What to Wear to Your Work Christmas Party

It’s the first week of December! The warm weather’s kicked in, Christmas decorations are in the shops, everyone’s in the party mood and the office Christmas party invite has just landed on your desk.

Once the excitement (or eye-rolling) has worn off, every girl’s next thought is inevitably ‘what am I going to wear?’  And rightly so! Dressing for a work party can be stressful and fraught with faux pas (no, going in green and red for the occasion is not exempt!)

Whether it’s barefoot bowls, a cocktail party at the local club, a BBQ in the basement or a full-blown gala dinner complete with dance floor and DJ: there’s a certain etiquette which must be followed when you party with your colleagues.

If you’re normally a slap-dash kind of girl who’s ready to party in just about any old pyjamas, take a moment to consider that you’ll be sharing your Christmas canapes with your boss, and mingling with the company’s Executives. How you present yourself for the occasion says a lot about you (and can also be a reflection on your manager), so it pays to put a little more thought into your outfit than you normally would.

(With all that being said, it’s also a chance to scrub up, show off your personality and prove you’re the perfect candidate for that promotion you’ve been chasing – impressions count!)

Stressing out? Breathe, relax, no need. Here’s six tips for dressing well for your work Christmas occasion:

  1. Dress to the code

First thing’s first - consider the venue, and time of day.  The function room at the local pub for lunch and a drink will require a different dress code than a mystery bus ride to a club in the city for dinner. If the invitation doesn’t include a dress code or if you’re not sure, choose an outfit which can chameleon from something on the casual side into something super-dressy with a few well-chosen pieces of jewellery, or some lipstick added on the go. Little black dresses were invented for such an occasion! As a general rule, reserve sparkles for the evening. 

  1. Dress to impress

Especially if you’re stuck with a boring work uniform every day it can be tempting to go with your best outfit, but think twice before slipping into the slinkiest thing you can find. The ‘work do’ is the perfect place to reveal your personality – but anything more revealing than that is inappropriate. Turning heads at the work Christmas party for all the wrong reasons is most certainly to be avoided. Your reputation won’t escape you once the party is over. Be playful, but make sure you have class. 

  1. Dress occasion appropriate

Can you remember that year the guy from IT went for a swim in the fountain.. before you made it onto the wrong tram and walked 10km’s in your stilettos to get home at 4am? Following on from point number two, work Christmas parties (or after-parties) can sometimes get crazy – and if you think the occasion is going to go that way, don’t kid yourself - dress accordingly. Avoid white if your work-do is at the local BBQ joint, and beware very short (or very long) dresses and sky-high heels. Also try and avoid anything that is complicated to do up (or which might have to be taped into place) – you never know where you’ll end up, your night will be so much more enjoyable if you’re prepared! 

  1. Shop smart

If you don’t have anything ready-to-wear in the wardrobe already, shop smart. Keep it simple, keep it classy, and shop in advance. Never wear something for the first time at your Christmas party! Stay away from anything sheer or too tight, even if it’s on sale and you’d totally wear it to your girlfriend’s 30th. Clothing made from dressier fabrics in neutral, monochrome or seasonal colours you can accessorise with a pop of colour will ensure your new purchase gets air-time long after the last dance at this year’s work Christmas event. Fad fashion isn’t the go. 

  1. Accessorise to Organise

We all know that one girl with the Mary Poppins bag which seems to have a never-ending supply of spare lip gloss, bandaids, nurofen, tissues, deodorant, hair-ties, sunscreen and more. This year, that girl is you! Go prepared with a stash of savvy-girls essentials. Especially if your role is administrative or clerical, (or if you’re going for that promotion), this is a great opportunity to demonstrate your preparedness – not to mention potentially save you and your colleagues many blisters! Select a clutch or handbag which matches your chosen outfit. 

  1. Buy a jacket

Lastly – don’t spend hours selecting and assembling the perfect outfit only to throw your work jacket on for the trip in. Your outerwear shouldn’t be an afterthought! Your decolletage may look fabulous in the top you’ve chosen, but there’s no point pretending you won’t need a jacket for the way (or way home). Get yourself a smart, warm and lightweight jacket, cardi or shrug which compliments your outfit. Looking great in transit is just as important! 

So there you have it, the six rules to live by at this time of year! Start thinking about your ensemble as early as you can, and take every opportunity to try it out before the day.  

Being comfortable, relaxed and enjoying the occasion is more important than having the standout outfit of the night, so be sensible as well as playful, and go with the flow. Merry Christmas!

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