Attending the office party can be a bit of a minefield. Different to social occasions with friends and family, at work related events there are most definitely appearances to be kept up. Even though office parties are sold to us in terms of a celebration and a reward for all our hard work – wise professionals know that it is far from anything like that.

Your Office party behaviour is thoroughly scrutinised by everybody from the tea operatives to the CEO, so how you present yourself is very important. If you are looking for a promotion or a glowing reference for your next role, select your outfit carefully with your career aspirations in mind. Read on for some guidelines to keep you on track…

How To Dress At The Office Party

Remember where you are

You see your work colleagues every day so do not wear anything that is going to make you feel awkward or embarrassed next time you see them at the water cooler or in the lift.

Cleavage is generally regarded as a no-no because it simply undermines your professionalism – instead choose high necks or scooped lines that don’t reveal too much. Showing a lot of skin should be avoided, cut out panels in dresses and super short skirts are inadvisable as well. Of course, you will be able to test the temperature of your own work place to a certain extent and gauge what is and isn’t acceptable. More conservative organisations may consider showing bare arms and shoulders a step too far, whereas more relaxed employers won’t batt an eyelid. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Defy Convention with Care

It isn’t the law to wear a little black dress to the office party. Forget this boring old tradition and take a look at some of the other prettier, more flattering shades out there. You will see a lot of bright reds, silvers, violets, greens and blues out there that will be doing you a lot more favours than a complexion- draining black dress. If you normally wear a uniform or dress in a very toned down way, it may be tempting to wear something that reflects what you see as your more exciting personality. A style of clothing that fits this occasion could be playsuits. These garments are popping up everywhere now, on red carpets in Hollywood, at the supermarket, in the office and as party wear.


The versatility of playsuits is their main strength. You would be surprised how many interpretations of a simple one-piece top and shorts garment there could be. For an office party, playsuits that are tailored and made from a structured fabric are best. There are long sleeved and high necked designs that are ideal for a more professional environment, but you are still able to show off your legs! Don’t display bare legs, wear thick opaque tights in the same shade as your outfit to elongate you silhouette. Teamed with a pair of chunky ankle boots or spiky heels you will look fabulous and will have nailed a trendy look that will get you noticed for all the right reasons.

Don’t Overdo the Bling

It may be a party and a bit of glitz is only to be expected, but don’t go overboard on the accessories. Choose one piece, and forget the rest – you don’t want to look like a Christmas tree. A bold statement necklace, a classy brooch or a pair of earrings – but not all three at the same time. And no, before you even ask – don’t wear Christmas baubles as earrings. Remember to think about a small clutch bag, or you may end up carting your briefcase or laptop bag around – not very festive!

Small Changes Big Impact

If you are having to go straight to the party from the office, there are some quick fixes to transform you into a party princess. A sequinned or spangly jacket thrown over a neutral black or navy outfit can turn an office drone into a sparkly super-heroine in seconds. Alternatively, put a luxurious shawl, cape, faux fur gilet or pair of glitter-bomb stilettos into your bag to work some magic after dark. Freshen up make up, let your hair down put on a diamanté tiara and you’ll look understated but in a party-girl sort of way. Perfect, really.

Make your office party a memorable event for all the right reasons. When you choose your outfit with care, it is possible to rock the corporate professional meets party princess look with great success. Just follow these tips and you really can’t go wrong…

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