Master Your Office Holiday Party in Style
The office holiday party has become the stuff of myth, with many films and TV shows featuring all of the hijinks that can happen when co-workers are combined with alcoholic egg nog. Although you probably can’t stop Matt in Accounting from finally professing undying love for his boss, your outfit is the one element that remains completely in the realm of your control.
Whether you’re rocking a Mrs. Claus ensemble or an ugly Christmas sweater for the ages, why not go for the gusto? After all, these are the kind of holiday fireworks that occur but once a year. You may as well take advantage—just make sure there’s no mistletoe in the room! Also, sticking to just one or two drinks is probably in your best interest.
Here are five incredible outfits that will take the focus away from any awkward happenings at your office party.
The Holiday “Nod” Outfit
Sometimes you’re in a hurry, or rushing from an out-of-town meeting—or maybe you just haven’t made the holiday party a huge priority in your life. Regardless, you still need to do something in order to make it look like you care—and honor the time-honored tradition. Otherwise, your boss is bound to be angry.
The Holiday Nod outfit happens when a little bit of bedazzlement can go a long way. When you’re stretched for time, it’s not a bad idea to reach for a pair of reindeer antlers, a necklace that lights up, or even an iconic Santa hat. Most of these items can be found at discount stores and other convenient spots, so you can even pick them up on your way to the big bash.
If you’re a woman, chances are you can get away with using glitter eyeshadow to convey a festive mood. People will be so focused on your face that they will forget to notice that you’re wearing your normal attire.
The Holiday Nod Outfit is designed for those who have limited time and/or few options. If you’re in a true bind, just make a necklace out of your Christmas tree’s tinsel and call it a day. After all, although the holiday office party may be a stressor, the most important outfit that you can wear is your positive attitude. This is your one opportunity to get to know your co-workers outside of the limited confines of work, so make the most out of it and get there on time.
The Ugly Christmas Sweater
Nothing screams “holiday party” like an ugly Christmas sweater, but you’ve got to pick the right one to make a great impression.
You need something that boasts just the right amount of embellishments and color combinations. Go for the gold when shopping for such a sweater; in this case, you’ll find that the best gems are vintage and can be found on eBay or at Goodwill, and fancier contemporary sweaters can be found on apparel websites.
Also, since the top of your outfit will speak for itself, you’ll probably want to stick to the basics when it comes to your pants and/or skirt. Just don’t wear jeans, as this will totally detract from the formality of your themed ensemble.
Something That Sparkles
A sequined dress or tie can be a wonderful item to keep in your closet all year, in fact. With theme parties and weddings popping up all over the place, you’ll probably have a number of opportunities to wear it throughout the year. There’s nothing like a sparkly piece of attire to let your supervisors know that you are taking the holiday party seriously.
If you don’t feel like having this item take up space in your closet, then you may want to check out the many apparel rental websites that exist to supply you with specialty items.
The All-Out Outfit
When you’ve been tired at work lately and need to save face by showing some “school spirit”, it may behoove you to come in costume. Santa Claus can be a difficult look to pull off, but almost everyone can dress as an elf and women usually have an easy time finding Mrs. Claus costumes.
However, you don’t necessarily need to be wearing a costume in order to rock an All-Out Outfit. Recently, some humorous designers of men’s suits have come up with ensembles that consist of huge candy cane designs and other holiday imagery. These suits are often bright red or green and are covered in holiday iconography. When you roll up to the office party in one of these, no one can possibly doubt your commitment to the cause.
The Understated Holiday Ensemble
When you’ve run out of options—or you’re unsure of what type of wardrobe will be acceptable—there’s no shame in showing up in your very best basics. If you have a simple suit that makes you look fantastic, then slide right into that thing. Although you may want to wear something wild, there are many good reasons to take your corporate culture into account when dressing for the office holiday party.
The most important thing you can do is wear something that is both comfortable and somewhat stylish. Not everyone at the company will be a fan of bold looks—and your choices may live on for eternity. After all, chances are that many photos will be taken at the party. A truly wild outfit may not be your best option, depending upon where you work. You want to be seen in your best light. People underestimate the beauty of wearing a nicely tailored suit or a cute LBD (little black dress) to the holiday party.
You’re Bound to be the Best-Dressed
As long as you follow the dress code and stay relatively sober, there’s nothing that you can’t accomplish at your office holiday party! When your supervisors look at you, they’re bound to see a guy or gal who is ascending the corporate ladder with style. Chances are that your outfit will already be winning, but here’s hoping that your office party has a raffle—and that you come up with the matching number!
Rachel is a freelance content writer. She has written for a variety of different industries, including business, healthcare, technology, travel, education, and lifestyle. In her free time, Rachel enjoys practicing yoga and writing about the fashion industry.