It’s only just begun,… holiday party season, that is! The next two weeks hold countless engagements for celebrating and merry-making. What are you going to wear?
There are more than enough stress-inducing to-do’s during the holiday season. Choosing your party clothes needn’t be on the list of stressors. Here’s the “quick guide” to keep you confidently presenting your best throughout:
The invitation reads “cocktail attire.” So what does that mean? A cocktail dress is knee length or shorter and differentiates itself from daytime in two distinct areas: glitz factor; and reveal factor. A cocktail dress allows for showing more skin than the dress you’d wear to a business function. It may reveal more leg, more cleavage, or perhaps more back (but not all three simultaneously, for a tasteful statement). It’s likely to have some glitter, glisten, or sheen in the form of sequins, rhinestones, or reflective-quality fabric. Pair with a strappy sandal or low-vamp pump, p.m. hair and makeup, and a coordinated evening bag for the knock-out, party-proper look.
Dinner party dress varies little from that which is appropriate at a cocktail party. Your cocktail dress and accessories are perfectly in order. Simply be mindful of your comfort level while seated for the duration of a meal. While sitting may allow you to wear the 6” heels you wouldn’t dare attempt for a stand-only cocktail event, there are other considerations when seated — like the binding level of your body shaper as it attempt to accommodate the intake of a full-course holiday meal.
If the hostess’ invitation reads “black tie,” up the ante in terms of elegance. (Though “black tie” no longer requires a floor-length evening gown, elegance is key.) Take it up a notch in terms of fabric and accessories for the p.m. glam-factor.
When celebrating with colleagues and business acquaintances, your professional image is still very much on the line, festive occasion or not. Consider the business dress that you can adapt by trading its daytime jacket for sparkly accessories and adding additional p.m. glamour with makeup. A cocktail dress also serves this function, but beware the skin-revealing quality that’s appropriate for the general cocktail party. Socializing with business acquaintances reflects powerfully on your personal brand long after the party has ended. (Let the word “business” guide your choices ahead of “social.”)
Whether a family gathering, or neighborhood soiree, these events are generally more casual than cocktail and dinner parties. Think of them as “comfortable-festive” opportunities. Maybe the beaded evening top you wore with a glam skirt to the cocktail party can be paired with a relaxed or tailored trouser for the at-home function. Keep the spirit bright, but remember that you may be carrying trays of food from car-to-kitchen and back!
For the Gentlement
Fact is, it is simpler for men’s party dressing. A smaller choice range mean less room for error. (Aren’t you glad, guys?)
If the event is black tie, you’re in a tux. Optionally, if you don’t own one or care to rent, opt for a dark suit (as close to black as possible) with white shirt and, you guessed it — black tie. If you’re feeling creative, the black tie can be swapped for more colorful versions. Short of men’s “evening slippers,” high-polished black dress shoes are in order.
A suit with dress shirt and tie are appropriate for both the cocktail and office party. You might choose to partake in the festive glamour of the season’s dress with some high-sheen fabrics in neck ties or vests color-coordinated to your favorite sport jacket. Or, go for a stylish dressy-casual shirt that distinguishes itself from one you’d normally wear with a business suit with contrasting cuffs or other style details.
Whatever the occasion, remember that the most-flattering thing you can wear is an air of confidence. Be well-rested and receptive to good times. If you’re ready to have fun and share the season’s spirit, it’ll show.