Wardrobe 101: The Office Holiday Party

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December 1, 2011

It’s that time of year – the dreaded office party. Whether you bring your significant other or fly solo, the business holiday party often can make or break careers – one wrong move, or one cocktail too many – and you are the talk of the party, and NOT in a good way. You’re here to have fun, and you should. Just not too much. And what should you wear? Here are my tips on how to make it through the season without a fashion misstep:

Clue into the Boss(es)

A good rule of thumb to follow when deciding on what to wear is to look to the C-suite. If the executives typically wear conservative suits and/or dresses, then you should too. Even if your best friend at work is wearing a short dress with cleavage down to there, it doesn’t mean it gives you a license too as well. Chances are, you will be more respected if you dress according to the executive culture rather than your outlandish comrades. Put that outfit on hold for another holiday party.

If a Teenager Would Wear It…

Even if you have a killer body, look amazing in that Herve Leger bandage dress, and you’re just dying to show it off (after all it did take hours at the gym and six months of no Chardonnay to get it) – if you’re teenage daughter/niece/nephew/neighbor would wear it out, then you shouldn’t. At least not for a work function. Maybe if it’s a night on the town with your girlfriends, but it isn’t appropriate for work. Ever.

Perfect Form

If you’re still not certain which way to go, the little black dress (LBD) is always the right call. Choose one you love, feel great in and know won’t raise any eyebrows (except to show off your fantastic sense of style). If you want to dress it up a bit more than usual, you can have fun with accessories. Add a large cuff or big dangling earrings and finish it off with killer heels (bonus points if they are not black).

Follow these simple tips and you’ll avoid being the target of any office party gossip. It may seem like the time to cut loose, but I promise you, when it’s a business function, you are always on the clock.

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