Ah, the office Christmas party! A time to connect with your colleagues over canapes and cocktails, celebrate the end of another working year, and maybe get to know them a little better, away from the stress and formality of the office.
The office Christmas party, however, can also be a sartorial minefield for those who secretly quite like having a dress code to stick to, and don’t have a clue what to wear when their trusty tailored dress or trouser suit is off limits. To help you along, here are 5 style mistakes to avoid at the office Christmas party…
01. Dressing like you’re going to the club afterwards
Even if you ARE going to the club afterwards, it’s not a great idea to break out that bodycon mini dress in front of your boss – and your boss’s boss. And your boss’s boss’s boss. And so on an so forth. You might not be at the office, but you WILL be back in the office after the holidays, and you’ll be seeing all the same people who are now seeing your cleavage in all its unrestrained glory. You don’t have to be quite as buttoned-up as you would be in a totally professional setting, but it IS a good idea to still try to present a professional image – so if you’d wear it to the club, maybe stash it in your bag and change into AFTER the office party.
02. Dressing like you’re at the office
If your office party is just a few drinks around the photocopier at the end of the working day, then you’re obviously not going to have much of an option here, but if the Christmas party is taking place off the premises, and you’ll be going home to change first, don’t just turn up in something you’d wear to work. You might think it’s the safest – and therefore best – option, but while it will at least ensure you don’t make mistake number one, it will ALSO make you look like a bit of a party pooper, who resents being forced to have fun. Even if you ARE reluctant attendee at the office bash, and are just waiting it out until you can make your exit without causing offence, it’s a good idea to keep those thoughts to yourself, and try to at least LOOK like you’re joining in. So put your game face on – and your party clothes, too.
03. Wearing the same thing every year
We all know that person who has just the one party outfit, and who rolls it out every year, and to every special event. We’re not saying you have to maintain a closet full of sequins, or invest a lot of money in clothes you’ll hardly ever wear, but if your little black dress has started to become a standing joke, and your colleagues are taking bets on whether or not you’ll manage to get one more year out of it, it might be time for a refresh.
04. Wearing something totally over the top
The office party is a good opportunity to let your colleagues get to know the ‘real’ you, as opposed to the work version of yourself which you present Monday – Friday. It’s NOT, however, an opportunity to show off and make yourself the centre of attention, so even if you think it’ll be hilarious to turn up dressed as Santa Claus, or wearing a sweater that plays Jingle Bells, try to resist…
05. Not making an effort
At the opposite end of the scale are those people who REALLY can’t be bothered, and who don’t mind showing it. Even if you’d rather be somewhere else, try to remember that your employer has made the effort to do something nice: it’s only fair that you ALSO make an effort, and leave the sweatpants at home…