Dressing for the Company Holiday Party
The annual company holiday party is your chance to network with your co-workers and celebrate the holidays. While ideally, it’s a time to unwind, maintaining the balance between being fun and professional is a source of uncertainty for many, especially when it comes to choosing an outfit.
How to Know What to Wear
Your holiday party invite may not say “black-tie,” “semi-formal” or “festive” so how do you know what to wear? When dressing for any upcoming corporate holiday party, the best advice is to consider the venue it’s being held at and its guests.
For a party held at the office during work hours, you’ll likely need to stick with the office dress code policy, perhaps with a festive holiday sweater. However, you’ll want to flex your style a little more for a party that’s held outside of work hours at another venue. If it is a sizable multi-office event that people are flying in for, it’s safe to assume you’ll need an outfit that’s more upscale and professional. For a more intimate event focused on your local branch or office, you’ll likely have more freedom for your outfit choice.
Here are some pointers on how to decode the most common holiday party dress codes.
Black Tie Attire
For men, black-tie means that you should go for a sharp-looking tuxedo and bow-tie. However, black tie doesn’t mean that you have to restrict yourself to a traditional black and white color combination. If you want to impress with your holiday style, try going with a dark green or burgundy jacket with a festive double-breasted cut. Couple your holiday-style tuxedo with a white shirt and quality dress shoes to pull the look together.
For women, black-tie typically means a floor-length dress, however, the classic “little black dress” is still fair game. Many women opt for this go-to attire during black-tie events because the color is naturally slimming that pairs well with other accessories. Colored or patterned dresses (or pressed slacks and a beautiful blouse) are still very welcome, especially within the holiday theme. A gorgeous dress paired with jewelry, shoes, a bag, and a hairstyle for the festivities will have you looking stunning.
Business formal and semi-formal are often used interchangeably. It generally means you should meet your style somewhere between a business look and a formal black-tie look.
For men, this means choosing a full suit in matching colors, jazzed up with your choice of personalized shirt and tie combination. Going for a suit in navy, charcoal or light grey is a smart look. Try to avoid the kitschy, contrasting bright green and red tones when deciding on your shirt and tie. Instead, go for complimentary colors that match your choice of suit. Pure black, white and neon colors do not photograph well. Keep this in mind if your holiday party comes with a professional photographer or videographer.
For women, business formal means you can have more freedom with your style of dress than the pomp and circumstance of a black-tie event. A cocktail dress or another short formal dress is appropriate for the party, however, be sure to choose a dress that’s conservatively tailored. For a business formal event, you generally want to avoid any slinky or overly provocative attire.
Festive Dress Code
“Festive” can be one of the most ambiguous categories to dress for and cause the most stress, but it shouldn’t! Usually, festive is still dress-y, so don’t break out the ugly Christmas sweater that you would use for the in-office party. This is your opportunity to go all out and reflect your flair, taste, and style.
For men, this means going for florals, patterns, velvets, and embellishments to go with the Christmas season. Try opting for a bold colored blazer or bomber jacket to make your outfit pop.
For women, go for the same level of embellishment and flair as the guys. As long as you’re wearing something sparkly, red, green, or all of the above, you’ll be on trend. When it’s time to be festive, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
If You Are Still Not Sure
If you’re having any doubts about your choice of outfit, reach out to a co-worker to gauge what they’re wearing for the event. That way, you’ll know whether or not you’re on the right track. You can also browse our event galleries for ideas from recent holiday parties and events like yours. Remember, whatever you choose to wear to your company’s holiday party to be comfortable and be yourself!