Saturday, November 27, 2010

Renee's Guide to the Holidays- Part 2: The Office Holiday Party

One thing I will miss about AMT is the annual Christmas party. Everyone gets so dressed up and the food is always incredible. There are usually very generous gifts from the company owners. I once won a free hot-air-balloon ride for two. If you recall, last year I made this dress for the company party:

It was quite a project, but ultimately I was thrilled with the final product. I've since worn the dress (without the petticoat) a few different ways, and I hope to post them on the blog eventually. I've been really terrible about taking photos lately. But I digress... the point here is to talk about the office Christmas party. 

You may remember my post this past summer about dressing for a company event like a summer picnic, but often the annual Holiday party is a whole different ballgame. Even so, I want to offer you much of the same advice I offered for the summer post. 

First consider the venue- where is the event being held and what type of attire is generally required at that venue? Is it a swank hotel ballroom that your company rents out for the night? A fancy sit-down dinner at a nice local restaurant? Or a potluck meal around the copy machine? The venue helps dictate the attire. If your company actually sends out a formal invitation, it's likely the event itself will also be quite formal. Ask your coworkers what they have worn to the past parties. (Note: ask more than one coworker. Take an informal survey to get a true idea of what is expected.) Much like the summer picnic, this event is still work-related, so you should exercise a level of professionalism even with a party outfit. Ladies, don't wear a micro-mini with a low-cut top. Keep it tasteful. However, feel free to let your personality show through your sartorial choices. If you work at a company with an extremely strict dress code, the holiday party is your chance to break free from that, if only for a night. 

One safe bet for any fancy event is the LBD. Need some ideas? Try these: 

You can never fail with an LBD. Choosing an LBD is something I could dedicate MULTIPLE blog posts to and still not cover everything there is to know. The one thing I can cover, though, is how great the LBD works for just about everything. Sure, there are variations upon variations and the accessories can take it to an entirely different level, but for just about any situation, an LBD will do the job. 

Not everyone wants to go with a standard LBD, though. In that case, you might consider a bold party dress. Whether it's a bright color, or covered in beads and sequins, a party dress tells the world that you are there to be noticed. This is not a look for the wallflower, but rather for the woman who wants to stand out from the crowd.

Of course, dresses aren't for everyone. I understand that. Some people are just more comfortable in separates- they'd rather wear a nice pair of pants with a festive top, or mix and match their favorite party pieces like a full skirt and a sequin top. There's nothing wrong with that at all. 

Although I didn't accessorize much (if at all) in these picture sets, that doesn't mean I think you should do the same. I love the way accessories can completely change the tone of an outfit. For example, the tulle skirt and sequin top in the last set would be completely transformed with a pair of edgy ankle boots or cage sandals. And while the black tuxedo pant and satin top seems very tame on its own, it can take on an entirely different vibe depending on the accessory choices. Layers upon layers of long beaded necklaces is one option, but someone else might prefer to keep the jewelry to a minimum and instead wear a pair of cool zebra-print shoes. The lame skirt on the left is super fun and bright, but the tuxedo-style shirt I've paired with it helps balance the look out a bit. You could play with that idea even more by mixing more masculine and feminine pieces together like a heavy man's watch along with a dozen or so thin bangles. 

I hope you have fun putting together your outfit for the company holiday party- it's something I will definitely miss doing this year. If you have a great outfit idea for an event like this, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email- I always like hearing from you guys! 

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