The Office Party

From the Holiday E-mail Bag:

I have a question that only your expertise can answer!!

We have our office Christmas party on a Tuesday in December at a wine bar in downtown Raleigh. I normally wear business casual to work (sometimes a jacket, sometimes not). Do I go to the party in the same clothes from work or do I change??

I need some help!!

Amy

First can I say that having the office Christmas party at a wine bar is BRILLIANT? I love wine bars; more sophisticated than a bar, but less stuffy than a restaurant. Fabulous. Have a nice glass of white for me, Amy.

For a post-work office party, build on what you will wear to work that day, rather than starting over with a new outfit. Start with a nice pair of trousers or a skirt and add a beautiful blouse, something dressier than what you would normally wear to work. Amy could chose something a little bit sexy and cover it for the workday with a great jacket that she takes off for the party, or she could go with something festive but less revealing. Another popular option this season is a great dress; again, Amy could wear a jacket or cardigan over it to the office, and pare down for the party.

Amy should also think carefully about accessories. I had a good friend in graduate school whose significant other had a Real Job (the rest of us were married to grad students). She often met him for cocktail hour work functions, and her strategy was to wear something simple and basic (a little black dress or a sweater and nice jeans) and to pack a few fabulous accessories: an elegant necklace or some really fabulous earrings, a pair of sexy shoes, a little evening bag At the end of her work day, she swapped her practical pumps for her party shoes, changed her jewelry, and headed for the party.

While Amy is changing her shoes and her earrings, she can touch up her makeup a little. No matter how little makeup you wear during the day, you can always go with more for evening. Amy could pack a brighter lipstick (a nice holiday red, for example) or some shimmery eye shadow. As with her outfit, she doesn’t need to start over; a sweep of shadow is all it takes to make your eyes look more festive. Chose one feature to play up; lips and eyes are the easiest. Don’t go overboard but feel free to be more dramatic than you would during the day. If you are someone who wears no makeup at all during the day, just a sweep of black mascara can be a festive change.

The key is to wear something that is appropriate, comfortable, and festive. Combining pieces you would wear to the office on a normal day with pieces that you would wear for a party is an easy way to bridge office-to-cocktails. Have fun, Amy! And report back about what you wore.

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