB), your work outfit must do double-duty. In this case, it’s ok to wear knits or jerseys in cold climate regions. Go with the spirit. Red, green, black, white, plaid. Create the festive aspect with accessories like earrings, necklaces, belts or scarves for style. If the work dress code is business casual and/or you have a Casual Friday culture and the party falls on a Friday afternoon, even dark denim is ok when styled festive.
It’s best to have a look where you can swap the jewelry to some statement crystal costume jewelry like in this post or exchange a scarf or jacket in the restroom prior to the party. A total change of your outfit would be a hassle in the small stalls. Moreover, you don’t want to outdress your boss, right? Err around a dressed-up work outfit with a twist to festive.
Like these outfit ideas? If so, please feel free to pin them to your own Pinterest board.
When you won’t have a meeting that day, you may even dare to wear a sequin skirt, especially as wearing metallics at day is a hot trend right now.
Do you like style recipes like those in this post? Then you may want to purchase my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. It has style recipes for the dressing situations and challenges of women over 40. Give yourself the gift of style.
Here is another solution: Riot your closet for items in holiday colors or colors close to the traditional holiday red, green, black and white. Typical holiday associated patterns like plaid are a good choice too. By all means, stay away from the holiday sweaters.Holiday sweaters don't look cute on anyone over nine! #agelessstyle Click To Tweet
When you like these holiday outfit inspirations, let your friends know by tweeting them toHave a look at this post on great outfits for the holiday party at the office! #holidaystyle #dress4success Click To Tweet
Outfits Made by Swapping Accessories
A traditional retro-style holiday dress is a save idea when it can be made work appropriate with a sweater (see photo below) or cardigan. Wearing a little black dress is always a good idea. Therefore, it bears the risk that many other colleagues have also this good idea. 😉 This fact is especially true, as a LBD can easily swap the vibe by exchanging a scarf, dress pumps and pearl studs with chandelier earrings or a long Swarovski crystal statement necklace and pointy toe silver pumps.
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It’s also a great gift for all of your fashion and style loving female friends and colleagues.
When you liked any of the outfits, please feel free to pin them to your own pinterest boards so your friends, colleagues and family can see them too. Sharing is careing.
Try a Look with Sequins
What kind of holiday party do you have at work? What are your fashion and style dressing challenges? Let me know, I am curious how I can help you and add more on what you want to read more about.
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Have a great holiday season!
Photos: G. Kramm
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