Holiday Party Attire – Fashion Design Tips For What to Wear (And What Not to Wear)


What are the holidays without the holiday parties? But as much as we love a good party, it does get stressful looking in the closet and thinking you have nothing to wear. Relax. Any fashion school grad will tell you that you probably have the core elements to the perfect holiday outfit in your closet already. You just have to know how to build on it. The dos and don’ts of what to wear change depending on the type of party, so here are some helpful hints to help you celebrate the season in style.

The dressy party.

Do: Start with the basics. Whether you’re heading to a chic cocktail party or a more formal affair, the proverbial little black dress is a great classic to build upon. In fact, unless you’re going to an embassy ball, something knee-length is appropriate for most dressy occasions. Think chic and simple, and leave the glitz to your shoes, accessories, purse, and perhaps a jacket. For this season’s most fashion forward look, don a cape over the ensemble. As for the men, a dark suit always looks handsome. But try wearing a colored shirt with a coordinating tie so the suit isn’t so serious.

Don’t: Overdo the glitz. A dressy party is not an excuse to go crazy with sequins, feathers, faux fur or metallic gold and silver. Keep embellishments limited to your accessories. And do not wear a poufy ball gown or a tiara. That goes for the guys, too.

The office party.

Do: Remember that you will still be in a professional work environment, even if the party is off campus. The key is to not veer too far from how you normally dress; start with a tried and true office look, and then add some zing to it. For example, if you typically wear a pantsuit, swap out a shimmering turtleneck for the blouse. Or wear the blazer with a pencil skirt instead of the pants. As with the dressy party, you can also add instant glamour to your look with some strappy shoes or a sparkly evening bag.

Don’t: Show too much skin. Do not use the occasion of an office party to show everyone your physical assets. This is not your chance to come out of your shell. And men are guilty of this fashion faux pas as well. Guys who unbutton a few too many buttons or sport tight leather jeans will have their co-workers talking about them for all the wrong reasons.

The friendly get-together.

Do: At casual holiday gatherings with friends and family, you have a little more leeway in what to wear, but you should still dress like you have some fashion design sense, or at least common sense. Fish around beforehand to see what other people will be wearing, so you can be in the same ballpark. Of course, the most wonderful thing to wear at an informal gathering is cashmere. If you have ever hugged someone wearing cashmere, you know why you’ll be the most embraced person at the party.

Don’t: Wear themed holiday clothes. Step away from the Christmas sweaters. Put down that necktie that lights up. They may look fun now, but photographs will be taken, and these photographs will haunt you for years to come.

Sure, it can be stressful navigating the rules of what to wear for a holiday party, but remember the most important rule of all: have some fun.


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