Festive-phobes, beware: tomorrow is apparently the most popular day of the year for office Christmas parties. Professionals all around the country will be downing tools (or switching off their computers) and dressing up to cut loose with their co-workers.
But what to wear? Fashion editorials may be trying to convince us all to squeeze into sequins or step out in velvet slippers, but while Christmas is the perfect opportunity to road-test outfits outside of your comfort zone, there’s no need to forfeit style for season-specific fashion.
If you’re more minimalist monochrome for the rest of the year, a concession to Christmas might be as simple as a statement necklace or pair of earrings. Striking shoes, in satin or sparkles, are another stylish nod to party season, and you might swap your usual practical handbag for an eye-catching clutch or evening bag.
Men’s upstyling options are often dress code dependent – if your workplace is casual throughout the rest of the year, consider donning a jacket and tie for the occasion. If you’re perennially suited and booted for work, change up the colour of your shirt or style of your tie – silk knitted options can look suitably special. You could also swap your usual suit for a velvet blazer or herringbone jacket with smart jeans or chinos.
Worried about making a festive faux pas? Here are some other Christmas party pointers to bear in mind:
At Your Office Party
- Don’t take yourself too seriously: even though you’re with colleagues, there’s no need to corner your co-workers about the unfinished projects looming before the holiday. Instead, loosen up on the dancefloor or kick off the karaoke.
- Don’t overdo it, however. Spare a thought for your longer-term career prospects by pacing yourself, remembering to eat, and alternating alcoholic drinks with water. No one wants to be the employee who forgets their drunken antics, but whom everyone else remembers
- Do embrace the dress code. Whether it’s Christmas knitwear at a local restaurant or black tie for an elegant gala, adopting the relevant protocol shows respect to the organiser.
- Do remember the Golden Rule. If a colleague is looking a little the worse for wear, resist the temptation to immortalise the moment with your smartphone and instead find them some water and food (and a taxi if necessary).
- Don’t show up late for work the next day unless you’ve been given permission to do so.
On Christmas Day
- Do try to balance time in the kitchen with time entertaining your guests. If you’re in charge of the Christmas meal, advance preparation will enable you to channel both skilled chef and attentive host.
- Don’t turn up empty-handed if you’re invited somewhere for Christmas day. Bring a token of your appreciation and offer to make a contribution to the meal to alleviate some of the burden on your host.
- Do adapt your Christmas routine to that of your co-celebrators. If your in-laws always open presents on Christmas Eve, don’t insist on waiting until the big day to breach the pile under the tree. If charades are an essential post-prandial activity at your grandparents’ house, get flexing those acting muscles.
On New Year’s Eve
- Don’t complain about New Year always being a let-down. Consider it your challenge to ensure this year is different.
- Do bring a bottle, or two, if you’re going to a party, to help ensure supplies don’t run out before those all-important strokes of midnight.
- Don’t outstay your welcome. If your host has stopped serving drinks, or starts yawning conspicuously, it’s probably your cue to leave.
For Christmas gifting (and dressing) made easy, visit Bicester Village. Less than an hour by train from London, its luxury boutiques have something special for everyone – and plenty for you, too! www.bicestervillage.com