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How to dress for the office holiday party

Put your best foot forward at your work Christmas party by dressing well.

Christmas party dressing that is stylish and professional

Dressing for a work related social event is more challenging than dressing for an event in your personal life. You want to look stylish, but also maintain your professionalism. You may also be unsure of how to dress differently to your day-to-day office wear, particularly if you make a point of looking your best for work each day.

Do not wear your work clothes

Whatever you plan on wearing to the work holiday party, the number one rule is to dress differently to how you do at work. At the very least, wear dressier versions of what you usually wear to work. A dress shirt with brown leather Oxfords and a pair of dark blue jeans is worlds apart from light blue jeans with a short-sleeved shirt and your well-worn office shoes.

Dress one step above the work dress code

If no dress code was given for the party, your best bet is to dress slightly more formally than you would in the office. This general rule works whether you are at a super casual design firm or a smart-dressing office. For a laid-back office, wear jeans with a dress shirt and blazer. If you normally wear a suit to work, wear a nicer suit and perhaps substitute your tie for a bow tie. For all offices in-between where you are expected to wear smart casual or slacks with a shirt to work, wear a suit but add a personal touch, such as a patterned shirt.

Quick changes

It is common for the office holiday party to take place after work, leaving you no time to go home and spruce yourself up. You may not want to wear your party outfit all day, but you also do not want the annoyance of bringing your entire outfit with you. In this case, wear the basis of your outfit to work, saving the key pieces for later. For example, you may be wearing the pants and shirt that you will be wearing to the party, while stashing your sport coat and tie in the car until they are needed. Also bring basic grooming supplies to make the transition between work and the party. You will need any hair products you tend to use, as well as cologne so you can apply a fresh splash just before the main event. Don?t shave in the office bathrooms over lunch- do all your facial hair grooming that morning, even if it means rocking a five o?clock shadow.

Ditch the ugly Christmas sweater

There is only one time of year when you can wear a Christmas sweater. Unfortunately, you should not wear it to the annual office Christmas party. Save the fun sweaters for your family Christmas celebrations. You can add a Christmas flair, such as a deep green knitted sweater or a gold silk tie, if you really feel the need to get into the holiday spirit. Velvet is a fabric of choice around the holiday season, so a blazer with subtle velvet lapels would be an excellent option. Avoid novelty items and go for a tasteful look instead.

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About Natasha Abrahams Natasha Abrahams is a writer and journalism student from Melbourne, Australia. When she is not busy with being a principal writer on Weekendnotes or skipping lectures, she can be found emptying her wallet at the nearest shopping centre. You can read more from Natasha at:

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