Party time at the office! Do's and don'ts for holiday style
The office party offers a chance to break out of your workaday rut and get to know the folks in the other cubicles, but keep in mind that this is still a work function; after the party is over, you'll have to go back to the office. Save your sexy party clothes for date night or that girls' cocktail hour, and spiff up your office wear for the office party. Here are four simple tips to get you party ready without doing anything that you'll regret in the Tuesday morning staff meeting.
Don't blind them with cleavage; do add a little bling. Keep your girls under cover -- unless you work for Hugh Hefner, breasts are not appropriate for the office party. Instead, make a statement with jewelry. Choose a piece that you wouldn't normally wear to to work -- an over-sized cocktail ring or a dramatic necklace or some elaborate earrings. Festive doesn't have to mean bare, and you won't be left with the feeling that everyone in accounting is always talking to your chest; instead, you'll get a reputation as the woman with the great taste in accessories, which is a much nicer way to have your colleagues remember you.
Don't shorten your hemline; do kick up your heels. A short skirt might seem festive, but like dramatic cleavage, it's just not appropriate for an office function. Keep skirts at your knee, just like you would for work, but trade your practical pumps for something more festive -- high heeled boots, perhaps, or pretty peep toes. (Pedicure if you plan to peep, though. Please.) Experiment with a higher heel, one that is impractical for day, or with an evening sandal, something with some shine; the work-appropriate length of your skirt will balance even the most Sex and the City-esque shoe.
Don't overdo the makeup; do add a little sparkle. A smoky eye or a red red lip is perfect for evening, but choose one -- both together and you'll look like you're off to your second job as a call girl (not a good look for the office party, really). If you're not much for makeup during the day, don't go overboard for the office party; a simple red lip gloss dresses up your look without making you look like you're playing dress up. And shimmer is fun, but keep it minimal -- a shimmery eye shadow is lovely, but a whole face full of glitter is more rave than office party.
Don't do a full costume change; do dress up your work clothes. Dragging a whole new outfit to work, or running home to change between your last meeting and the office happy hour, is unnecessary; instead, toss your evening accessories and some really pretty shoes and a great clutch into your day bag and change when you leave the office. The same strategy works for your makeup and hair -- rather than starting over with a whole new look, put on some lipstick and pull your hair up (or let it down). A quick change means that much more time to hang out with coworkers.
Approach getting dressed for the office party in the same way that you approach getting dressed for work; keep in mind that this is a professional event, and you need to look capable and reliable.
Looking for suggestions of what actually to wear for the office party? Nina has the lowdown on turtlenecks, Rachel Sarnoff has the dish on vintage shoe clips, and the Literary Fashionista recommends some ball gowns for Michelle Obama (but you can learn from her suggestions, too).
You tell us -- what are you wearing to the office holiday party this year?