06 Dec

Getting Dressed For The Holiday Party

As the holiday season approaches companies will start planning their festive parties. It’s often difficult to decipher the various dress codes listed on the invitation like updated casual, festive attire, or dressy attire. Follow these tips to look stylish and festive and to ensure you are appropriately dressed at all business gatherings this holiday season.

Updated Casual

An invitation that states updated casual indicates a dress code somewhere between business formal and weekend casual. It is a little dressier than your business casual. You can definitely wear business formal dress (a suit), but here are a few of my other updated ideas:

  • Women – Select a dressy style jacket like one made out of velveteen, jacquard, or a new modern jacket worn over a satin blouse or camisole. Wear this with a dressy style of satin or velveteen jeans, or casual dressy trousers. Finish off the look with some dressy sandals or a new shoe bootie to look stylish.
  • Men – Choose a tweed or herringbone sport coat worn over a polo-style merino sweater or a solid sport shirt. Wear this with a pair of khakis or dress trousers. Another look is a v-neck sweater worn with a sport shirt paired with a pair of khakis and leather slip-on moccasins.

Festive Attire

This style of attire calls for colors and prints of the season. Remember though that a little color and print can go a long way when dressing in this holiday style.

  • Men & Women – Wear beautiful colors like red, forest green, old gold, or platinum silver in your dresses, blouses, ties, shoes and handbags.
  • Women – An elegant style dress in a deep rich color or a claret red silky blouse worn with winter white pants would look very festive. Add a pair of red or black patent shoes or evening sandals to complete the look.
  • Men – A gentleman wearing a dark suit worn with a beautiful red satin power tie or a diagonal strip with colors like forest green and old gold looks festive and you can wear these items all year round with other dress shirts and suits. For dressy attire wear a dress shirt made out of a dressier fabric to look appropriate at this level.
  • Wearing Prints – If your personality wants to wear a festive print, select a great sweater from Ralph Lauren for women or Polo for men with a reindeer print on a classic pullover. You could also choose a holiday print tie or socks made out of a small print. Be sure to keep your prints to the small to medium range so that you don’t let them overwhelm you.

Dressy Attire

Dressy attire indicates that the occasion is not formal black tie, but one step below that level. When an invitation calls for this type of dress, it usually indicates that the setting and the environment will be a bit more formal than a casual affair.

  • Men – A suit is always a good choice for this dress code. This is a great time to wear your French-cuffed shirt with your cufflinks. If you want to wear a sport coat, select a black jacket worn with a black dress shirt and no tie, or a black or gray turtleneck paired with charcoal dress pants and black dress shoes.
  • Women – dressy attire calls for dressier fabrics, jewelry, shoes and accessories. This season it’s all about ?shine.? You could wear a dressy suit made out of a more luxurious fabric or try a dressy, stylish dress made out of satin, silk or taffeta in a beautiful rich color. Try some new colors this season that match your skin tone. Everyone wears black and it’s all about color this fall/winter season. Choose some shiny metallic sandals or evening shoes and a great handbag that complement the shoes. This is the time to bring out those diamond and cubic zirconia necklace and earrings to sparkle and shine.

When attending a corporate office party, you can dress up and express yourself with your style. However, don’t wear clothes that are too revealing. When your party invitation arrives, plan to shop early while there are still great selections in the store to find the perfect party wear!

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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