How to dress for the office holiday party

How to dress for the office holiday party

It can be a challenge to decide what to wear to the office on an ordinary day so planning an ensemble worthy of the annual office party can be a real style conundrum. Yes, it is a party and you should let loose and have fun but, more importantly, this is a rare opportunity to mingle on relatively even footing with your superiors and the people you supervise. Not many outfits can exude frothy festivity while maintaining an undercurrent of powerful professionalism.

Rule number one: whatever you wear should make you feel fabulously confident so you can effortlessly work your networking magic. Here are some easy tips for making the most of this career opportunity.

  • Don’t Over or Under Dress • Pay attention to the dress code on the invitation and consider the general tone of your workplace. If you are new to the office, ask around to find out how dressy your co-workers plan to be. Even better; try to dig up some photos from last year’s event for reference.
  • Dress Aspirationally • Of course, you should be dressing to impress every day, but since you’ll be socializing with the bosses tonight, it pays to go for a little extra polish.
  • But Not Too Aspirationally • While you do want to look chic and sophisticated, you don’t want to leave them wondering how you manage to afford Louboutins and Louis Vuitton on a secretary’s salary.
  • Embrace Modesty • This is not an occasion for showing a lot of skin—no micro-minis or plunging décolleté.
  • Keep it Simple • Don’t be outshined by a lot of distracting frou frou—your ensemble should bring out the best in you.
  • Be Comfortable • It’s tough to radiate confidence when you’re struggling to breathe or worrying about bursting a seam. Choose a figure-flattering, body-skimming silhouette or a frock with beautiful draping that allows you to move freely.

Read Related: The Office Party: Do’s and Don’ts

Even if there’s no time for a full costume change between work and cocktails, it’s surprisingly easy to kick it up a notch.

  • Pop an evening clutch stashed with a few makeup essentials (bold lip color and an extra coat of mascara to amp up the drama) and a bit of jewelry (for a touch of glitz) into your day bag. Stash the day bag in your desk after hours.
  • Swap flats for heels.
  • A sleek pony or chignon works beautifully day and night.
  • Ditch the jacket and undo a button or two.