23 Ideas to Look Your Best at the Work Holiday Party

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.

Contents
  1. Stay within the Office’s Dress Code at the Holiday Party
  2. What to Wear to a Festive Office Party
  3. What Not to Wear to a Festive Office Holiday Party Outside the Office
  4. Corporate Office Party
  5. What Not to Wear to a Corporate Office Party
  6. Work Appropriate EOB Holiday Party Outfits
  7. Holiday Office Party Looks Made by Swapping Accessories

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

Stay within the Office’s Dress Code at the Holiday Party

Office parties are tricky with respect to the dress code. Thus, keep the rule

If 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 …

style blogger in hunter green top and boots, brown skirt with necklace in front of a decorated tree
Pendleton glencheck wool skirt, smoky quartz statement necklace and bracelet, Gucci snake boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own) and leather golden element bracelet c/o Lizzy James

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.

accessories cross-body clutch Amber convertible cross-body minibag/clutch c/o Olivia + Joy. Detaching the strap makes this mini bag a perfect clutch for a festive office cocktail party
handmade designer purse Handmade designer clutch c/o Bellorita<. Detaching the chain converts this beauty in a clutch. It also has a wrist handle, perfect when there is a buffet.

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.

details of posh corporate office party outfit

midlife style blogger wearing corporate cocktail holiday party look

fashion blogger in LBD and stiletto booties
Outfit details: Ann Taylor blazer featuring a Chanel-jacket type fabric, DIY statement blackened silver necklace looking like Christmas bulbs, GAP LBD with Harley Davidson stiletto booties, GNW opaque tights, DIY silver necklace, H-bracelt (all own), and layering top c/o Adea for a corporate office cocktail party

 

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.

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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.

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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
midlife woman in printed dress styled for a work holiday party
eShakti printed dress with knotted Moda International cardigan, Hermes collier de chien bangle, GNW tights, Manolo Blanik booties (all own) and JORD wooden watch

 

over 50 years old influencer in business casual holiday inspired outfit
Vittoria red wool blazer, Oliveo chambray button-down shirt, London Jean boyfriend jeans, Aldo leopard print pumps, pearl necklaces, unbranded knee-high hosiery socks, Festina watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Kieselstein Cord belt and H buckle (all own)

 

fashion blogger in plaid sheath, red cardigan and tights
Dyed Moda International cardigan, GNW tights, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Peter Kaiser block heel cap toes pumps (all own)

 

over 50 years old stylist in plaid shirt with denim skirt tights and sweater
Oliveo casual denim skirt with Oliveo button-down plaid shirt, GNW tight and sweater knotted around the neck

 

fashion blogger in red top white leather pants holiday outfit
Newport News leather pants, Anne Klein sweater, pearl necklace (all own)

 

style book author in little red dress with black tights
eShakti motorcycle dress, GNW tight, Harley Davidson booties, Michael Kors wedge booties, Collier de Chien belt and Adea layering top

 

fashion influencer in red work to office party outfit
Riders by Lee button-down red-white plaid button-down worn with own red dyed Moda International cardigan), G-III skirt, red GNW tight, Manolo Blanik booties, Kieselstein Cord belt, snake tail buckle, and Jodie Gum brooch (all own)

 

work Xmas party outfit with midi plaid skirt, Russian scarf, red sweater in front of a Christmas tree
Pendleton plaid pleat wool midi skirt, GNW Luxe sweater, Pavlovo fringe printed wool Russian scarf, L.K. Bennett suede leather tall boots, and Jord bamboo wood watch (all own)

 

style blogger in hunter green top and boots, brown skirt with necklace in front of a decorated tree
Pendleton glencheck wool skirt, smoky quartz statement necklace, Gucci snake boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own) and bracelet c/o Lizzy James

 

Alaskan woman looking chic in a monochromatic red outfit
Anne Klein turtleneck sweater, G-III suede leather skirt, GNW tight, opera-length pearl necklace, Hermes collier de chien belt, Hermes collier de chien cuff, Hermes enamel bangles, and Peter Kaiser block heel pumps (all own)

 

When you like these holiday outfit inspirations, let your friends know by tweeting them to

Have 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.

fashion blogger Nicole of High Latitude Style donning a LBD work outfit
Black boat neck dress c/o Covered Perfectly, own leopard print scarf, BCBG belt, GNW tights, Hermes collier de chien bangle, studded head band and Valentino studded boots

 

mature lady in LBD and long pearlnecklace as holiday outfit
Black boat neck dress re-styled for an EOB party by swapping the scarf, boots belt and tights with unbranded pantyhose, Swarovski crystal necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Ralph Lauren silver pumps

 

When you like these outfit inspirations, you will like the outfit inspirations for all kind of midlife dressing situations given in my style book How To Dress For Success in MidlifeBuy your book now.

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

details of trendy belt and sequin skirt
H&M sequin skirt, sterling silver moonstone ring, topas bangle, gemstone suede belt, GNW Luxe cashmere sweater (all own)

 

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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