It’s December—and for the entire month your friends, family and co-workers basically sit around and lob infinite opportunities to eat, drink and be merry right at you. It’s holiday party time.
And you’re wearing that?
Just because everything falls under the (loose…) umbrella of “holiday party” doesn’t mean you can bust out a seasonal uniform and expect it to get you from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Dressing for holiday parties is basically the social version of different strokes for different
folks—I like to think of it as “a little flash for every bash.” That should be your mantra for every party you’ve got between now and 2013. Do it, and you’ll be ready to raise a glass to the most stylish year yet.
Occasion #1: The Office Party
Everything about the office party is a delicate balance. Be fun, but not too fun. Drink, but not too much. Hang out after, but not too late. So dress like it matters and you’ll be starting the night out on a solid, professional foot.
Cashmere sweater: It’s probably your most versatile of the holiday party go-to gear. Shirt and tie? Pull a sweater over it. Wearing a suit? A sweater adds a pop of color and great texture underneath. Or just wear it solo. No matter what, it’s our #1 must-have for the holiday party scene.
Blazer:It instantly elevates an outfit. A blazer can be layered on top of everything, from jeans and a tee to an Oxford or that cashmere sweater. Your office isn’t really the suit-and-tie type? A cotton blazer is casual, comfortable and gives you some much-needed seasonal refinement.
Holiday sweaters:Unless it’s an ugly sweater party—and it’s probably not—ditch the Rudolph sweater.
Ripped anything: Even if you’re the creative type, the holidays are the time to elevate your look, not rip it to shreds. Ripped jeans, sweaters with holes and busted up shoes are the easiest way to look unprofessional—read: un-promotable.
Occasion #2: Home for the Holidays
You’re home! Why bother dressing up? If there’s anywhere you can be yourself it’s when you’re kicking back in your childhood bedroom.
Until you run into that high school girlfriend at the coffee shop. Or the guy you played football with at the diner. And your sweats-clad presence screams “lives in parents’ basement.”
Don’t risk it. Be comfortable, casual and cool when you’re hitting the old stomping ground.
Dark wash denim: It’s an easy go-to. Dark jeans look good on everyone and with just about anything.
Ankle Boots: They’re comfortable, versatile, stylish and appropriate no matter what climate you’re heading to for the holidays. What’s more, you can get them in virtually any color and finish, from leather to suede to fabric and they’ll always look sharp.
Anything too casual: I’m looking at you, sweatpants, Crocs, jerseys, flip-flops (it’s WINTER, people!) and pullover sweatshirts. If you usually sleep in it or have to wonder, “can I go outside in these?” you probably shouldn’t. The second you step out in something like that is the second you’ll run in to your ex. It’s a law.
Occasion #3: HER Home for the Holidays
Yes they’re judging you. Don’t screw it up. Dress to impress—it’s always better to have turned it up a notch than show up in mesh shorts and risk her dad glaring at you across the mashed potatoes.
Cotton blazer:It’s not a formal blazer so you won’t look like you’re heading to the office, but it’ll give you some structure and the I-went-the-extra-mile-and-wore-a-jacket-to-your-holiday-table bonus points. Layer it over anything you’re comfortable in—an Oxford, a heavier tee cotton tee, a sweater—and you’re good to go.
A sharp watch:Not only is it a strong addition to any look, but a good timepiece can also be a great conversation starter at a cocktail party or during pre-dinner mingling. Guys like watches. If you’ve got a great one or even one with a great story—it’s your grandfather’s watch, an antique piece you picked up for a steal, whatever—you’ve always got that in your back pocket if the conversation lags.
Anything that offends:It’s a broad truth, but a truth nonetheless. If her mom’s a vegan, leave the leather jacket at home. Don’t overdo it with the cologne. Check your nails. Check your breath. You get the idea.