The Office Party, Part Two

I have a confession: I always have a hard time figuring out what to wear to Wade’s work functions. Not as hard a time as I have finding a sitter, but still! Hard. Some of this has to do with the fact that my work wardrobe consists entirely of things that can go in the washing machine, but there is also an element of not knowing what exactly is appropriate in this particular situation. Because you know, I don’t work there! And I don’t know these people!

So what do you wear to HIS office party? And what should HE wear?

For the after work party, go with some version of what you might wear to work; if your work consists of picking playdough out of the rug and filling cups with juice, think of this as an opportunity to pull out some of your favorite dry-clean-only pieces. If you’re in that post-baby stage where NOTHING FITS, DAMMIT, take a look at Old Navy; they have some lovely dressy trousers for under $40.00, some of which are MACHINE WASHABLE, even. Although at that price, you could wear them around the kids with nary a worry!

A weekend party can be trickier, as no one will be coming from work. Think of the Saturday night party as an opportunity to Dress Up; chose something more dressy than what you would wear to the office. Choose a beautiful skirt or dress and some fabulous shoes. Be sparkly! You deserve it.

This brings us to the Million Dollar Question: how dressed up is TOO dressed up? I would say ask your husband, but if he’s like MY husband, he will have NO IDEA what anyone else will be wearing (dammit). Instead, think about what kind of party you’re going to–is it an open house? cocktails? drinks and dinner? will there be dancing?

The open house is the most casual of these options, with cocktail party a close second. Because this is an OFFICE party, I do not suggest jeans; I also wouldn’t necessarily suggest your little black dress for an open house. Wear a fun skirt with a pretty sweater, or a pair of nice trousers with a fantastic jacket; choose one stand-out piece to make your outfit party-ready. I’ve worn my beaded lace skirt with a jean jacket for a holiday Girls Dinner, for example; I’ve also worn a silk skirt with a cashmere turtleneck and some great boots. Your husband could opt for corduroys or wool trousers and a sweater, or an open-collared shirt with a jacket.

Dinner–particularly dinner and dancing–typically calls for something dressier. Wear your little black dress or a beautiful skirt and blouse; wear heels. Your husband should wear a jacket and tie, or a suit, if this is a really dressy function. I’m not a fan of the Holiday Themed Tie, but he’s going to wear one, make sure it is a NICE tie, not some cheap thing from the Dollar Store. It should be long enough to hang correctly and substantial enough to make a good knot. If you MUST do the Holiday Tie, might I suggest something in a festive tartan, rather than something Frosty the Snowman? Please?

It’s important to remember that the office party is a WORK function; ripped jeans and excessive cleavage are not appropriate for work, and they’re not appropriate for the office party. Even if his (or your) office is Friday Casual every day, don’t assume that you can show up for the holiday party looking like you spent the day on the sofa. As with the job interview, err on the side of slightly MORE dressed up; look like you’re happy to be there. Chose something that makes you feel pretty–this is a party, after all! Enjoy it.

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