What To Wear To an Office Holiday Party

By Indeed Editorial Team

May 4, 2022

Holiday work parties can be a fun way to engage with employees and celebrate company achievements at the end of the year. Depending on the venue, theme and dress code of the event, you should have many options for a suitable work party outfit. You can choose an outfit that best expresses your creativity and professionalism.

In this article, we explain what to wear to a holiday work party, how to choose the best outfit for the party and tips to help you look presentable at the event.

What is a holiday work party?

A holiday work party is a planned event a company may hold to celebrate a season with its employees. Some holiday work parties may occur as casual outings and take place in locations like restaurants or bowling alleys, while others may be held in more formal venues like dance halls or a supervisor's home. They often occur around November, December or January.

Since the theme and venue can vary depending on the company you work at, know there are many types of outfits appropriate for such an event. Keep in mind some work parties may take place during work hours, while others may occur during the evening or on a weekend. If your work party is happening during work hours, you may be able to wear your current workplace outfit to the party. If the holiday party is outside of work hours, though, you may have the opportunity to dress up, depending on the dress code.

Related: Guide to company culture

How to choose a holiday work party outfit

When preparing for your office's holiday party, you should remember to dress comfortably while maintaining the overall theme and dress code. Follow the steps below to learn how to choose the best holiday work party outfit.

1. Consider when and where the party will be

An office party is typically hosted by the human resources department, marketing department or the office manager. They often create flyers or send emails to notify employees of when and where the holiday party will be held at least a week or two in advance. This should give you an appropriate amount of time to plan your outfit.

Knowing where the event is held can help you decide whether your outfit should be casual or formal to match the venue and atmosphere of the party.

2. Verify the dress code

When you learn the date and location of the party, you may also be informed of the dress code. If the dress code isn't mentioned on the initial event flyer or email, talk to the department throwing the party. You can also ask other office members to learn what they are wearing to get an idea of what the overall outfit theme may be.

You can also estimate what the dress code is based on where the event is held and who is most likely to attend. For example, if your holiday party is located at your supervisor's home and other members of leadership or clients have confirmed their attendance, you may want to dress formal, professional or sophisticated.

Related: Dress Codes for All Business Occasions

3. Find comfortable shoes

While choosing the best outfit for the party, you can start by finding the shoes you'd like to wear and then focus the rest of your outfit on that clothing piece. Depending on the event, you may move around or stand for long periods at a time, so you should find comfortable shoes that make it easier to remain on your feet for several hours.

4. Choose your colors thoughtfully

Your holiday work party outfit can be a way for you to stand out and express yourself through your wardrobe. You can wear clothes that have bright and fun colors to show your festive holiday spirit. Popular holiday colors are red and green, which can be worn in any piece of your wardrobe, including in the accessories you decide to wear. To remain subtle and professional, you can wear darker or lighter colors.

Related: Your Guide To Business Professional Attire (With Examples)

5. Arrive clean-cut and well-groomed

You should look presentable at your holiday work party to show your supervisors and fellow employees that you took the time and dedication to prepare for the event. This effort can be seen as respectful to both leadership and the team members who planned the event, as well as other employees.

Related: What To Wear To a Business Dinner

Holiday work party outfit ideas

The work party outfit you wear to your company's holiday function will depend on what kind of party is thrown. Luckily, there are many styles to match any party dress code, from casual to festive to sophisticated. Below are some outfit ideas, categorized by style, that you can try putting together for your next office holiday party.

1. Casual

If your office party's location is at a venue like a bowling alley, an escape room or in the office break room, you can wear a casual outfit to the party that is both presentable and comfortable. You can wear clothing items like:

  • Jeans

  • Blouse

  • Dress shirt

  • Polo shirt

  • Button-down shirt

  • Comfortable, closed-toed shoes

  • Clean sneakers

Your outfit should look comfortable enough to move around in as you mingle and engage in office games or activities.

Related: Casual Dress Code: Definition, Tips and Examples

2. Sophisticated

For office parties held in more formal areas like private party venues or dance halls, you may want to find an ensemble that expresses your sophistication. The following items can be effective pieces to wear with your holiday work party outfit:

  • Pencil skirt

  • Comfortable, professional heels

  • Long-sleeved dress shirt or blouse

  • Dress shoes

  • A fashionable belt

  • Dress pants

  • Button vest

  • Diamond or silver necklaces, bracelets or earrings

You can choose to wear bold colors with this sophisticated look if they still help you maintain an elegant style. Many employees at an office party will choose to wear darker colors like burgundy, navy or black when sporting a sophisticated look.

3. Holiday-themed

If your company tells you the theme is fun and festive, you can often wear clothes that are holiday-themed. This means you can purchase holiday sweaters or outfits with festive colors like blue, white, red, green, gold or silver. Here are a few pieces you can wear:

  • Funny, but appropriate, holiday sweaters

  • Sparkly dresses

  • Comfortable shoes

  • Festive jewelry or accessories

  • Comfortable pants or jeans

Many companies will choose a holiday theme to let employees express their creativity, so you should take the opportunity to wear festive outfits alongside your other coworkers.

Related: 10 Ways To Demonstrate Your Business Dinner Etiquette (With Tips)

4. Festive velvet

Stores often have velvet outfits available during the holiday season. Clothing you can find with velvet fabric includes:

  • Dress shirts and blouses

  • Suit jackets

  • Dresses

  • Professional boots, booties or heels

  • Blazers

This clothing can be worn to different work parties depending on the theme and dress code. If you’re unsure if your velvet piece will match the style of the party, you can talk with the department hosting the party to gain their insight.

5. Warm and comfortable

If the event takes place outside, you can choose a look that is warm and comfortable to move around in. Here are a few pieces you can use:

  • Turtleneck sweater

  • Warm, but professional pants

  • Jeans

  • Turtleneck dress with warm tights

  • Sweater vest

  • Boots or booties

  • Faux fur vest or jacket

  • Belted jacket

This outfit can keep you warm throughout the party and can be worn at casual, simple or festive-themed events.

Related: What Does "Business Casual" Mean? (With Example Outfits)

6. Professional

If the event is held in your supervisor's home or takes place with clients, you have many outfit options to help you maintain a professional look. Here are some pieces you can try incorporating into your outfit:

  • Long-sleeved blouse

  • Pencil skirt

  • Blazer

  • Professional and comfortable heels

  • Two-piece suit

  • Dress shoes

  • Tie or bow tie

This outfit can help you remain professional during your work party as you mingle with clients and other employees. You can wear patterns like plaid, tweed or stripes to maintain that professional tone.

Related: Your Guide To Business Professional Attire (With Examples)

7. Simple

If the dress code hasn't been established and you're unsure what to wear, you can choose a simple look that is comfortable and visually appealing. Here are a few outfit options you might choose for this simple style:

  • Colorful and flowing dresses

  • Dresses or blouses with sheer sleeves

  • Comfortable heels or flats

  • Button-down shirts

  • Dress pants or jeans

  • Polo shirts

  • Clean sneakers

Choosing a simple look can help you remain presentable while still providing comfort and room to move around the party and participate in games or activities with coworkers.

8. Bold and unique

If the party doesn't require a certain dress code, you can wear colors that are bright, bold and unique to your personality. This can be a great way for you to express your confidence and wear something that stands out. Here are a few pieces you can wear:

  • Chunky bracelets, earrings or necklaces

  • Bright or colorful tops

  • Matching colorful pants or skirts

  • Heels or shirts with a festive pattern or color

  • Bright or colorful sweaters

  • Sparkly dresses, jackets or shirts

Related: Best Colors To Wear to a Job Interview

Tips when deciding what to wear to a holiday work party

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing what to wear to a holiday work party and what to do before and during the event:

Wear workplace-appropriate outfits

As you settle on an outfit to wear to your holiday work party, you should make sure it’s appropriate for the party and for work. Ensure that all aspects of your outfit comply with the rules of the party’s dress code if you were given one. If a dress code was not provided, you should make sure your outfit upholds the professional look you like to maintain around your supervisors and employees in the workplace.

Make sure all clothes are clean and wrinkle-free

You should decide on your outfit at least a few days before the party to give you enough time to wash and iron any clothing pieces that require it. Check your outfit in the mirror before you leave to make sure you look professional, and that your clothes are rid of all stains and wrinkles. Even if the party is happening outside of work hours, you should still maintain a professional presence with employees and supervisors throughout the entire event.

Browse more articles