What to use for a Business Holiday Party
When is the Party?
- Week night parties (late afternoon or right after work) tend to be more casual. No one expects you to go home and change clothes for these events, so you are wearing the same outfit to the party as worn for work all day. Men can add a dress jacket and/or tie. Women can also add a dress jacket, and may consider changing shoes (more on this later).
- Afternoon (weekend) parties are a popular option for family friendly events. Dressing young children in adorable matching outfits, darling festive dresses, and handsome suits with vests will cause cuteness overload. To keep the kids happy and dressed, make sure these outfits are comfortable and allow them to participate in any games or events so they are happy to stay in the cute outfits the complete time.
- Saturday night events are the wildcard, heavily dependent on the location.
Where is the Party?
- Outdoors? Yes, there are holiday parties that are held outside. Several years ago I attended a company party at the Phoenix Zoo (temperature was in the 50’s). There were heaters and hot chocolate to keep guests warm-ish. Coats, shoes (many boots), scarves, and a few hats were the only clothing truly visible at the event.
- Many companies save money on the venue by hosting in their offices (lobby, conference rooms, office courtyard). This could average you are going to be navigating around cramped conference tables and office chairs, which may be a deciding factor for shoe or outfit choice.
- past years, and again this year, we have a Saturday evening party at a business partner’s house. In this situation how casual or formal will depend on the great number & company. When in doubt, aim for nicer attire than work, without going overboard in a formal gown.
- For a resort gala, the venue may have a specific dress code (jacket & tie), this is the time to go all out! Fancy dress, ball gown or skirt, or pant suit and typical blouse are great options.
Here are 10 guidelines of What to use for a specialized Business Holiday Party for a specialized, polished, festive outfit.
- Leave the tacky Ugly Christmas sweater at home! Those silly and outrageous sweaters are great for a gathering with friends and family, not for your work “family”.
- Ditch the club use, thigh high slits, crop top, short skirts, plunging necklines, and too tight tops. use fitted clothing for a tailored, complex look. Try a typical combination of shirt/blouse with midi or ankle length skirt, wrap dress, or sheath dress to show off your figure and look polished.
- Resist the urge to use matching sweaters and avoid anything too matchy with your spouse or date. You are not posing for a Christmas card. Outfits should coordinate on the same level of formality (how “dressy” or casual).
- Coats, jackets, and the complete outfit should be clean at the beginning of the event. Double check for stains or spots the night before, to allow time to switch outfits or wash/dry clean. Shoe polish can do wonders for slight scuffs.
- use shoes that you can walk around and mingle while wearing. Last year, a colleague’s date wore “Stripper heels” that she could barely walk in. It reflects poorly on him, and she was stuck sitting in the corner unable to walk around. Make sure that you can walk or stand in your shoes for a associate hours.
- DO embrace the metallic neutrals (matte silver and brushed gold) look luxurious and festive without resembling a disco ball.
- Be bold and use winter white! Cocktail hour events are the perfect time to use that cream turtleneck sweater, ivory pantsuit, or cream brocade dress. Stick with clear liquids (white wine, Sprite, or Gin & tonics) to avoid noticeable spills or spots.
- use a bright, bold jewel tone color. Ruby red, emerald green, thorough purple, and sapphire blue are festive winter colors that break away from the standard black.
- Choose a typical style, flattering neckline, and quality fabric. For several years in a row, my Sister wore the same simple muted silver top and typical black pants for various holiday parties. She switched up the accessories and shoes for each event, providing a rare outfit build on the same typical pieces. It also helped that she did not have sharing characteristics guests for the multiple parties.
- Accessories can be more bold than normal work attire. Go ahead and use bracelets, necklace(s), sparkly earrings, rings and more. Just keep it tasteful (no LED blinking earrings or reindeer antlers unless you never want to be taken seriously at work every again).
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