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Style Advice

Style SOS: What should I wear to my office Christmas party?

Style SOS: What should I wear to my office Christmas party?

"My office Christmas party is coming up, and I'm not sure what vibe I should be going for. Can you give me some advice as to what I should wear?" - Andy via Facebook

Why is it that deciding what to wear to an office Christmas party can be harder than your actual day-to-day job? All we can say is that, Andy, you’re not alone. We’re all trying to capture the festive spirit without looking like a glittery fool in front of our bosses – does he or she even find an elf head jumper funny? 

The first thing to consider is the party dress code – this will help you decide whether to go dapper or kitschy. Then you can decide how much of a statement about your personality you’re willing to make. If your party calls for fun, feel free to embrace poms poms, bells, and whacky patterns, but keep in mind the cost it has on the environment. 

“You can get away with slightly novelty, fun items at a Christmas party, but don’t buy anything especially for the occasion,” says stylist Luke McDonald. “If you’re not going to wear it again, don’t do it. It’s bad for the environment, and it will sit in your closet taking up space.” 

If the dress code is black tie, you can’t go too far wrong, but if you want to make the formal look more personal to you, why not try something a little more fun than your average tuxedo? A velvet jacket will add a classy and luxurious element to your look without breaking the dress code. Try it in rich, seasonal colours like emerald green or even a deep purple for an extra drop of festive feeling. 

If your party has no clear dress code, lean smart. Smart casual can sound elusive for an evening event, so err on the side of caution and don’t take it to mean ‘wear what you would wear on a casual Friday’. Avoid tracksuit bottoms and scruffy trainers, or anything that says, ‘I just dragged myself off the sofa and didn’t really want to come’. 

“If you have something you’d be nervous to wear into work because people might comment on it, or it’s a bit more daring than usual, then this is the time to wear it. Whether that’s a jazzy tie or socks, a printed bomber jacket, or a nice textured fabric, this is the perfect occasion for elevated smart casual dressing,” Luke says.

Look to wintry fabrics like corduroy and wool for suits, or wear the trousers and jacket as separates. Thicker materials make for great seasonal dressing, as the texture gives your look a deeper, warmer feel. If suits aren’t your style, a simple check flannel shirt in green and red, or even brown, is sure to hit the spot when paired with slim fit jeans. Once you’ve made up your mind about your look, you can confront the next big question: whether to go for hot toddy or mulled wine. 

Words: Ella White
Illustration: Ryan Gillett