The holiday dress code’s ability to refer to everything from festive cocktail wear to the current ugly Christmas sweater trend is what causes the most confusion. A gentleman should always make an effort to adhere to a dress code as strictly as possible; to do otherwise would be disrespectful to your hosts, and it goes without saying that you should always seek assistance from your hosts. Before we continue, one last general tip: keep it varied and have a few options on hand. After all, this is a busy time of the year for parties, and you may get invited to more than one with a holiday attire or festive dress code, so having a few options available will never be a bad thing.
How Can I Adhere to the Holiday Attire Dress Code in Fashion?
The simplest solution is to think of it as a variation on cocktail wear with a festive flair added through colour or playful elements in your apparel. Feel free to use some of the traditional holiday hues, like red and green, when it comes to colour. Having said that, avoid wearing garish or brilliant colours because they will only make you stick out a little too much. Instead, opt for something discreet, elegant, and unobtrusive.
Let’s now dive into today’s topic through the lens of several different Christmas party types, each with a different level of formality, and discuss the appropriate holiday attire accordingly.
Office-appropriate holiday clothing
Simply take a cue from the typical day-to-day clothes at your job to determine how dressed up you should be for such an event. To put it another way, imagine how you should dress as being somewhat similar to workplace attire, perhaps just a little more casual and with a seasonal accent. Remember this as you plan your holiday attire and outfit.
White-collar office events
First, choose an outfit that is adequately conservative if you work in a classic white-collar office setting. For instance, if you’re feeling really classy, wear a three-piece or double-breasted suit in a dark hue like midnight blue, charcoal, or navy. You might also choose a dress shirt to go with it. Preferably French-cuffed, it should be in a pastel hue, as white might be a little stuffy for such a joyous occasion.
You’ll also want to keep your footwear sufficiently conservative, so you might choose the traditional black cap-toe oxford or, if you’re feeling a little more daring, something in a very dark brown hue, like an oxblood. You could choose a monk strap or something with a hint of brogueing in the design, but you don’t want to go overboard. You also probably won’t want to choose a light colour like tan. You’ll want to stick close to that type of shoe even at a function like this if your everyday workplace outfit consists of those black oxfords.
Regarding your accessories, the novelty tie covered in enormous Santa heads will likely be a touch too casual for a celebration of this sort. Instead, you should opt for a dark burgundy or another neutral colour that may have a faint pattern. Solids are, of course, a good bet. In contrast to your tie, your pocket square can be a little bit bolder and may even include a few little patterns. Just keep in mind that the entire ensemble should ultimately remain cohesive.
With your cufflinks, you’ll probably have the greatest creative freedom; they can be made of solid metal in any colour and, of course, can have stones or other engraved motifs. But because this kind of celebration is so whimsical, you may even use miniatures, like a tiny reindeer, as long as they’re tasteful and quiet. Enjoy it, and try to find the perfect harmony between formal and festive.
As long as they are similarly subtle, rings, tie bars, and collar clips can also be worn. Of course, matching your metals is always a smart idea. Finally, when it comes to boutonnieres, anything pale in colour and modest in size would be the best option.
Informal office celebrations
We advise you to wear a sport coat and unusual pants for a somewhat less formal type of workplace party. Here, a sport coat with a pattern or texture might be appropriate, tie or no tie. Something in a herringbone, houndstooth, or mottled tweed pattern, for instance, will have a rustic appeal while still fitting the occasion. It would be excellent to seem seasonally appropriate, a little bold, and a touch rustic all at once by donning a blazer with a tartan or other plaid design.
Finally, if you’re feeling very avant-garde, this might also be a perfect time to don something like a burgundy velvet jacket. If you want to be a little more fashion-forward, your shirt could be basic in colour and either a pastel shade or a rich, dark hue. Additionally, the shirt may have a pattern as long as it doesn’t compete with the jacket’s pattern.
Casual office parties
The sport coat can be replaced with a cable-knit pullover or a cardigan sweater in a warm colour to start. A fair-isle sweater or sweater vest, on the other hand, will let you stand out a little bit more while still looking casual and classic.
A casual workplace party might be an excellent occasion to wear dark denim or possibly even colourful chinos if you’re feeling really daring, in addition to flannel pants and corduroys.
Finally, you may add a pop of colour with a pair of dress socks in a vibrant shade, or you can add your wacky socks with Santa and his reindeer here, and round off the outfit with some casual shoes or perhaps a dress boot.
Private holiday/ house parties
Let’s now quickly go through some suggestions for what to wear to a holiday or festive celebration held in a home or other similarly intimate environment. In general, you should keep things a little more casual for a house party than you would for an office party, but the breakdown we just provided for the three distinct formality levels of office parties can still apply here for the most part. In other words, all of the advice we provided for specific clothing combinations still applies to home parties just as it did for workplace parties, but since we provided you with multiple possibilities in some of our breakdowns, you might choose some of the less formal ones in this situation.
For instance, instead of wearing a button-down shirt to a mid- or semi-formal holiday house party, you can choose a turtleneck sweater. Always follow the dress code specified on the invitation or the hosts’ personal recommendations while attending a home party. Wear a tuxedo and leave the tweed sport coat at home if the party’s over the holidays but the invitation says black-tie.
Despite the fact that the holiday or festive dress code has a wide range of levels of formality, it need not cause stress. Take inspiration from your regular office attire and add a few twists to make it holiday attire when attending a work party. When attending a party at home, take inspiration from the invitation and the hosts’ suggestions and feel free to be a little more loose-fisted and playful. If ugly sweaters are expected, do let loose and have some fun.