With the end of August comes the end of summer. And that might have meant something different to you when you were a kid.
Maybe it meant summer camp was winding down. And school was just about to pick up in a couple of weeks.
But as an adult, the end of summer can only mean one thing. The beginning of fall.
And what does fall bring? The beginning of the holiday season.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for Pumpkin-spice-flavored everything.
But somehow, the office holiday party always seems to pose a certain kind of challenge. No, not the challenge of rounding up office allergies when deciding what goodies not to bring.
The challenge of what to wear. Your office holiday party outfit has to straddle a fine line between fun yet still professional.
And depending on your office, the dress code might be more party-style or suit-and-tie. Luckily, the advice we’ve gathered below will help you find the balance between cool, appropriate, and festive.
So get your way down to the office party in style. And try out these tips below!
Types of holiday parties
So you’re not sure what to wear to your office holiday party. And the invite doesn’t necessarily say what kind of dress they’re expecting you to show up in.
Just that there will be a comedian there so you won’t have to worry about making corporate small talk. Whew!
In regards to what to wear, try looking up where the holiday party is going to be held. After all, you wouldn’t wear the same thing to a ballroom that you would to the office, right?
Unless you prefer working on a floor-length gown? Chooser’s choice.
During work hours
Holiday parties that are held during work hours are a little more simple to dress up for. After all, you’re still going to put in a whole day’s worth of work too.
So whatever you wear should fall within the standard company dress code. That means nothing sheer and nothing overly fancy.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it! Maybe throw in a print top or some autumn boots you’ve been waiting to try out for the perfect moment.
You don’t have to go crazy shopping hours for the perfect outfit. Just spruce up what you’d normally wear to the office.
Besides, you just know that Linda from Accounting will be handing out Christmas light necklaces. So she’ll definitely have you covered in the festive department.
After work hours
The holiday party outside of the office is a different ball game altogether. But don’t get nervous!
It’s actually a fun opportunity to try out that statement piece or let your chic fashion sense shine. This is not to say that your look should be runaway couture.
After all, your boss will still be there. But feel free to wear that velvet dress you’ve been wanting to whip out.
Even pair it with those new heels for a more formal attire altogether. If you’re used to wearing a sweater in the office, trade it out for a classic blazer with matching pants.
In a word, think cocktail party. And that should steer you in the right direction.
Parties outside of the office allow for just a bit more dress-up than a party that takes place during the 9 to 5. So let your hair down and try out that red lipstick too!
See Related: How To Host A Charity Event
Office holiday party outfit do’s and don’ts
Like we already said, the search for office-appropriate attire at your holiday party can feel somewhat daunting. Especially if you don’t consider yourself a fashionista in the least.
But use these ideas below as a guide to help you figure out what to wear. And when in doubt, go for something that makes you feel good.
And might get you a few compliments at the party as well. Remember: less is more and you are the prettiest garment you’ll ever wear.
(Is fashion just a way to hype yourself up? I don’t know, you tell me.)
#1. Don’t arrive too casual
When you think holiday season, you might be picturing a cozy sweater, jeans, and socks. All curled up by the fireside.
It’s a beautiful picture that you can definitely live in. Just not at the office party if you know what I mean.
The dress code might seem trivial. But what we wear is a reflection of how we show our respect.
Sure, it can also be an opportunity for you to go and shop around. And maybe even show off a new skirt and blazer look you’ve been wanting to test out.
But when somebody shows up in casual jeans, it can actually feel a little disrespectful. Like they don’t care.
So look at your outfits as a reflection of respect. And know that you can don that cozy sweater once you get home.
#2. Be comfortable
Formal doesn’t automatically mean uncomfortable. So, by all means, trade out those heels for flats!
If it’s going to be a long, chilly night, go for the dress with sleeves! There’s no solid rule telling you to opt for the most formal wear if all you’re worried about all night is blisters and frostbite.
Luckily, there are plenty of holiday textures for you to try out. Think velvet, faux leather, lace, metallic, sparkle.
Festive, I know. But not too crazy.
Your holiday office party should first and foremost be fun. And there’s no fun in feeling uncomfortable in your shoes all night.
So make sure you’re donning a style that’s not too far out of your comfort zone. Just enough to be appropriate yet festive at the same time.
#3. Check your hemline
Your hemline can be another indicator of what’s perceived as casual. And, not to mention, appropriate.
So make sure the dress or skirt you’re wearing doesn’t show too much leg. If you’re thinking of a pants and jacket or suit combo, then feel free to show a little ankle.
After all, it’s not the 1800s. You should be able to feel air above your shoes if you want to!
But just keep in mind that fashion doesn’t mean a lack of clothing. Besides, you don’t want to sit down at the bar only to have a wardrobe malfunction while talking with your boss, right?
When in doubt, always opt for a cautious yet formal look. That way, you can enjoy the cocktail party with peace of mind.
#4. Avoid anything sheer
That black sheer party dress might be calling your name from the closet. But for a holiday party at the office, you might want to go with a heavier fabric like velvet.
Besides, if you do, you’d probably give an entertainer way too many ideas that they can’t test out on a corporate crowd. So, just, don’t go there.
But don’t let that stop you from playing with sheer adornments! You can make a whole look just by adding a sheer shawl over your classic dress.
Just keep in mind that the holiday party venue might have some big lights flashing around. And you probably wouldn’t want to similarly flash the entire company because of a see-through dress, right?
A holiday party is a time to let loose. Just not that loose.
#5. Iron out your clothing
There’s nothing worse than showing up to the holiday party with wrinkles in your skirt or pants. You might convince yourself it’s not that bad or maybe the wrinkles even make what you’re wearing look a bit more festive.
But trust us. They’re not. And you just look lazy.
Ironing out your clothes only takes but a few minutes. And it’s yet another sign of respect that you can show your company.
You’ll also be surprised just how much a clean-cut look can elevate your overall attire. So get acquainted with the magic of steam and press that jacket till it pops!
(Not really. If any of your clothing pops, well, that’s a different story.)
#6. When in doubt, wear black
If you’re not sure what’s appropriate for your company holiday party, just go with something black. Black is an easy look that automatically looks chic.
Not to mention, black does a great job at hiding stains – both from sweat and spilled beverages. But if you want to pair black pants with a black sweater, just make sure those blacks match.
I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t black just black?
Well, not really. But maybe let’s just stick to “sure” for now. After all, these tips aren’t supposed to get too technical!
#7. Make it sparkly
Okay, this piece is advice is both literal and metaphorical. Yes, you can pick out that fun, sparkly lace dress and pair it with a nice sparkle blazer.
Look like a starry night if you want to! But more importantly, what you wear should make you feel like you sparkle.
What? It’s the holidays! And we’re allowed to get a little magical and sappy!
So spend as much time in search of the perfect company dress. But make sure that you pair it with a fun and sparkly attitude to get you through the night.
All of these ideas and tips might be practical when it comes to holiday party fashion advice. But the last adornment needed to complete your dress is a festive and glowing attitude.
Wear what makes you happy. And trust that the party will only flourish from your exuberance as well.
The magic of Christmas isn’t about opening the presents under the tree. It’s about the people you get to spend the holidays with.
And holiday attire is quite similar in sentiment. You don’t have to wear the most sparkles out of anyone (though I’ve never been one to say no to glitter).
You just have the opportunity to look around and be grateful for everyone you have in your life. Yes, even your colleagues at work.
The whole year, you’re slugging alongside them in the rat race. But once a year, you get to slow things down and take stock of the wonderful professional connections you’ve managed to make.
And maybe share a laugh with them from the corporate comedian there who is absolutely killing it!
So cue the snowflakes and the holiday lights. Because darling, both the holiday office party and your dress are gorgeous occasions worth celebrating.
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Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of Clean Comedians. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.