December is the time of festivities and Christmas parties. And one of these parties is your office Christmas party- for some women, a sticky social situation to navigate.

The office Christmas party is often thought as the perfect opportunity to let loose and ruin your carefully cultivated work reputation by drinking one too many G&Ts. And dancing like no one’s watching to “All I want for Christmas is you”.

Well, it’s safe to say that it’s not such a good idea to get too wild at the office party- no matter what industry you’re in and no matter how casual your work environment is. You still want to be able to return to work without any embarrassment.

Overall, it should be a fun night—as long as you don’t overstep any boundaries.

So, here are 6 etiquette rules to keep in mind, followed by outfit inspirations that are appropriate yet “festive” and stylish for an office Christmas party.

Guide to office party Etiquette what to wear

  1. DRESS TO IMPRESS- THE RIGHT WAY.

As much as the office party is a chance to dress up and see your colleagues outside of the office space, remember it’s still a professional setting. The party is more or less an extension of the workday, so it’s still all business.

But that doesn’t mean you have to dress as you do for work. But that low-cut bodycon sequin dress is probably one for the bars and not the office party. Also, avoid ugly Christmas jumpers unless of course, that’s the theme.

Here are some quick pointers on how to dress, so you look stylish yet professional:

  • Choose a modest attire that preserves the professional reputation you have built.
  • Follow the dress code. If there’s no dress code, stick to business formal (with a touch of “festive”).
  • Keep hemlines on the longer side and necklines that keep things conservative. Nothing too short, too tight or too revealing.
  • Avoid loud prints (especially red and green- because Christmas tree), graphics and logo t-shirt.
  • Wear the right undergarments and/or shapewear to avoid any VPL or discomfort.

 

  1. DON’T HOVER AT THE BAR. LIMIT YOUR CONSUMPTION.

Office parties usually have an open bar, and it can be very tempting to go for thirds and fourths, but it may cost you your job. Even if your colleagues are hitting the bar for their nth drink, refrain and get sparkling water instead. Having one or two drinks is absolutely fine, but the office party is the last place you want to over-imbibe. And never drink and drive.

Also, it’s not such a good idea to copy your boss. If your boss likes to let loose at the parties, this doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Remember, you’re still climbing the ladder (even if you are a senior manager).

 

  1. EAT BEFORE YOU GO.

Yes, sounds a bit weird as it’s a party and there will be food. But you were not invited because the management thought you were hungry. You want to keep your hands clean for meeting others and avoid a mouthful of appetisers when you introduce yourself.

Eating protein before an event lessens the effects of alcoholic drinks. This will help you remain comfortable and professional. You still want to remember who you spoke with and what about, the next morning.

 

  1. DON’T CLING TO CO-WORKERS YOU HANG OUT WITH AT WORK.

Office parties are your chance to have a conversation with the senior leaders of your company. If you’ve never met your CEO before, calmly introduce yourself, what department you work in and shake their hand (a handshake should be firm). Remember to hold your drink in your left hand, so your right hand is dry and free to shake. These interactions may well open doors for future opportunities.

Office parties are also an excellent opportunity to know clients and other co-workers. So, greet your colleagues you hang out with daily but then branch out to meet new people. These connections with multiple colleagues from other areas of the organisation will help you cultivate mentors, references and contacts that will be helpful in your career.

 

  1. KEEP CONVERSATIONS LIGHT AND PROFESSIONAL.

Even though it’s a party, and you are allowed to be comfortable, don’t get overly comfortable. By this, I mean there’s a fine line between sharing happy or embarrassing stories about your personal life and divulging inappropriate information. Don’t forget that your superiors may be around you and you may be risking your promotion if they’re paying attention to your conversations.

Also, avoid gossiping, skip controversial topics, and keep a positive vibe. Books, travel and pets are usually good conversation starters.

 

  1. KEEP YOUR PHONE IN YOUR BAG.

If you are constantly on your phone all night, you will be missing out on important face-to-face interactions with colleagues, managers and clients.

Also, these days, social media captures everything. So, it shouldn’t be surprising if some photos or videos from the party are being circulated in the office the next day. Remember this when ordering another drink and hitting the dance floor.

 

OUTFIT INSPIRATION FOR OFFICE PARTIES

You know that the office Christmas party will keep popping up in conversations until the next one so why not make it the one where you look incredibly good.

RED VELVET WRAP DRESS

Office_Party_Outfit_What_to_wear
Wrap Dress On Model: RACHEL ZOE £440 | Wrap Dress Similar: NORDSTROM £83 | Earrings: ISABEL MARANT £70 | Shoulder Bag: COACH £295 | Sandals On Model: JIMMY CHOO £363 | Pumps Suggested: NORDSTROM £115

 

GREEN SATIN WRAP DRESS

Office_Party_Outfit_What_to_wear
Wrap Dress On Model: DEITAS £775 | Wrap Dress Similar: REISS £225 | Earrings: MONICA VINADER £95 | Handbag: CULT GAIA £190 | Sandals On Model: THE ROW £650 | Sandals Similar: REISS £160

 

STATEMENT SEQUIN SKIRT

Office_Party_Outfit_What_to_wear
Sequin Leopard Midi Skirt: KAREN MILLEN £175 | Cross Front Top: REISS £95 | Earrings: VERSACE £220 | Envelope Clutch: REBECCA MINKOFF £100 | Black Pumps: KAREN MILLEN 155

 

PLEATED MIDI SKIRT

Office_Party_Outfit_what_to_wear
Knife Pleat Skirt: REISS £155 | Burnout Pattern Blouse: REISS £165 | Earrings: MONICA VINADER £295 | Embellished Clutch: REISS £125 | Metallic Sandals: REISS £160

 

SLIM TAILORED TROUSERS WITH SILK BLOUSE

Office_Party_Outfit_what_to_wear
Silk Blouse: KITRI £110 | Slim Tailored Trousers: REISS £120 | Earrings: MONICA VINADER £225 | Patent Leather Clutch: M2MALLETIER £694 (Sale) | Suede Pumps: REISS £150

 

WIDE LEG TROUSERS WITH SATIN CAMI AND BLAZER

Office_Party_Outfit_WHAT_TO_WEAR
Wide Leg Trousers: WAREHOUSE £42 | Red Satin Cami: REISS £135 | Satin Lapel Blazer: REISS £250 | Leather Envelope Clutch: ALL SAINTS £128 | Suede Sandals: & OTHER STORIES £69

 

JUMPSUIT WITH METALLIC HEELS

Office_Party_Outfit_What_to_wear
Halterneck Jumpsuit: REISS £225 | Cocktail Earrings: MONICA VINADER £195 | Feather-Trimmed Pouch: LOEFFLER RANDALL £170 | Metallic Sandals: REISS £165

 

Lastly, here are some quick ways to elevate your look if you haven’t had the time to change into your outfit for the party or when you haven’t had the time to plan:

  1. STANDOUT PUMPS

    Pumps are one thing that every professional woman has in her shoe collection. You can take an ordinary outfit to the next level by simply wearing a stand-out pump. Nothing too crazy, a simple patent leather pump will do the trick. Some other materials that will make a statement are velvet, sequins and lace. These will keep your outfit elegant and add a touch of “festive” to your final look.

  2. CLASSIC RED LIP

    It’s hard to go wrong with a red lip. Nothing is more festive than a bold red lip. Even if you like to keep things understated or if you’re a minimalist, adding a red lipstick to an otherwise neutral makeup is going to pull your entire look together. A simple stroke of black eyeliner matched with nothing but a red lip is sophisticated yet glamorous.

  3. FABRICS, TEXTURES AND EMBELLISHMENTS

    A relatively quick and easy way to turn a plain black trouser suit into a party outfit is to add a complementing fabric. Think camisoles or heels or clutches in velvet, lace, brocade, jacquard, and silk. Leather and sequins add a touch of texture and sparkle that can turn your work clothes into “going-out” clothes. A simple tweak is all you need.

  4. COLOURS

    Winter is a fantastic season to play with colours. Most women tend to wear black, thinking that colours are for spring or summer only. Deep winter hues like emerald green, ruby red, navy blue, teal blue, aubergine, burnt orange, deep mustard when paired with a neutral such as black, ivory, charcoal and navy can impart a dull monochrome look a charismatic and vibrant feel.

  5. A STATEMENT PIECE

    Even if your overall outfit is simple, one single simple statement piece can elevate your entire look. Remember to wear just one statement piece only. It could be a pair of earrings, a bracelet, a clutch, footwear or a scarf. You can also make a statement without any accessories by wearing a classic hairstyle like a low bun. When you think of statement, think about the one thing that you want people to notice about your overall presence.

 

Which is your favourite outfit?

What are you wearing to your office Christmas party this year? 

Let me know in the comments below x

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