As December steams steadily towards the holidays, we are once again faced with that age-old question: What should we wear to the holiday office party?
Choosing a professional-but-not-dowdy look is hard enough during the workweek – add festive to the equation and outfitting yourself suddenly seems impossible. However, festivity and professionalism do not have to be mutually exclusive. Somewhere between Frosty the Snowman sweaters and pant suits, there exists a jovial-but-respectable middle ground. To ensure your outfit lands squarely and stylishly in that middle ground, first establish the event’s formality. Ask your female colleagues what they plan to wear if the invitation’s dress code is unclear. Once you’ve gauged the general dressiness, use our selections to fill in outfit specifics. You’ll be set to celebrate your year of professional accomplishments in style!
The above look deftly manages the day to night transition. Tossed on with white pants (no longer a post-Labor Day no-no), an aubergine blouse and neutral accessories, this velvet blazer is boardroom appropriate. Swap out your sensible daytime shoes and bag for their glittery nighttime counterparts, though, and your look becomes playfully party appropriate.
The key here, as with so many of fashion’s great dilemmas, is accessorizing. Clothing is rife with potential for missteps when you’re trying to balance personal style and professionalism. Too often informal “party attire” can read as overly casual or, worse, suggestive, in an office setting. Accessories, though, are rarely risqué and can just as easily set a festive tone. Glittery pumps and a sequined clutch inject just the right note of fun!
For the more formal office affair, resist the urge to pull out Old Faithful the Timeless LBD for the nth time. While classics are classic for a reason, you’ll feel a little too traditional in a sea of other Audrey Hepburn-inspired sleeveless black dresses. Instead, try a twist on the classic with a little (black and/or white) lace dress. A fabric that connotes both tea party doilies and lingerie in popular imagination is sophistication incarnate when fitted over one of these demure, pretty frocks. Because the LLD (that’s little lace dress for you abbreviation averse) is at once classic and fresh, and you’re free to get creative with styling. Heels are a given, but don’t be afraid to experiment with a colorful pair. Also, the addition of opaque black tights or a tuxedo jacket will add visual interest to your ensemble. Personal sartorial benefits notwithstanding, a well-styled outfit instantly indicates innovation to your coworkers!
If you have a number of holiday events to attend, note that the Nicole Miller option is a Rent the Runway find. This well-edited site rents out designer clothing and jewelry for a fraction of the retail cost. Scores of event-appropriate outfits at bargain basement prices? Happy holidays indeed!