Dressing for Holiday Parties! From the office blow-out to the casual cocktail party.

Holidays can be a very stressful time amid the multitude of family obligations, work deadlines and travel. The upside? Lot’s of parties! Don’t stress- follow two simple rules and step out of your comfort zone.

The single most important rule is that if you’re dressed well, you can never be over dressed. You can, however, be underdressed. When in doubt, look your best.The second rule is to experiment. A party is a time to let loose and enjoy yourself. Don’t wear the same thing you would any ordinary day. Experiment with new colors, patterns and combos and step out of your comfort zone.

The office holiday party is probably the most challenging event to dress for. You want to wear something special, but you still have to go to work the next day! It’s a great time to step away from the comfort zone of your work “uniform” and experiment with different looks.

Do you go to work in the same charcoal and navy suits everyday? Time to add some color!  Leave the white and blue shirts you wear with your conservative closet and add a bolder combination of color or pattern for a more playful look. A bolder shirt/tie combo can transform even the most conservative suit without being too aggressive.


Work in jeans? It’s time to show everyone how well you clean up. Throw on your best suit or sharpest blazer. There is a time and place for everything and even your techiest friends will appreciate your sartorial twist.


Cocktail parties can be a bit more confusing and rarely come with a set dress-code. When in doubt? Throw on a slim cut suit and bold shirt. You can never be over-dressed in a well-cut suit. Another good option is to wear a black or navy blazer over dark jeans. Leave your khakis and sweaters at home and keep your look clean.

More casual gatherings with friends and families are a great time for layers. Casual doesn’t mean sloppy; your sweatshirts and winter coats are for walking the dog. Instead, combine a colorful cotton or cashmere sweater under a sport jacket. It’s a great time to wear your heavier weight sport jackets in tweeds and wools to keep warm on cool fall days without giving up your sartorial edge.


At the end of the day, parties are a time to have fun and let loose. Let your clothing set the tone for something out of the ordinary and put yourself in the right mood to enjoy the holiday season!

*Originally appeared in the recurring blog “Checkmate, Menswear” at JacQ Magazine



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