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11 style commandments for the office holiday party

Richard Bernardin Author: Elle Canada Credits: Richard Bernardin

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11 style commandments for the office holiday party

'Tis the season for gingerbread lattes, hunting for perfect gifts, and, that most infamous of holiday traditions: ye old office party. As the invites start to roll in, you want to make sure you're dressed event appropriate (think elegant and demure, not slinky cocktail dresses. But the other thing to keep in mind? Exactly what not to wear. Here, then, are the 11 holiday fashion faux pas to steer clear of.

Style Commandment #1: Thou shalt not sport serious cleavage
While you may be tempted to show off your fun and flirty side at a work party that takes place outside the office walls, don't get too carried away with low-cut looks. Just because there is a dance floor and a bar, doesn't mean that you should reach for your Saturday club night attire.

Style Commandment #2: Thou shalt not dress in holiday colours
A shimmering green shift a la Dolce? Divine. Glossy red patent-leather peep-toe Louboutins? Smashing. Pairing them together? A hot holiday mess. Steer clear of mixing clichéd holiday clothing hues lest someone gets confused and starts wrapping a garland around you.

Style Commandment #3: Thou shalt not slip on the highest heels you own
Go ahead and climb into some fetching footwear for your work event, but hold off on those vertiginous limo shoes. Even the most seasoned stiletto maven can't stand for long periods of time in them and you'll want to save face (and your feet) when it comes time to conversing with the boss. Forgo teetering around in sky-high pumps and opt instead for a cute pair of kitten heels.

Style Commandment #4: Thou shalt not wear crazy prints
Don't be afraid to rock something bold, but ditch the idea of wearing ultra-graphic or mixed prints. Seriously loud patterns are distracting and can come off as far too obnoxious for most people. You want your outfit to be memorable for all the right reasons.

Find out how to pick the perfect attire for your office party on the next page...

HolidayOffice2-350-edit.jpg


Photography by Richard Bernardin

Style Commandment #5: Thou shalt not wear sheer fabrics

Transparent and super-sheer choices don't work in the boardroom, so you'll have to skip them for your office soiree as well. We know they're a fall fashion trend, and we know that every major Hollywood starlet has worn them on the red carpet, but we have a feeling HR simply won't approve of those explanations.

Style Commandment #6: Thou shalt not wear ultra-casual attire
Just because you are out of the office doesn't mean it's time to let all your sartorial work rules slip away. Unless the company is ringing in the holidays with a trip to a hockey game, your jeans-and-t-shirt combo is a no-go for party day.

Style Commandment #7: Thou shalt not overdress
On the flip side, the last thing you want to do is show up to a cozy office event in a full-on ball gown. Dressing for the occasion means double-checking the venue and using the invitation as your guide. If you still have doubts about the appropriateness of your attire, simply throw on your go-to LBD or a pair of tuxedo-inspired pants as a fail-safe option.

Style Commandment #8: Thou shalt not over-accessorize
Even if you are a more-is-more kind of girl, keep all that over-embellishment and jingle bell-esque baubles to a minimum. The last thing you want is to be lit up like a Christmas tree, or for people to hear you and your bangles coming a mile away.

Style Commandment #9: Thou shalt not wear festive garb
Do yourself a favour: anything that you stick in a box the other 364 days of the year should, in no uncertain terms, not be brought out for your office bash. This includes - but is not limited to - novelty socks, Christmas sweaters, antler headbands, mistletoe pins, menorah necklaces, and/or anything that lights up and requires a battery pack of any kind.

Find out how to dress for your next job on the next page...

HolidayOffice2-350-edit.jpgPhotography by Richard Bernardin

Style Commandment #10: Thou shalt not wear a fashion-forward outfit
Sure, Hussein Chalayan is considered a genius in stylist circles and Rei Kawakubo is revered for her three-sleeved frocks, but these whacked-out, fresh-off-the-runway pieces are simply too confusing for non-fashion folk. Unless you're attending an industry event or work with, say, Daphne Guinness types, stick with more straightforward, understated garb.

Style Commandment #11: Thou shalt not wear the wrong size
Even if you forget about all of the above, make sure this is the one you follow. The super-revealing outfit, whether it's suiting up in something that is too short or a couple of sizes too tight, is the quick route to killing your professional reputation. So keep your hemline in check, forget about that tight Herve Leger body-con number, and remember that old adage: dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

 

 

Read more:
Holiday 2011 must-have accessory: Retro party jewellery
Holiday 2011 must-have accessory: The metallic box clutch
Holiday beauty tips: Eyes

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

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11 style commandments for the office holiday party