How to Dress for a Formal Christmas Party

There are plenty of reasons why a company Christmas party should terrify you. Should you drink or not? How long should you stay? Do you talk to the boss or does that seem brown-nosy?

What should you wear?

That last one might be the most important, especially if it’s a formal Christmas party. The bar for “Dressed Appropriately” is an easy one to clear, especially if you follow these three tips for stylish Christmas party attire.

Keep it simple, suited

Remember: this is a party, not a wedding! You don’t need to break out the tux tonight when wondering what to wear to a company Christmas party. You’re aiming for comfortably professional, whether the dress requirement is casual or formal.

But we are talking formal here, so time to break out one of those tailored suits for men you rarely wear to work. Navy is a great color; not overly festive but livelier than bland grey or black. And it’s a great opportunity to accent your simple, yet stylish, suit game with an overly festive red reindeer tie. Your coworkers will know you know how to look good but with a sense of humor.

Your vest game should be on point, as well. Some of the best men’s suits are offset with a grey, wool-blend vest with an adjustable strap to keep you comfortable while you’re sharing stories over drinks or hitting the awkward company coworker dance floor.

White is as safe a dress shirt color as always, but this might be the right occasion to whip out your nice shirts in shades of red, especially if they’re patterned. Whichever color you choose, just make sure it’s crisply ironed and ready to go.

Tis the season for accessories

As we mentioned, just because it’s a formal party doesn’t mean you shouldn’t infuse some holiday spirit into your attire. If the main course of your get-up is simple and stylish, use the entrees as your chance to stand out from the crowd. (Food analogies in your fashion tips!)

This is where socks really come in handy, other than that whole “keeping your feet odor contained” thing. Wear candy canes on your feet. Make sure your boss notices that Santa is golfing on your ankles, and maybe he’ll invite you to the links sometime.

If you go with suspenders, make sure they’re red or burgundy. Same rule applies to your pocket square game. A formal party isn’t the time for obnoxious holiday gear, but the right accessories can make up the holiday spirit difference with panache.

If you want to test the casual waters …

If you have it on good authority your formal Christmas party is more “loosely formal” than “rigidly formal,” it might be worth risking everything to go a little more casual than the options we just listed.

A simple sport coat could do, but color matching is important here. Light grey, tailored sport jacket? Layer a blue, long sleeve knitted polo underneath. Opting for a classic, dark grey two-button sport jacket? Wear a camel long sleeve knit polo underneath. And if you go the sweater route, make sure it’s a nice merino wool with strong green or red colors. You want to breathe comfortably in wool, not sweat among throngs of coworkers at your party.

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