Holiday Party Dress Code

Tis the season for holiday parties which means lots of small talk, Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD, mistletoe, and egg nog hangovers. It also means having to put together an outfit that says “I’m classy, but I’m here to party.”… I’m kidding, but seriously…If you’re just getting out of college, then chances are you’re an HPV- Holiday Party Virgin, because hosting an Ugly Sweater Party at your frat house last year doesn’t count, and showing up to a block party, office party, or family party dressed in an ugly sweater, Elf boxers, and a Santa hat isn’t going to land your name on anybody’s “nice list” this season, let alone next year’s invite list serve.

The look to aim for when it comes to dressing for holiday parties is “comfortable sophistication.” This means putting away the Elf boxers and ugly sweater, because while those things might be comfortable, they are hardly sophisticated. However, unless explicitly stated in some sort of “you are cordially invited…” invitation, there is really no need to break out the expensive suit or tux. It’s a party- you’re there to mingle and have fun, and you should be comfortable doing it.

It’s important to keep the venue and the audience in mind when choosing any outfit, but this is especially true when t comes to a party. However, there are a few pretty safe bet items that are sure to suit any party’s style. Try a pair of corduroys or chinos in a dark color like Navy, Burgundy, or Brown, or a pair of slim fit dark wash jeans on the bottom. On top, try a sport or dress shirt in a lighter color like chambray, white, or even salmon. Couple this with a nice navy, burgundy, or grey sports coat in a tweed, wool, or cashmere. If that’s too much, opt for a sweater vest or cardigan in place of the blazer. Either way, top it off with a classic skinny tie and you are good to go.

Remember that it’s a party. Add an accent item to your outfit, like a saturated sweater in a deep color, a velvet blazer, a bright patterned tie, or really nice suede wingtips or boots in a fun, complimentary color!


Don’t be afraid to mix fabric materials and patterns. Have fun with it!

Remember that the holiday season is all about giving, so don’t come empty handed. Greet the host or hostess with a bottle of wine, seasonal candle, or festive food like holiday popcorn or cookies.

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