‘Tis the season for holiday parties

Dr. Carol Parker Walsh

It’s that time of year; with the holiday season comes holiday parties. Get ready for a slew of invites to office parties, home parties or special celebrations at your local spiritual gathering. In addition to remembering and maintaining proper holiday party etiquette, you should also start planning party attire to ensure it’s appropriate for the location and occasion. Here are five different places where you may be wearing your holiday outfits over the next few weeks.

Church or synagogue gatherings

The level of formality for these upcoming events will vary. Think first about how your outfit can show respect for the occasion. A general rule of thumb is to limit anything too casual or too revealing. Many holiday events call for daytime dressy outfits or business casual outfits. While you’re right to consider modesty, avoid looking frumpy. Your clothes should fit you properly and flatter you.

Holiday parties

If you’re going to a more traditional holiday party, as opposed to an ugly sweater party, you may want to take your holiday outfit up a notch. Festive party invitations should signal you to reach for your jeweled clutch, sparkly brooches and faux fur wraps in every color. For a casual party hosted in someone’s home, consider dressing up your favorite pair of dark denim jeans. For men, lose the tie and opt for a stylish tweed or corduroy sports coat with your dark jeans; and ladies can add a silk blouse or tartan print blouse with a dressy flared jean and heels.

Business cocktail party

While it can be fun to celebrate the holidays with your colleagues, it’s not really the place to let loose. In fact, best to have some food in your stomach before you show up and limit the number of drinks you consume. Refrain from wearing your sexiest outfits in this setting. Play a more conservative card so no colorful office stories follow you into 2016.

New Year’s Eve party

Where will you be for the countdown? Try to wear something other than predictable black! Whether you are at a gala or an intimate house party, stand out with color, print and/or textures. This holiday is all about celebrating good times so have fun creating excitement in your outfit.

Theatre or ballet

The Nutcracker performances, holiday concerts or theater events are plentiful in the month of December. Will you be attending? If you’re hitting the big city for a show, you may also be getting dinner or drinks beforehand. Make this occasion extra special by looking radiant in color. If you’re attending matinee performances with your children, don’t be too casual. A few selected pieces will add to the spirit of the holidays whether it’s casual or dressy.

Enjoy this holiday season and I hope the holidays find you in great outfits making great memories.

Dr. Carol Parker Walsh, a certified image professional and owner of Camas-based Evolve Image Consulting, is the expert behind the Vancouver Business Journal’s advice column: Dress Code. These columns will specialize in strategies for developing a positive and professional self-image. Walsh can be reached at carol@evolvingyourimage.com.

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