7 December 2016

By Musa Bwanali

The office Christmas party is a great event to dress up for, but it's not always easy to decide on what to wear. Interpreting dress codes on invites during the holiday season can be tricky and people have become more creative with their outfits. On one hand, you don't want to come off as a bore to colleagues and clients, but you also don't want to be over the top either, keeping in mind that a certain kind of decorum is still expected. Here are some ideas to consider when choosing the perfect party look:

Black Tie. A floor-length gown is the way to go for upscale fetes, galas and awards ceremonies. Be a celebrity for the night and strut your stuff in a gorgeous satin, taffeta, or beaded number. Try an A-line in red, navy, or emerald, which stands out from black and complements many skin tones. As for accessories, choose a dramatic necklace or dangling earrings, but never both. When in doubt, opt for time-honoured classics, like diamond drops or a pearl necklace, over something too costumey. An evening bag is a must, so do invest in one metallic clutch that can look dressed up or down for all your parties. Finally, be wary of trains and fishtails (because when you trip, no one will think it’s charming), loud prints (talking to you, cheetah!), and body-conscious styles. Be especially mindful about not spilling out of necklines and slits. The rules of black tie are strictly adhered to and decorum prevails.

Cocktail. The LBD is your BFF for most cocktail parties. Turn to rich fabrics, such as lace, chiffon, and velvet, to elevate the typical black. But keep the hemline modest: two inches above the knee max. To test if your hemline is too short, stand with your hands at your sides; the dress shouldn’t be higher than your fingertips. You can branch out to other shades, too: Jewel tones and icy pastels can be just as refined in simple silhouettes. It’s also perfectly acceptable to splash out in dressy separates—say, brocade cigarette pants topped with a beaded shell. Whichever you choose, fancy footwear is mandatory. (Metallic or jewelled is a sure thing.) The daintier the heel, the more graceful your shoes will look on the dance floor (even if you have two left feet).

Casual. If the party takes place during daytime you can dress casually, but unless you’re going to a sporty event with your colleagues, do dress up. Christmas is a special and most of the times elegant celebration. Balance fashion and function. Slip on a comfortable maxi, a flowy sundress, or a cute shift with a splash of bright jewellery. If you’re celebrating in a tropical locale, break out an exotic print, and maybe tuck a flower in your hair. Ditch the stilettos for a pair of gold wedges, beaded sandals, or embellished ballet flats are posh enough for the occasion. Instead of black, pick white or a shade that plays up the natural surroundings—blue, coral, yellow.

Keep it Simple. Keep it Stylish.



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