Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Office Party, Volume 2

First, a few definitions, my little lambs...

A Black Tie invitation calls for formal attire. Men should wear tuxedos; women should wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates.

This is not to be confused with Cocktail Attire, which means short, elegant dresses for women and dark suits for men.

These are not the only options for parties- there are Black Tip Optional affairs, Semi-Formal events, Creative Black Tie parties, etc. I would like to highlight a few differences for you and incorporate a couple of rules to live by.

1. Black Tie means it's fancy.

You cannot get around this in any way. If you don't want to dress this formally, don't go the event.

Your best color choices are black, navy, gray, deep jewel tones, or red. Pastels are not ok, and bland colors like oatmeal and cream are inadvisable.

2. Cocktail means it's fancy, too, it just means men won't be in tuxedos and you don't have to wear a ball gown. Dresses are still your best option.

Look, if you prefer separates, that's cool, but they must rise to the same level of formality that you'd have in a fancy dress.

Tuxedo pants and a jewel-toned blouse could be fun, or a silk skirt with a sequined top would be a good option.

3. Velvet pants are not ok.

Don't even CONSIDER them. I have said it before and I will say it again: they always look cheap, no matter what you paid. Why would you do that to yourself?

4. Red and green together are not "festive." They are tacky.

5. This is an office affair, whether you are bff with half the office or not, so don't get cute.

Dress in keeping with the level of formality of the event and now is not the time to reveal the peircing/tattoo that you've been keeping under wraps.

6. Notice how in each of the above descriptions of black tie and cocktail did not include any mention of sex? That's because they do not call for over sexiness.

Dresses are fantastic, but keep them mid-thigh at the SHORTEST (and even then, with tights and lover-heeled shoes) and do not show massive amounts of cleavage .

7. Chose under garments carefully.

Bra straps hidden; no visible panty line; control top controlling, not rolling, so you have to yank on it every 5 minutes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Office Party, Volume 1

Now that the election is over, I can focus again on what's truly on your minds: what to wear to the office holiday party.

I get frequent questions about this apparently uncomfortable nexus of work and socializing. If you already don't like your cohorts, then this is a dreaded event and you might as well amuse yourself by looking awesome. If you like them, then you have a great excuse to wow them with your savvy sense of style.

And yet, every year, I see women buying and wearing the most HIDEOUS excuses for party attire.

Let me make it easy for you: overtly sexy is not ok.

For those of you living in a cave, this means that if you'd feel supremely awkward wearing it in front of your boss/CEO/clients during the workday, then it is not appropriate for the office party. Even with an open bar, she's still your boss.

I'm not saying you have to wear suit separates; that is just boring. A party dress or fancy skirt is a fab idea and I recommend buying something that is a little bit different from what people are used to seeing you in.

Let's start with the basics and I will get into detail and some big, fat nos in a bit...

The dress below is the perfect mix of fun and flirty without being overly sexy. Bare shoulders are great when the rest of the outfit isn't reveling, and showing off some leg (note I did not say THIGH) is perfectly fine.

A taffeta skirt says holiday party to me. With a simple top and great shoes, you are set. Any color is fine, as long as the rest of the outfit stays neutral.

Every woman needs at least one great evening top. It looks great with jeans, dress pants, skirts, etc. For an office party, I recommend teaming it with dark tailored pants (now is not the time for your reindeer print, people), heels, and sparkly jewelry. Make sure the top shows some skin- shoulders, neck, back- but little, if any, cleavage.

Until the Volume 2, I will leave you with this: pick one focal point and dress around it. Too much holiday cheer (read: Santa hat earrings, sequined top & brocade pants- you know who you are) can be just as bad as none at all.