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Barbara Aleks Hecht

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Five Ways to Dress for Success at Your Holiday Party

Posted: 11/28/2012 5:42 pm

November's coming to end and we all know what that means. Yup. That's right. Holiday events and parties. Whether for business or pleasure, most people's December schedules are filled with lunches, dinners, cocktail parties and get-togethers. So how do successfully manage to stay on top of all these events, knowing that you're going out looking your absolute best?

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  • DON'T: Bitch about your job

    Regardless of how crummy your week is going or how much you hate whatever project is on the go, your office party is not the time or place to vent. Gloom is contagious, so don't selfishly bring your colleagues down. Put on a smile and leave the work bitching for another time.

  • DON'T: Text or talk through the president's speech

    It doesn't matter if this is the first or 10th time you will hear your president's annual holiday address. Be a good audience and give them your undivided attention.

  • DON'T: Get blazingly drunk

    There is always someone who indulges so much that the legend of their drunkenness follows them into the following year. Don't be that person. By all means, get festive over some punch or eggnog, but don't be the topic of tomorrow's water cooler talk. Celebrate moderately.

  • DON'T: Only talk to your work bestie

    The temptation to catch up with your office friends is enticing, as they are likely the people you feel more comfortable with in a social setting. Make a point to speak to people outside of your day-to-day circle and invite other people into conversations throughout the night.

  • DON'T: Be extremely over or underdressed

    Two minutes investigating the recommended dress code is time well spent. You'll want to be on the smart side of the sartorial spectrum, which likely means a notch or two above how you'd dress if you were interviewing for the job you currently hold. Nothing too casual, too short, too tight, or with too many reindeer on it.

Here are five ways to ensure that you're well prepared and looking fabulous for any and all of your holiday festivities:

1. Admit You Have an Event
Sounds pretty ridiculous doesn't it -- admitting you have an event? But you'd be surprised how many people know that they have an important event coming up, stare at the reminder on their calendar for weeks, then are completely shocked the day of. How do I know this? Because I do it. All the time. The key is to admit it's coming, deal with it head on and be prepared.

Get all your info ahead of time, too. Find out either who will be there or the type of people that will be there. Is it a networking event that's quite business-focused or a holiday party with more of a festive theme? What is the dress code or what will you be expected to wear? Finding out ahead of time can often save you from some embarrassing moments -- like showing up dressed inappropriately.

2. Plan Your Look
Now that you know what you're up against, it's time to plan your look. What sort of impression would you like to make? If you're not sure how to figure it out, imagine yourself walking into the event fashionably late. Most of the people are already there and they turn to look at you when you walk in. Other than the crowd thinking, "Oh there's Susan, stumbling in late again," consider what you'd like others to see.

Do you want them to see the boss looking ever-so-chic? The life of the party, finally arriving in her slinkiest, sexiest, most daring number? Or maybe you'd like to be seen as a well dressed, approachable person looking like she'd fit right in? The choice is yours.

3. Know the Forecast
The next step is to know the weather forecast for the day of your event. As we all know, this is something you can plan for but not always rely on. But if your event is in the middle of December and you living in Winnipeg, you can pretty much count on it being cold. And even though you'll probably be inside a nicely heated room, a summer outfit just wouldn't quite cut it. Awkward.

4. Start Pulling Pieces
All right. You've admitted you have an event, you know the look you're going for, you're prepared for the elements (probably), so now it's time to pull some outfits.

Take a look at what you have in your closet that would work. Does it still fit? Does it have any tears or stains? Do you have all the pieces you need to accessorize it? How about the shoes? Are they in good shape or do they need some TLC?

If you've got all the pieces and everything looks good, fits and is ready to go then you're good. But if something needs altering, cleaning or if you need to do some shopping then make sure to leave yourself enough time prior to the event to get it done.

5. Put It All Together
It's the day of the event, you're well prepared and now it's time to put it all together. If you're planning on doing any prep work, like hair, nails, shaving or waxing, leave yourself enough time to get the job done. All these little things take time and add up. You'd hate to run out of time and find yourself doing your nails in the cab on the ride over.

And one last final piece of advice. Enjoy! Revel in the fact that you planned ahead, were well organized and came out looking fabulous.

 

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