Whether it’s a sophisticated soiree with the neighbours, the office Christmas party, or a raucous night on the town with your friends, it is likely that your holiday season social calendar is already starting to fill up.
Planning what to wear to your holiday party’s is as essential a part of your pre-holiday preparation as buying gifts for loved ones or eating one too many holiday cookies.
The fact is that choosing what to wear to a party can be much trickier than it first appears, especially if you don’t have an official dress code to follow or have no idea what anyone else is wearing to the event.
Here’s how to dress for any party, no matter what the level of formality:
Beyond Black Tie
One of the easiest and most elegant party dress code to dress for is black tie. This is the most formal kind of party that you can be invited to, and is a look that will make any man look suave and classic.
The good news is that, whilst purchasing a tuxedo can be an expensive investment, nailing this stylish dress code is surprisingly easy. It is essential to ensure that your tuxedo fits perfectly and team it with the correct accessories.
This outfit should comprise of:a single-breasted dinner jacket, tailored black trousers, crisp white dress shirt, high shine leather dress shoes, and a black bow tie. Channel your inner James Bond and you’ll have this look nailed.
Interesting fact: even if you own a dress watch, most upper class men don’t wear one when they are wearing an evening tuxedo. This is because wearing a watch indicates your are watching the clock rather than focusing on enjoying the hospitality you have been offered. The traditional tuxedo is black, but if you’re looking for something a little more unusual that will stand out for all the right reasons then why not experiment with a rich plum or navy blue version?
Don’t forget that whilst the initial purchase cost of your tuxedo may seem pricey, it is worth getting the best quality model you can afford. This classic wardrobe staple is something that will never go out of style, so even if you only wear it once or twice a year, it could last at least a decade, giving you a great cost per wear ratio.
Dynamic Dinner Party
If you’ve been invited to a dinner party then deciphering the dress code can be a complicated endeavour.
Dinner party invitations rarely come with an explicit dress code, meaning that you are left to reach your own conclusions about the right thing to wear. (And there are no words more confusing than ‘smart casual’ on an invitation, as this ambiguous phrase means different things to different people.)
If you’re in any doubt about the dress code for any occasion then a good rule of thumb is to avoid wearing jeans. These decidedly casual pants are very difficult to dress up to an appropriate level if you arrive to find everyone at the party wearing formal wear!
Instead, opt for chinos or smart slacks paired with an open shirt and a statement blazer in a contrasting colour.
Patterned jackets are bang on trend this season, so if you are looking to stand out and have the confidence to experiment then why not try a jacket in a rich brocade? Alternatively, inject interest and depth into your outfit by experimenting with texture as well as colour and pattern: velvet has been declared the fabric of the season, and this rich and thick fabric has an immediately festive feel. It also looks luxurious and expensive, no matter how much (or how little) you’ve spent on the piece.
Here are some of our favourite velvet jackets sure to help you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons this holiday season:
When it comes to accessories, keep things simple: killer shoes and a great watch should be all you need. Since the average man owns twelve pairs of shoes, choosing the right shoes to match your outfit is essential.
Avoid sneakers and opt for a dark shoe in high quality leather or suede. We love Chelsea boots for smart-casual occasions such as these, but a dress shoe or brogue would work just as well if these are what you have in your armoury.
Casual Party or Drinks With Friends
When it comes to choosing what to wear for a casual party, or drinks in your favourite bar with friends, almost anything goes. These occasions very rarely have a dress code, leaving you with much more freedom to inject your own style and personality into what you wear.
If you lean towards a smarter style of dressing and a a penchant for tailoring then the tips for dressing for a dinner party can all apply just as well to dressing for a more casual occasion. But if you prefer a more natural, casual style, or like to inject an urban edge into your outfits, then the only real limit here is your imagination.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping things casual for this kind of party: a well fitting v neck tee or fine knit sweater can look incredibly chic and have a low key elegance when styled correctly. Why not team with a slim line black pant or, for the most casual party, you could even choose your favourite skinny jeans.
Having a last minute panic that the outfit you’ve chosen might be a little too casual for the occasion? Simply throw on a more formal coat or jacket as you run out the door! A slim, long line camel coat is the perfect piece for this. Alternatively, a single breasted blazer or luxuriously patterned bomber jacket will have the same effect.
The key to getting this look right is to choose just one statement piece per outfit: if you’re wearing a red shirt, for example, then you can’t also wear a patterned blazer.
Whether you choose to inject interest into your outfit with colour or pattern, choose just one stand-out piece and keep the rest of your outfit as simple as possible for a sleek and chic party outfit that doesn’t have the fussiness so often involved in winter casualwear.
Of course, if you’re going to a bar or club (rather than to a private party of a get together at someone’s home) then it’s important to adhere to the rules of the establishment to avoid embarrassment at the door, as well as dressing to your own style.
Many bars and clubs, for example, have a no sneakers policy, so think carefully about what you put on your feet before you walk out the door. Sneakers are best avoided for all but the most casual of soirees anyway!
And Don’t Forget the Ugly Sweater!
Finally, if you’re throwing a party and you don’t want to have to worry about what you’re wearing (or what dress code to impose on your loved ones) then why not throw an ugly holiday sweater party? Almost every store will have an abundance of inexpensive holiday sweaters available at this time of year, and almost all of them are impossibly ugly.
Take the effort out of the dress code for your friends and family so that you can all focus on having fun instead! When approached with a little (a lot of) irony and an excellent sense of humor, ugly sweater parties have a fun and informal feel that immediately lends them an air of anything goes success.
It certainly makes a refreshing change to be silently competing with your friends about who looks the worst, rather than who looks the best!
Here are some of our favourite ugly holiday sweaters that you can buy right now. You’ll find one to suit every hobby and interest:
Half the fun of going to any party over the holiday season is deciding what to wear for the occasion. From your office Christmas party to your annual get together with the guys from your Fraternity, you’re sure to want to look your best.
The key to pulling off eye-catching holiday dressing without looking like you’re trying to hard is to pick just one statement piece, and then keep the rest of your outfit relatively simple.
Whether that statement piece is a tuxedo in an unexpected shade, a velvet blazer or a shirt with a killer pattern really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you’ve chosen one piece that you really love, and that you style it to perfection.
Then you’re sure to turn heads for all the right reasons and be left with photos of the holiday season that you won’t mind looking back on in years to come!