What to Wear to the Company Holiday Party
First, an observation about the tradition that is the corporate holiday party. They can be less than fun. Being passive-aggressively forced into socializing with coworkers for the sake of morale can be a drag. Especially if morale is already low. If morale stinks, a couple drink tickets and a dessert bar won’t do a damn thing. Especially if the workers are being forced to show on a night they’d otherwise have off. Anyway… three rules for these things:
- Go. Just go. Make an appearance. It’ll pay dividends when it comes to getting respect at work.
- Wear a Jacket. Blazer, sportcoat, etc… You’ll look sharper than every guy who wore a sweater.
- Don’t have more than two drinks. It ain’t worth it. You’re playing with fire at that point.
The following are suggestions based on the kind of workplace that’s throwing the party. And despite 2012’s holiday dressing trend being full peacock, these outfits are pretty subdued. It’s a holiday party. Not a runway at fashion week. Available, similar options are underneath in case you’re interested, but know they might not match up perfectly. And remember… TWO DRINKS.
The Jeans & T-Shirt Workplace
- The Jacket: J. Crew – $96.60 w/ CELEBRATE or Bonobos – $209.30 w/ YULELOOKGREAT
- The Shirt: Target Merona – $22.99 or Nordstrom – $65.00
- The Jeans: Levi’s Slim Straight 514 – $39.99
- The Shoes: BR Hyde – $98 w/ BR48HOUR, J&M Letson – $185, C. Lendini – $149, AE Kenilworth – $295
- The Watch: Orient Explorer – $455 or Bambino – $182 w/ fall2012, Skagen Blue Hands – $88
For those businesses where no one even thinks about wearing a tie, much less a suit. Party is probably going to be at a local bar/grill or something. This outfit can double for a laid back party at a friend’s house. It’s a dressed down, poor man’s version of a midnight blue tuxedo. Dark wash jeans and a navy cord sportcoat, with a white substantial collar shirt. Add brown lace ups and you’re set.
The Business Casual Workplace
- The Jacket: Joseph Abboud – $239, Banana Republic (check in store), Stafford – $40 (but try this on in store first. The fit wasn’t so great during a real quick in person a few weeks back.
- The Shirt: J. Crew Factory – $35.50, Nordstrom Trim Fit – $49.50, Neiman Marcus – $38.50
- The Pants: Target Slim Cotton Pant – $20.99, Express – $59.50 (but always on sale)
- The Shoes: J&M Melton – $ 110, Mercanti Fiorentini – $139.95, Nordstrom Lido – $175
- The Watch: Bulova – $214.50, Timex – $65, Hugo Boss Chrono – $295,
See the up close of the shirt here. For the types of parties where the boss might be in a suit, but the rest will be in a bunch of unfortunate sweaters and pleated pants. More corduroy here but this time it’s black. A fine wale corduroy walks right up to the Velvet Blazer line, without going over it. Sure some guys can pull off velvet, but everyone can pull off a fine wale cord. Flat front grey slacks, a micro pattern shirt and black lace-ups. Peak lapels, if you can’ find em’, will give it even more of a night-time look. Also not a bad time to try out the grey shirt/navy suit look if you’re up for it.
Outfit shown: Jacket by B.R., shirt by Alfani Red, Pants by Express, Shoes Allen Edmonds, Watch by Seiko.
The White Collar Workplace
- The Suit: Suit Supply – $399, Bar III – $270
- The Shirt: Calibrate – $59.50, Alfani Red – $29.99, LastCall – $38.50
- The Tie: TheTieBar – $15.00, Calibrate – $49.50, Gitman Bros. – $46.55 w/ YULELOOKGREAT
- The Cufflinks: BR – $27.30 w/ BR48HOUR, Brooks Brothers – $225
- The Shoes: Ciro Lendini – $145, Magnanni – $200ish, Mercanti Fiorentini – $149.95
- The Watch: Citizen Chronograph – $225, Bulova – $87.50 Kenneth Cole – $109.99
Unless you work in the fashion industry or some other highly creative field, showing up in a flashy royal blue tux or plaid drunken uncle jacket just isn’t feasible. The flash here happens with the details. Go french cuff and maybe wear some cufflinks with color. Choose monk straps instead of your standard work-day lace-ups. Finish it off with something other than a blue or red tie (try green, taupe, or even go monochromatic with a lighter grey). Wear a watch that’s less subdued. It’s just different enough, but the old conservative guard will still be able to take you seriously.
Outfit shown: Suit by SuitSupply, Shirt by Nordstrom, Tie by thetiebar, Cuff links by Hugo Boss, Shoes by Ciro Lendini, Chronograph Watch by Citizen.
Leave your thoughts on the company holiday Christmas party in the comments below. Top Photo Credit: Luca Sartoni