It's company holiday party time!

When November and December come around, it's common for companies to hold holiday functions and work parties. Some are simple parties at the office during the workday, while others are more elaborate events after hours. As party day approaches, you'll likely be contemplating what to wear, given that it's not just another day at the office. You want to have fun with your attire while still keeping it work appropriate. Not sure how? Here are some tips for what to wear to a company holiday party.

For the holiday party during work hours

Some companies prefer to keep their parties small and during normal work hours. If this is the case for you,  then you'll likely opt for work-appropriate attire. However, don't be afraid to dress it up a little bit with a nice dress and shoes or a fun holiday-geared blazer with a little sparkle. Typically, you'll need to stick with the office dress code policy, unless you're provided with guidelines on how to dress differently for the event.

For the holiday party after work hours

After-hours holiday parties can be a lot of fun. They give you an opportunity to let your hair down, relax a bit, and connect with co-workers outside of the typical office environment. However, that doesn't mean you can forget that you are still around co-workers and at a work function. You want to have fun, but consider that what you wear and what happens at the party will be remembered by those you see daily in a professional environment.

Related:5 Tips for Surviving Your Office Holiday Party

Tips for picking out your company holiday party attire

Before you head into your closet, confirm the dress code — get clear on what the expectations are and go from there. You can go more formal or casual than the code if you choose, but use good judgment.

Holiday party attire tips for women

Beware of low-cut necklines. A higher neckline can be extremely flattering, and it will make a big difference in keeping your look professional. If your ensemble feels a bit bland, a necklace is a great way to add some pop of sparkle while still keeping it appropriate.

Consider where your hemline hits. You can go a bit higher than the typical “two inches above the knee” rule, but use caution and don't go too short. Also, make sure you test sitting down in your outfit before the party to ensure it doesn't show too much when in a chair. After all, no one wants to be worried about fixing their skirt while their manager is speaking to them at the party.

Use caution with sheer fabrics. If your party's venue is going to have bright lights, try to avoid sheer fabrics — they may end up showing more than you'd like.

Holiday party outfit tips for men

If you're going to wear a dress shirt, make sure you iron it. A smooth shirt will help you look clean and put together, and it will show your co-workers that you care about the impression you make. It's a job that only takes a few minutes, but it will make a big difference in your overall appearance.

Take the time to choose appropriate socks. There's nothing worse than seeing a handsomely dressed man only to look down and see a pair of white gym socks breaking the line from legs to toes. If you're wearing black pants and black shoes, reach for the black socks. If you're using socks to have some fun with your fashion, go for it! Just make sure it doesn't look like a faux pas.

Appearance goes beyond your clothing. Like an ironed shirt, a clean-shaven face will keep you looking polished and refined. If you prefer to rock a scruffy look or full beard, just make sure it's trimmed and neat.

For everyone

Be comfortable. If you'll be dancing and walking around a lot, you don't want your clothes to keep you from having a good time. Make sure your buttons will stay buttoned, and if you sweat easily, you might want to avoid materials that don't mix, like silk.

Don't be too casual. Some might see the holiday party as an opportunity to go casual instead of dressing up, and that's OK — to each their own. At the same time, you don't want to go any more casual than you would for casual Fridays at work. In other words, sandals, loose-fitting jeans, and shorts probably aren't appropriate (unless your holiday party is a beach party!).

In general, your goal for dressing for a company holiday party is to keep your look classy and conservative while also finding ways to show your personality and have fun. The perfect accessories, for example, can really add to your look, like a nice pair of shoes or the perfect belt. In the end, it's all about feeling good about yourself (within the guidelines of what's appropriate, of course), so make sure the outfit you choose leaves you confident and ready for some fun.

Want to gift yourself with something this holiday season? How about an upgraded resume? Our writers are here to help. 

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