Tafadzwa Zimoyo (The Boss) Business closet
What to wear and how to dress for the festive season and mood will be my topic of discussion today. This is the time where most companies shut down for Christmas holidays. Some throw huge parties for their employees and give out bonuses. People’s pockets are generally fat and clothing is one of those areas that get a lot of spending during this time of the year.
By the way, the festive season remains notoriously confounding in terms of the dress code. Some individuals will find themselves debating whether to wear this or that for one of the many different parties they are invited to.
Now that holiday parties are in full swing, with our sister publication The Herald expected to host one this week, I felt it was time to turn to the experts, the stylish women and one man with the gift for looking chic and appropriate for any occasion.
The main point here is that a suit is not always the answer this time of year. It is not only how you dress that counts, but how you behave that matters at the end of the day at these parties.
Thank you Vogue Magazine for this month’s edition on such tips.
However, although Christmas parties are definitely the time to get your festive on, work parties can be tricky because unless you are best friends with all your co-workers it can be difficult to guess what everyone else will be wearing. Sequin dresses? Jeans with a festive sweater?
Honestly nowadays you probably see a little bit of everything, but this doesn’t mean effort shouldn’t go into your ensemble. How we chose to look when we face each occasion has an enormous impact on self-confidence.
Why should we settle for just looking good enough, when STUNNING, DYNAMITE OR FANTASTIC is within reach?
And it really is!
On to the tips:
(1) Don’t be fashionably late.
This is a company function, not an excuse for you to make a grand entrance.
Nor is it a random house party at which you might not know anyone.
If the event is called for right after work, head over with a few colleagues.
If it’s later in the evening, make a point of being on time — you wouldn’t be late for work, would you?
(2) Don’t only talk shop.
Obviously, every guest has one very specific thing in common — work.
However, nothing kills a festive mood faster than droning on about Q4, the status of that past-due spreadsheet, the lack of coffee in the break room, or how the copy machines never work.
Instead, ask your colleagues if they have any other fun holiday plans, where they live (if you don’t know), or anything else not office-related.
It’s a party, loosen up.
(3) Do not mingle.
Anyone who’s worked in an office knows that inter-departmental cliques are inevitable, but social events are prime opportunities to get to know colleagues you don’t work with daily, or to introduce yourself to important people that aren’t in the office regularly — the CEO, key clients, folks from another city’s satellite office.
A little friendliness goes a long way at work. That said, DO NOT openly flirt with a colleague or — yikes! — hookup with one openly.
Making out at the bar with that cute guy from sales and marketing or newsroom in front of your boss somehow is not cute.
(4) Don’t bring a guest if you were asked not to.
Yeah, sometimes it bites to have to exclude your significant other from festivities, but parties can get pricey — and your company probably thought long and hard about whether they have the budget to allow guests to attend.
That said, don’t bring your boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend anyway and think your office won’t notice because it’s only one extra person.
Also: Do not sneakily have them meet you at the end of the party just in time for one last drink, that’s childish.
Use this off-the-clock time to hang with colleagues instead.
(5) Don’t gossip.
The office party is not the time to complain about your unfair boss, your annoying assistant, or the company’s politics at large. Not only do you run the risk of having the wrong person hear you, but it’s also majorly unprofessional.
The company is celebrating its employees, and guests should be grateful.
Yes, even if the soiree is in the aforementioned break room.
(6) Don’t show too much skin.
Festive attire is relative, but the fact that it’s a work event should be crystal-clear, so save the skin-tight sequin backless dress for a party you attend on your own time, not the company’s.
If you’re itching to wear something sparkly, try a sequin or beaded skirt paired with tights, a tailored blazer or a chic cashmere sweater.
Also refrain from anything too low-cut, too teenager-y, or too flashy. This isn’t your birthday party.
(7) Don’t get hammered.
Not to be too preachy — we’re sure you know your limits — but nothing can bust your work reputation faster than getting too drunk at the holiday party.
Avoid being the subject of next-day gossip (and the dreaded trip to HR) by keeping your intake to what you know you can handle.
The biggest tip to remember: If dinner isn’t being served, eat first.
Only amateurs show up to a cocktail party on an empty stomach.
(8) Don’t leave after five minutes.
You might think nobody will notice if you slip out after a few minutes, but guess what?
Showing up for a hot second sends a message that you’ve got better things to do, which doesn’t reflect positively on you. If you truly have something pressing — your grandma’s 90th birthday dinner, for example — be sure to shoot a note to your supervisors beforehand letting them know you’ll be leaving early, or you’re unable to attend.
Likewise, don’t leave before saying goodbye to your boss.
(9) Don’t be glued to your phone — or post real-time social media updates.
This is a big one: The act of obsessively checking your phone every two minutes is a party faux-pas — even at a work function. You can bet your boss won’t be thrilled if he’s trying to talk to you, and you’re staring at your iPhone the whole time. Checking Instagram can wait.
Similarly, do not post any status updates, tweet about your boss in real time, or snap any candid pictures of colleagues when they’re not looking.
That’s just weird.
(10) Don’t forget to thank the organisers.
Like any good party guest knows, thanking your hosts is good form — you’ll look polite, grateful, and mature. No need to make a big show of it — sending a quick email the next morning to your boss or the team that organized the event is more than enough.
Just some food for thought … and I’m so happy that our metallic dress is in line with guideline number 6.
Enjoy the parties…