Can hardly believe it, but my first holiday party is less than one month away! Can you recommend an appropriate outfit for my firm's cocktail party that is fun, festive, and in keeping with this winter's trends, yet still conservative enough to wear around my colleagues? Looking forward to hearing your ideas! Jennifer (an attorney)
Dearest girl, I think that parties are the very best thing about the holidays! (even the dreaded, yet mandatory, office party). You are right on track already, however, with wanting something fashionable yet somewhat conservative. Remember the three rules for office party attire: Nothing too sexy, nothing too flashy, nothing too bare. This is not the place for plunging necklines, micro mini skirts or skin tight sweaters.
If the party is in the evening or on a weekend, and you have the time to primp and prepare, then go with an elegant cocktail dress. Something classic and sophisticated, but perhaps in a more festive fabric like satin, taffeta, chiffon or lace. A dress with a wrap front or side tie emphasizes a trim waist (or gives the illusion of one!) Nothing too short; just above the knee or at the knee is ideal. Sleeveless cocktail attire is perfectly acceptable, but if you are going to wear a spaghetti strap or strapless gown, be sure to cover up with a bolero or wrap jacket, or an opaque or semi sheer top. (Remember the nothing too bare rule!) You can also fill in a neckline that is a bit on the bare side with a lacy or embellished cami. Since you are playing it safe with the dress, you can go a little more bold with the shoes and accessories. A gorgeous necklace and earrings, this season's trendy cuff bracelet, and a chic little evening bag. This is also the perfect time to break out your "dance with me baby" sandals.
If the party is an extension of your work day, you can spruce up that legal eagle suit by swapping your traditional work blazer with a velvet blazer or brocade jacket. Another option would be a lacy or embellished shell under your original blazer, and wide leg trousers. Trade in the business pumps for some sassy slingbacks or platforms, and trade up in the accessory department for something with a little more bling than usual.
Another no no for office party attire: no holiday motifs! No earrings shaped like gift wrapped parcels, no necklaces of Christmas lights, no flashing LED Santa broaches. And don't let your guy wear a Santa tie! Tacky isn't invited to any holiday parties this year!