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Holiday Party Style Guide

The holidays are a great time to dress up, throwback eggnog, wander under mistletoe, and party. But in all the excitement, figuring out what to wear can be a pre-party burden. With more formal parties, work-related events, and your casual friend get together, let’s dress you up for any of these holiday occasions.

Some considerations when styling for your networking event include:

Time of day: Evening events are often more formal than daytime ones. 

Venue setting: You can adjust your outfit for an indoor or outdoor setting.

The industry: Some industries have different norms than others which can impact how you dress regardless of time of day and setting.

Do's & Don'ts

Do's

  1. Embrace the festive spirit and feel free to lightly sparkle and shine. Subtle nods to holiday colors are always welcome.
  2. Know what you’re walking into. A formal holiday party will resemble most formal events with cocktail attire, but an ugly christmas sweater party is your time to let loose.
  3. Balance with accessories, like statement jewelry or scarves.
  4. Prioritize comfortable and festive footwear no matter the occasion.
  5. A touch of sparkle in your makeup or a festive hairstyle can add to the spirit of the holidays.

Don'ts

  1. Forget the dress code. Be sure to know what you’re walking into.
  2. Sacrifice comfort for fashion and regret that sweater or shoe choice at the end of the night.
  3. Wear overly revealing outfits (especially at that work party).
  4. Forget about the weather. It’s winter and it’s cold—be sure to incorporate your jacket with your fit.
  5. Forget the festive cheer. Even the most formal events allow you to add a bit of holiday flair to your attire.

What to Wear to a Formal Christmas Party

Men

A tuxedo with a white shirt, black bow tie, and minimal accessories is the traditional option for a very formal holiday party. A festive pocket square adds that holiday touch of cheer. A well-fitting dark suit with a dress shirt and festive tie creates a polished alternate look to a tux. Either way, complete your outfit with polished leather shoes.

Women

For a timeless choice, a classic cocktail dress in fabric like velvet or sequins (not too much sparkle though) works perfectly. Jewel tones like emerald green or ruby red embrace the season, while black is always a sophisticated look. If dresses aren’t your thing, separates like a skirt with a statement top, or dress pants with a more elegant top offer a stylish alternative. Accessorize with jewelry, a clutch, and heels.

What to Wear to a Company Holiday Party

Men

While a suit and tie is still a safe bet, you can loosen it up with a patterned dress shirt and a tie with a seasonal touch. Dress pants and a collared shirt (dress shirt or button-down) offer a versatile and alternate option as well. If you prefer a sweater, choose a well-fitting pullover in a color like burgundy or emerald green, paired with dress pants and a collared shirt.

Women

A dress is a versatile option, but also dress pants or a skirt with a festive top or sweater works. You can elevate your look with a statement necklace. If the party calls for a more casual option, dress pants with a sweater and booties is a nice way to go.

What to Wear to a Casual Holiday Party

Men

A stylish and comfortable look with a solid foundation of dress pants or dark wash jeans pairs nicely with a collared shirt or sweater. A blazer or cardigan adds a touch of sophistication if you choose. A printed shirt or patterned tie can add a festive touch to your fit. Leather loafers or boots with minimal accessories complete your look.

Women

Dress pants or a festive skirt in neutral or jewel tones paired with a blouse, sweater, or knit top creates a good base for your outfit. If you want, adding a neutral-colored blazer or cardigan gives your outfit a nice touch as well. Flats or booties are comfortable shoe options and minimal jewelry keeps things comfortable. Your finishing touches could be a belt and a clutch.

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