It’s that time of year again. People are anticipating holiday gatherings with friends and family. And, of course, there’s the obligatory work Christmas gathering, when everyone gathers together to engage in some epic water cooler talk while enjoying each other’s company outside the office.
Whether you want to attend or not, dressing for the party could have long-term implications on your career trajectory. Avoid these common mistakes as you dress to impress and look forward to letting your hair down….within reason, of course.
1- Ignoring The Dress Code
A holiday party is a chance to dress up and express more of your personal style than you normally would in a typical workday. It’s still important to remember that your boss is likely to see your fashion choices as well. Leave the clubbing clothes in the closet, and choose something that communicates your personal style without revealing too much of your inner child.
2- Dressing In Costume
It’s generally frowned upon to show up at your Christmas gathering dressed as an elf, Santa, or any type of holiday icon. If you absolutely must show a little holiday spirit, choose colors and jewelry over all-out cosplay gear, and you’ll avoid any unpleasant interactions from those who aren’t so cheery during the holidays.
3- Accessorizing With Jingle Bells
While jingle bells are a standard holiday staple, their cuteness lasts mere minutes. Once the novelty wears off, you just become one giant annoying distraction to others who are trying to enjoy conversations. Leave the noisy decor behind and focus on elements of your outfit that can express your holiday cheer quietly.
4- Wearing Light-up Decorations
Clothing that requires a battery pack may not be appropriate for your swanky work affair. Take that Rudolph holiday sweater out of your Amazon cart and consider other ways to add spice to your outfit. Men, choose items like bold colors and casual slacks. Women, use this as an opportunity to add some sparkly jewelry or a sequined wrap to an understated outfit.
5- Wearing Mistletoe
Mistletoe and free-flowing beverages generally don’t mix well at a holiday gathering. Remember that social media pics are ripe for picking at a holiday gathering, and you don’t want to gain a reputation as someone who enjoys kissing coworkers. Regardless of whether you are attached or single, leave the mistletoe for someone who will be a willing partner at a less formal gathering.
6- Not Having Clothes Dry Cleaned
Dressing your best at a holiday work party makes a personal and professional impression on those who see you. Showing up in frumpy, wrinkled, or dirty clothing sends a message that you don’t pay attention to the little details–and this can translate to how people view you at work the following Monday morning. Get your holiday gear professionally dry cleaned and pressed before the big event, and your confidence and presence will communicate that you go the extra mile in all of your endeavors.
7- Wearing Uncomfortable Shoes
Nothing kills the party mood more quickly than squeezing into an impossible pair of shoes for a night out on the town. Kicking your mules off shortly after arrival also sends the wrong message too, regardless of how good your pedicure looks. Choose shoes that are stylish yet comfortable so you can focus your attention on social interactions rather than how your feet feel all evening long.
Don’t be the one that everyone is talking about on Monday morning for all of your social infractions. A little forethought and planning will allow you to make an impression without embarrassing yourself or your coworkers.