It’s that time of year again.
You’ve received everything from the casual Facebook invite to custom printed invitations sent by mail. When you’re finished sorting through the invites, you get an email notification about a party that is in a category of its own: the holiday office party.
It’s the one seasonal occasion where HR and cocktails intermingle, and you really do have to exercise a beverage count at the open bar.
If you’re facing the annual style conundrum of what to wear to your office holiday party, follow these tips to keep it classy and professional while rocking a few style essentials:
• Leave the tie at home: For most office parties, a tie screams trying-too-hard. Unless your employer has specified that your holiday party is black-tie formal, no tie (or bow tie) is necessary. Keep your style cool with a well tailored button-down shirt in a color that complements your jacket and trousers. Check out these dress shirts in subtle pink (Isaia), light blue (Zegna) orlavender (Armani) for a cultivated look.
• Dark slacks: Always keep a pair of jeans on hand for those Facebook and family parties. But when it comes to your office holiday party, set the bar high with a pair of tailored trousers. While black might be considered too formal for holiday smart, try a navy or charcoal pant for a polished, dapper appearance.
• Don a (velvet) jacket: If you have a jacket that pairs well with your trousers, you might be set to go. But if you’re looking to apply some extra holiday charm (and really steal the show), experiment with a classic velvet blazer. Looking for a little inspiration? Try this beautiful cabernet from J. Crew, a black-trim velvet in midnight blue from Hugo Boss, or go all out with this checkered textured number by Armani.
• Pocket square: Nothing says irresistible gentleman like a pocket square. The rules of the pocket square are simple: tie in a color from your shirt, make sure it’s 100% silk or 100% cotton, and tuck it in the front pocket of your jacket with a perfected technique. Zegna has a beautiful line of pocket squares in silk, or find something more fun and festive in cotton atHugh and Crye.
• Polished loafers: A quality, polished loafer will keep you dressed to the nines and scoring a 10. This season, croc loafers — like this one from Gucci— are a great option that you can take from office to party and back again. Other more traditional favorites are Ferragamo loafers, or for a more pocket-friendly version, try BOSS by Hugo Boss penny loafers.
And gents: Don’t forget the socks. Have a little fun with a dash of striped, dotted, or plaid socks peeking out from the hem of your slacks. For inspiration, Thomas Pink has an array of lovely patterns and colors that’ll compliment any party — or your next office meeting, for that matter.