Last week, I compiled my favourite looks for women on how to dress for their company Christmas party. So, this week, I want to focus on what options there are for men during the holiday period.
When it comes to men’s fashion and style, I tend to hear a lot of the same comments (mostly from women) around how lucky men are that they can wear a suit and not have to put much thought into looking good.
While that is partly true, there is much more to it than meets the eye.
There are many options for a man to wear, especially on special occasions, that do not revolve around a suit. Let’s have a look at some of these in more detail.
There are some aspects to consider before deciding what you are going to wear to your company Christmas party. Here are some things you need to think about:
- Location: is your party going to take place inside the office building or will the company be renting an external space such as a museum that hosts events or a restaurant event room?
- Time of day: this can often determine many parts of your outfit such as the colours you choose or the style of your coat. You will also dress differently depending on if it’s a lunch-time affair or if you’ll be on your feet long into the night.
- Weather: let’s face it, we are in the depths of winter so it’s not going to be a short-sleeved shirt occasion (unless you’re one of our Australian readers!). If it looks like rain, you might want to stay away from wearing anything suede, for example. Be sure to check the weather in advance.
- Planned Activities: most companies tend to opt for a dinner or buffet and maybe some music, but every business is different so it would be wise to figure out what the plans are in advance so you can dress appropriately. Wearing a good pair of shoes, for example, that will keep your feet from becoming sore may be worth the investment if it will be a long-day or late-night affair.
Try and get your hands on as many details as possible about your company Christmas party in advance. Then, you can start thinking about the dress code and how your style fits in with that.
Most companies will include the dress code on the invite. It usually forms a part of one of the 3 types of dress code below:
- Smart/ Business Casual
- Semi-Formal / Cocktail
- Formal / Black-Tie
If your office has put this dress code on the invitation, do not see it as an excuse to turn up in your old jeans with holes in them. Even though the word casual is included, it should not be mistaken for unkept. Although, it is a relatively elusive dress code, here is some guidance on what you can do within it.
The blazer: this will be your best friend for smart or business casual dress codes. A blazer is an automatic way to make any outfit look immediately smart, and can be worn well with gray flannel trousers, chinos and even dark jeans are all great items to pair with a blazer.
The cardigan: for a casual company Christmas party in winter, there is nothing better than a chunky knit cardigan. You can also look out for fitted cardigans and wear with a simple short or long-sleeved t-shirt underneath.
The shirt and jumper combo: a sleek jumper with a nice collar peeking out would be perfect on this occasion. Style it with a good pair of fitted trousers and equally sleek white sneakers if smart casual. If business casual is needed, you can change the sneakers for stylish Loafers or Derby shoes.
A cocktail party is great because it allows you to get dressed up, but still have a little fun with the style and accessories without having to wear a full-on suit or tuxedo. Here are some basics you can add to and play around with.
The suit: every man should have at least one well-fitted suit in his wardrobe. You can get best-quality options in the range between $200 and $800 in a good high-
ail of. As a general rule, you should choose a darker colour that you can get a lot of wear out of on multiple occasions. For a party, however, you can also get away with a deep blue, olive green, dark grey or dark velvet red, but try to avoid black. You can choose to add a neck or bow tie, or go open collar with a classy pocket square.
The blazer and chino combo: you don’t always have to wear a full suit for cocktail dress codes. You can also opt for wearing separates that pair well together, such as a grey, navy blue blazer and dark chinos. Add some loafers with hidden socks and play around with variations of a pocket square to add to that dapper look.
For men, a formal event is often very easy to dress for. It usually means tuxedo-time and as far as company Christmas parties go, this is a pretty fantastic one. If you own your own tuxedo, great! If not, don’t stress because you can either shop around if you have time or rent one if you are looking for last-minute options. Here are some great tips for how to stand out in a tuxedo.
The fit: the number one rule is to make sure it fits really well. Don’t be that guy who gets lost inside the suit, or has trousers that look like they are scared of his ankles. A well-fitted suit will do wonders for your confidence so make sure this is your number one priority.
The bowtie: it is considered a major faux pas to wear a necktie with a tuxedo so you are going to need to invest in a good bowtie for this occasion. There are so many stylish options on the market. Show-off your personality by wearing a bowtie with a subtle pattern or design that you love.
The waistcoat: to waistcoat or not to waistcoat? This completely depends on your own personal style and how comfortable you are wearing one. Personally, I think a waistcoat elevates the look, especially if you don’t plan to wear your jacket the whole night. You can also consider sporting a cummerbund, but only with a tuxedo, never with a regular suit. If your goal is to stand out while looking smart, then you should strongly consider investing in either a good waistcoat or cummerbund, depending on your preference.
The colour: if you want to be a little adventurous or stand out from the crowd, why not opt for a velvet navy blue texedo , instead of the usual black. A white dress shirt underneath and a bow-tie will present you as a man who knows what he is doing.
The extras: show off your personality even further by adding personal touches in the form of a lapel pin, button studs or cufflinks. You may even add a watch, but make sure any accessory you add is in line with the rest of the look so you remain elegant, smart and classy.
Finally, if your office is organising a themed company Christmas party this year, then don’t be afraid to have fun with it and go all out.
There are plenty of ways to add a little holiday spirit to your outfit. Don’t be afraid to try new colours and new patterns. Try something new to show your personality and celebrate the end of the year.
I will leave you with my best piece of advice for this occasion: it is much better to be overdressed than underdressed, so if you cannot decide what to wear, keep this in mind.
I hope you found these tips for how to dress for your company Christmas party useful. Let me know in the comments if you decide to use any of them this year; I love to hear from my readers!
Remember that your outfit is only half of your whole image. For special occasions, the little details are what make the difference. I have worked with lots of men in the corporate and celebrity world over the years to help them with their style through 1-1 or group sessions. I also provide hair cut and styling services as well. As long as you are feeling good about how you look, you will exude confidence as soon as you walk into any room and that is my goal for everyone I work with!
If you’d like my support with your overall image or hairstyle, contact me here or reach me on +34 654 189 358 to schedule a complimentary 20 minutes call. I also team up with the professional photographers at Madas Commercial Photography & Aaron Jean photography to provide Linkedin headshot and business styling services.