Holiday Party Dress Codes Decoded
It’s holiday season and that means you’re more than likely going to be attending some type of holiday festivity, whether it be your office holiday party, a night out with friends, or a black tie event. While it is undoubtedly an enjoyable time of the year to partake in jolly cheer and spirits, knowing what to wear can be hard. So here is my guide to knowing what the suggested invitation attire means and what is appropriate for a variety of occasions.
Black Tie Required:
For men, wear a black tuxedo jacket with matching trousers, formal white shirt (pique or pleated-front fabric) and tie. The tie can be a black, white, or silver/gray bow tie or traditional tie. Other options include suspenders or cummerbund to match the tie. Shoes should be black patent leather with black dress socks.
For women, wear a formal evening dress (i.e., full length) or short, dressy cocktail dress. Usually something with more embellishment such as sequins, beading, lace, feathers, etc. is appropriate, especially when opting for a shorter dress. The dress you choose can have more drama than you would usually wear such as an open back, plunging neckline, fullness in the skirt, and embellishment. You can also add fur in various forms such as through a shrug or boa. Also, jewelry can be more intricate, larger, and bolder. This season’s big trends are ostrich feathers, jeweled embellishments (such as on the bodice, neckline, or shoulder), lace, and floral prints and motifs. High heel shoes are most common, keep in mind that any heel height is better than flats or wedges.
Black Tie Recommended:
This actually means that black tie is optional and warrants anything between black tie required and cocktail attire. Follow any recommendations above from Black Tie Required but know there is more freedom.
For men, you can wear a tuxedo (as outlined above) or a black or dark navy suit with white shirt and conservative tie. Shoes and socks should be black.
For women, same guidelines as above but you can also do dressy separates, which would entail skirt/top combinations, or even a more formal jacket and pants. Again, heels are a good idea here.
Creative Black Tie:
Anything mentioned above would be fine but with the “creative” additions. This means you have more freedom to add more trendy, whimsical, and colorful elements to the attire. This could be a black shirt or a more vibrant tie pattern for men and additional trendy accessories for women (i.e., combining several key trends within one outfit).
Aim for black tie recommended with some freedom to incorporate creative black tie elements as well.
For men, a suit is appropriate (see black tie recommended sans the tuxedo).
For women, opt for a short dress (see black tie recommended sans the long formal dress) or separates.
This is basically a semiformal dress code with some festive elements that can be added.
For men, a suit or slacks and sport coat or blazer is fine and no tie is necessary.
For women, a cocktail dress that has less formal elements is appropriate - meaning the fabric/material can be less formal and more like a day dress. With festive though, you can still add more elaborate jewelry and feathers and other embellishments. Heels, wedges, or flats are fine.
Same idea as business casual but with some holiday colors or designs added.
For men, slacks and sport coat or blazer is fine and no tie is required.
For women, slacks or skirt with knit top or sweater is fine. Heels, wedges, flats or boots are fine.
Remember that holiday means you can add sparkle and embellishment that is not usually called for at other times of the year. This should be fun so let your attire help you get more into the festive spirit!
Do you have any specific questions? I am happy to answer so please leave a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.