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Style Advice

Style SOS: How do I dress for party season this year?

Style SOS: How do I dress for party season this year?

"Party season looks a lot different this year. Most of my events are small gatherings or Zoom parties, but I still want to change out of my sweats and even look a little festive. Any tips for how to pull this off without wearing a tartan suit?" - Dan via Facebook 

With most of us turning to Zoom festivities in place of office parties and gatherings with friends, you’re right about party season looking pretty different this year. While you won’t have to worry about being the guy who uses up most of the company bar tab or having to navigate a drunk Uber home, it doesn't quite erase the issues of awkward small talk with colleagues and – more importantly – deciding what to wear.

“Unless it’s a requirement of the dress code, avoid novelty jumpers,” says stylist Toby Standing. “It might seem like the obvious choice since your outfit will only be seen from the chest upward, but kooky designs won’t look good on a webcam. And since you’re not leaving your home office, you might as well prioritise comfort.”

For most of us this year, comfort has been the main priority when choosing what to wear – at parties, and every day. So unless a suit and tie is your usual work from home garb, there’s probably no need for one at this year’s festive events. “If you’re going to be sitting at your desk or sofa on a Zoom call, nobody expects you to go all-out,” Toby says. “Bear in mind that the action of making an effort doesn’t always have to be for somebody else.” Instead, focus on finding something that makes you feel good, and don’t overthink it. 

“Take what you’ve been wearing at home this year and dial it up a few notches,” Toby says. Instead of your cosy old sweater, go for a festive-feeling cable-knit or you want something more elevated try a cashmere jumper worn over a polo shirt. It’s an easy at-home smart casual look, and you can remove a layer if you get too warm. To make your party vibe feel complete you could switch your sweats for some comfy drawstring trousers that pull the outfit together. 

This slight elevation of simple pieces strikes the perfect balance between comfy at-home clothing, and making an effort. And the main benefit of a Zoom Christmas party? You can always wear your PJs and slippers on the bottom.

Words: Ella White
Illustration: Ryan Gillett