What to Wear to an Office Christmas Party: Outfit Tips for Men and Women
Christmas parties with your company can be a great way to meet people from other departments and to get to know your colleagues better. However, being both a festive and a professional occasion, it can be difficult to know how to behave and how to dress. You don't want to be too casual nor too dressy, and the line depends on what time and where is the event.
Making a good impression at the office party can build up your reputation, so you must do your best to make a statement with your outfit without being too loud or unconventional. It's a difficult line to toe, so here at OneHowTo we've compiled the best outfit tips for men and women on what to wear to an office Christmas party. Read on!
What to wear to an office Christmas party: Menswear
In our culture, men have fewer outfit options to wear throughout the year; this is more boring but also safer. For an office Christmas party, the best thing to do is to wear a dressed-up version of a casual work outfit; a perfectly clean and ironed shirt and dress pants with some structure will do.
A Christmas office party is a good chance to invest in good clothes that might be more expensive but that you can reuse in future events or even job interviews. We recommend:
- Shirt: A nice shirt in any solid color. You can go for a different fabric, like silk.
- Jacket: A casual blazer or sport coat, but made of good wool and not in black; consider burgundy, blue or gray. For a more fancy event you can wear a tuxedo blazer, perhaps with a subtle pattern like houndstooth or a different fabric like velvet, even if it's only on the lapels.
- Trousers: Black slacks will do, but if you wear a jacket in any other color make sure it matches. Here you can learn how to combine colors in menswear.
- Shoes: Dress shoes or loafers, clean and polished.
- Tie: Don't wear a tie; if it's a casual event, simply wear your best shirt with a well-ironed collar. If it's dressier, choose a bow tie.
We recommend our article on how to get a vintage look for men.
What NOT to wear: Menswear
In a Christmas office party, run away from anything that you would wear to a casual golf match, like khakhis or chinos and polos, or anything that is too obviously seasonal, like fuzzy Christmas sweaters or jingly accessories and tassels.
What to wear to an office Christmas party: Womenswear
Women usually have more options to work with, even in semi-formal occasions like a Christmas work party. However, there are also more codes that apply as to what is inappropriate or showy. These codes depend on the place, time and formality of the event and the people attending.
You can create a semi-formal outfit by wearing subdued colors and fabrics with a strong, sculpted silhouette or bolder colors with a more classic shape. Christmas parties allow sequins and sparkle, but only on a piece of clothing, not the entire outfit.
As a rule of thumb, don't wear anything you wouldn't even consider wearing to the office nor anything you don't feel comfortable in. Women's fashion changes fast, so if you buy anything for the office party make sure it is subtle and not overtly trendy; this way, you can re-use it later. In general, trousers and shoes are good investments.
- Colors: Black, metal and jewel tones. Red is also a good choice, and Christmas parties are a good chance to wear white or green, which are not that common in other events.
- Fabrics: The holidays are the perfect time to wear something with a bit more shine, like velvet, satin, silk or chiffon.
- Prints: Play with textures rather than prints. Jacquard is a good choice, but animal prints are only acceptable if the shades are subdued. Floral patterns can also be worn in winter, especially if the colors are dark and sophisticated.
- Shirt: Consider wrapped structures, a tunic, a blouse with draped sleeves
- Jacket: An open blazer with leather lapels.
- Skirt: A classic pencil skirt will work, but you can try something different with a leather skirt.
- Trousers: Black cigarette pants are an excellent choice, and black pantsuits or jumpsuits are also both timeless and trendy. If your office is more casual and youth-oriented, you can wear shorts and tights.
- Dress: An a-line or mod dress with lace or mesh sections can work perfectly for a fancy event. The Little Black Dress is the perfect canvas to wear accessories. For a vintage look, wear a slip dress with an oversize coat, maybe faux fur.
- Tights: If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas falls in winter. You will probably want to wear tights to the party; sheer black or semi sheer nude hose are perfect, subtle options, as are nude fishnets.
- Shoes: Velvet flats, shiny Chelsea boots or suede pumps are elegant options, but you can also consider men's loafers.
- Bag: Black leather clutch.
- Jewelry: Elegant earrings and necklace, which don't have to match. A seasonal brooch can be a good touch, as long as you don't look like a Christmas tree.
What NOT to wear: Womenswear
Remember that even if your Christmas office party takes place in a club, you still should not dress as if you were going out with your friends. Steer clear from very low necklines and very high heels. As we said in the menswear section, avoid fuzzy and overly Christmas-y textiles.
What to do and what to bring to a Christmas office party
Getting the outfit right is the first step to a successful work party, but there are other protocol tips you should take into account.
If you don't know your co-workers really well, stay within small talk - asking about their holiday plans or hobbies always works - and avoid gossiping. Talk to different people and introduce workmates who you think could get along.
Now for the big question: Should you dance at a Christmas office party? Goofy dancing is both a do and a don't. It's fun, and everybody will do it, but avoid drinking too much to keep the goofiness at the appropriate level. Never be that one person who takes over the DJ if other people don't ask you to.
Finally, if the party is hosted at someone's house - usually the boss's - bring something small, like flowers or chocolate. At the very least, send a thank-you email the next day to the organizers.
This is what to wear to an office Christmas party; if you have any tips, doubts or outfit ideas, tell us in the comments section!
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