Work the Party: What to Wear to an Office Holiday Event
There are two types of people in this world: Those who find holiday office parties mind-numbingly boring, and those who love watching the R-rated disaster that inevitably unfolds year after year. From the fresh-faced intern who gets absolutely smashed (really, did no one tell her the eggnog was spiked?) to the two flirty coworkers who sneak off halfway through the party, holiday office parties can be–well, something else.
Whether your holiday office parties are actually this exciting or a total snoozefest, the best part of the event is getting to shake up your daily office attire and incorporate some festive style into your basic workwear. Unless your boss has already informed everyone that he plans on wearing his ugly cat sweater—you know, the one that says, “Meowwy Christmas” on it—then you should probably come up with a few work-appropriate party outfits ASAP.
Looking for some fresh ideas on what to wear to an office holiday party? Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite holiday office party outfit ideas that are fun, festive, and–best of all–won’t get you sent to HR the following Monday.
Holiday Party Outfit Ideas for Women
When it comes to deciding what to wear to an office holiday party, the ladies have a slew of seasonal options that are statement-making yet tasteful. Ideally, you’re looking for an outfit that says, “I have meetings on Monday,” but also, “Step aside, because I’m about to go HAM on this rum punch.”
Okay, so you probably know better than to pull a Frank the Tank and go hard on the booze, but you get the picture. For a holiday outfit that is both classy and festive, here are three seasonally-inspired looks that are perfect for hobnobbing with the boss in-between sips of your Christmas martini:
Outfit Idea #1: Cozy Pullover with a Skirt
Move over, sweater dress. This year, it’s all about the pullover sweater and skirt combo, an ultra-chic pairing that can be worn year-round and styled a million different ways.
Why do we love the sweater and skirt combo? For starters, pullovers and sweaters are super cozy and flattering. Plus, they’re great for hiding stomach bloat after you polish off the entire holiday cheese all by yourself–ahem, not that we’ve done that or anything…
The sweater and skirt combo is also ridiculously easy to layer (you can add tights for extra warmth) and incredibly fun to accessorize. Consider adding a festive touch with a gold clutch, sparkly booties or a bold red lip to give your 9-5 look some holiday pizzazz.
Outfit Idea #2: An Edgy Velvet Suit
If your holiday office party dress code is on the formal side, consider stepping out in a gorgeous velvet suit and heels. Luxe and beautiful, velvet is the perfect wintry fabric for the holiday season and will do an amazing job at keeping you warm when the bartenders finally stop making that delicious hot toddy (*sends a string of crying emojis to boss*).
And while celebrities have been known to rock nothing underneath their blazer jackets, you’ll definitely want to style a women’s collared shirt underneath to keep it work appropriate. Oh yeah, and one last piece of advice: Make sure that you choose your blouse color wisely! You don’t want your shirt to show your pit stains while you’re belting out “Jingle Bell Rock” during karaoke.
Outfit Idea #3: A Preppy Dress with Festive Flair
If you’re still unsure about what to wear to an office party, you can never go wrong wearing preppy dresses to your seasonal office soirees. Pick a dress in a festive hue (red, green, gold, black, etc.) or a seasonal pattern (plaid FTW) and pair it with a chic blazer. Complete the look with sequin flats to add some much-needed sparkle to your outfit.
And remember, no plunging necklines! Unless you’re Mariah Carey, the Queen of Christmas herself, you need to take a hard pass on the deep V-neck dresses and body-hugging numbers.
Holiday Party Outfit Ideas for Men
Alright guys, it’s your turn to work the party and turn up the volume on your workday style. When choosing what to wear to an office holiday party, you want something that is: A) dressy enough to pass your office party dress code; B) festive enough to prove that you’re not a total grinch; and C) comfortable enough to show off your dance moves that you know will make an appearance shortly after your second beer.
Although it might sound like a tall order, we’ve got a few menswear looks that are guaranteed to help get you through the holiday office party season in style. Here are three holiday outfit ideas to rock your next holiday office bash:
Outfit Idea #1: A Casual Button-Down Shirt with Chinos
If your holiday office party is being held at the office itself (yawn) or at a casual venue, you really don’t need to overthink your outfit. Aim for something that says, “I’m here to party, but I also have to face the boss on Monday.”
For example, consider sticking with your casual button-down shirts that can be worn on and off the clock. Layer your favorite button-down with a festive sweater (not of the ugly variety) and pair with a classic pair of chinos. Then, once everyone inevitably bails the party after an hour, you can easily transition your look to go bar-hopping with the super-fun coworkers (and leave the Debbie Downer from Accounting behind).
Outfit Idea #2: A Swanky Suit and Turtleneck Combo
Figuring out what to wear to an office holiday party is tricky, especially when the venue is on the formal side. Office parties held on fancy yachts, for example, probably don’t call for your everyday office attire.
Instead, focus on elevating your 9-5 look by swapping your button-down shirt for a stylish turtleneck that gives off instant James Bond vibes. Pair your turtleneck with some plaid wool pants (yes, you can definitely pull it off) and finish your look with your slickest watch.
Outfit Idea #3: A Sport Coat and Textured Sweater
Whether your office holiday party is being held at the CEO’s enormous mansion (so that’s where last year’s Christmas bonuses went…) or your local brewery down the street, you can’t go wrong with wearing a sport coat over a textured sweater. This cozy-looking combo is the perfect business casual look that is both effortlessly sophisticated and easy-going.
Wear a festive, button-down shirt underneath your sweater (think red plaid or solid maroon) and finish the look with wingtips or Chelsea boots. And there you go, guys. A holiday office party outfit that is sure to fool everyone into thinking you didn’t just do jello shots in the breakroom or use the photocopier for–ahem–questionable purposes.
A Holiday Office Party to Remember
Even the most low-key holiday office parties usually have some unspoken dress code that needs to be followed. If you’re not sure what to wear to an office holiday party, just stick with one of these 9-5 approved looks and you should be ready to party with the best of them.