Office Christmas Party Top Tips + Outfits!

Office Christmas Party: what to wear, do & NOT do!

Updated Dec 5th 2019

The infamous Office Christmas party season is in full swing – here’s a quick reminder of etiquette and some inspired shopping ideas for that perfect Christmas party outfit!

Have you even thought about what you’re wearing yet? If you’re anything like me then probably not, so we’ve found some inspiration for that all important outfit this year – whatever your budget.
If you have more than one to go to, hopefully, you do – it’s great to try and get something you can wear more than once and adapt to different types of Christmas do – shop clever if you can!

Women’s Office Christmas Party ideas

For fabulous Office Christmas party dress ideas, visit Vogue’s inspiration gallery of best party dresses:
Blow the budget

If you need to lower the price tags a little, we’ve gathered the best of the rest to find your outfit inspiration:
Elle’s Christmas party outfit ideas
Harper’s party dress ideas
Misguided Christmas party outfits
WhoWhatWear Christmas Party outfits
The Guardian’s Guide to party outfits for all ages

And not forgetting the Men, for who we might say it’s actually more tricky? Hmmm – Here are some ideas from the Idleman on how to get away from that safe, boring suit…and mix it up a little.

Men’s Office Christmas Party ideas

Asos Men’s party wear ideas
The Guardian’s Guide to Men’s party outfits
Esquire Men’s Party Style Guide
Fashion Bean’s Men’s Christmas party outfits
GQ Christmas party outfit ideas

So once you’ve got the outfit sorted – here are some do’s and don’ts for the big office Christmas party event!

The Office Party – Do’s + Don’ts

  1. DO show up — or, at the very least, RSVP
    Let’s get the basics right, the worst thing is to say you’re going and not show up on the day. Parties aren’t cheap and every head costs. Plus, senior management DO take note of who makes the effort to go to events and if they’re a ‘real’ team player. Make sure you go if you can, unless you have a very good excuse as it all gets noted.
  2. DO arrive and depart on time
    Check the invite – make sure you know where you’re going, go with colleagues ideally and plan your route home, again with others if you can Make sure friends and family know where you’re going too.
  3. DON’T bring an extra guest
    Check the invite and only if says +1 – then you’re allowed.
  4. DON’T wear that!
    Leave your short, tight, skimpy or revealing clothing at home and save it for another party that doesn’t involve work colleagues. Remember you’re still with work colleagues and most likely all of the directors will be there. Creating a professional image — especially for women — is hard – don’t blow it in one evening.
  5. DO wear!
    Again read the invitation carefully, and talk to your workmates – talk to a few to get the general consensus.  Unless the invite specifies black tie or casual dress, assume you’ll need to wear something just as professional as you would wear to work – but with an evening twist.’ Be festive and be tasteful’.
    Make sure you know what the dress code and don’t deviate from it. Make sure your guest is dressed appropriately too.Don’t do what I did for one office party and ask your work colleagues (men) advice on what your husband should wear.  Foolishly I didn’t check with anyone else, reported back to husband it was black-tie – and yes you’ve guessed it. My husband turns up in full black tie, and only one other stuck to his plan of black tie. I wasn’t popular – but at least he had a buddy for the evening. :0)
  • DO say hello to hosts, colleagues and party planners
    When you arrive at the party, be sure to greet, thank and shake hands with your hosts and the party planners, If you’re working for a company or partnership owned by more than one individual, be sure to thank all of them. Be complimentary on what a great do it is.
  • DON’T talk shop exclusively
    When talking to colleagues, try to avoid talking work as much as you can. You’re out of work and it’s an opportunity to get to know colleagues a little better on a personal level.  Stick with safe topics such as travel, children, sports, pets and movies and avoid more dodgy areas of politics, work moans and don’t complain.
  • DON’T discuss office gossip
    Once you’re out of the cube and in party mode, it’s easy to forget office politics, says Schweitzer. Leave discussion of your personal life out of the evening and stick to more light-hearted topics. Don’t complain about your job with your coworkers and above all else, no office gossip. This can come back to bite you in a bad way, especially if executives or management overhear your conversation, Schweitzer says.
  • DON’T hide in the corner
    Everyone watches the entrance to a room, so when you arrive, do not head straight for the bar or food. If you can, walk in and see if you can step away from the door and greet and shake hands with the person who’s standing closest without interrupting a conversation ideally.Senior management do enjoy speaking with employees, and your company party may be one of the few times you see them in person. Introduce yourself, state the department you work in and shake hands. This is a good time to become visible to your company’s leadership. Greet your superiors, and chat with as many colleagues as you can, introducing yourself to those that you do not know well. Greet co-workers warmly, and with a smile on your face,” she says.Try to mingle, don’t just stick with your work buddies, it’s an opportunity to meet people in other departments too.
  • Definitely DON’T become office gossip
    Once you finish your first drink, it’s easy to relax and forget that these are your coworkers at an office-related event. Remember you have to face everyone the next day and you don’t want to lose their respect — especially the boss. Have a drink or two, but remember not to overdo it even if others are. It’s a slippery slope and you can’t turn the clock back. You also want to remember everything :0).
  • DON’T overeat
    Don’t spend all evening eating. The buffet is there for nibbling, not a four-course meal. Try to have something to eat beforehand,  a snack if it’s a sit-down meal – or something more substantial if it’s a buffet. You want to be able to chat easily and not worry about having a mouth full of food mid-conversation, smelly breath, where to put your plate, napkin etc… and of course dropping food, missing your mouth and getting it all over your outfit. Let’s face it eating can be a minefield.
    Also, try not to drink too much – a bit much ok but too too much, probably not the best.
  • DON’T cheer your clap yourself
    Often at Christmas events, employees are nominated for awards. If your name is called out – don’t’ cheer, toast your clap yourself- this is not good etiquette. It’s also best practice to thank and toast the person who toasted you. For everyone else, make sure you clap, toast and cheer if appropriate.
  • DO say thank you
    It’s basic courtesy but perhaps easy to forget when you’ve had a few drinks – make sure you say thank you to the organisers of the event, also to any senior management that are involved in making it happen. They like to hear you’ve enjoyed yourself and that it’s all worthwhile. Office parties aren’t cheap.
  • DO show up the next day
    It’s a big no-no not to show up. And do try to be on time, unless you’ve an agreed late start, management will be on the lookout for the latecomers. As always try to keep it as professional as you possibly can – every step of the way…and lastly let’s not forget.
  • and most importantly!….DO have fun!

Look out for our blog on being ready for the day after the party!

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