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TF Holiday Party Dressing Guide: Business Casual & Business Formal


If you feel stressed about how to dress for an event with family and friends, your office party could throw you into a total conniption. Holiday office parties tend to be a free for all, with no set dress code instructed or enforced. Before your hair goes grey, look at this party as a really great official event to dress up for. We’re going to give you some shopping guidance on the best pieces to wear this year from some of our fav designers. We’ll also offer advice on how to play up your style so that you’re on point no matter where you’re going with your co-workers, clients, or boss.

Looking too dressy or too casual, that’s going to make you seem out of place. The way to avoid that is to first and foremost, understand your venue. If your holiday party is during the day in the conference room or lunch area, that’s going to have a more casual vibe than a party in a hotel ballroom on a Saturday night or the boss’s home in the evening. No matter where you go, all venues are going to have a different dress code, and you should style accordingly. Here are some ideas to consider when choosing the perfect party look:

Business Casual – If the party takes place during the day, you can dress less formal. Sneakers, jeans, and t-shirts are for your days off unless otherwise specified. Unless you’re attending a sporting event, you should always air on the side of elegance. Opt for skirts of thicker fabrications, like wool, with silk blouses, a soft cardigan, and a pair of flat booties. The Luisa Cerano video (above) demonstrates how to flawlessly dress for a casual holiday party.

Business Formal: During evening events go for a chic cocktail dress or jumpsuit, like these gorgeous pieces from Eli Tahari (above) This is a great opportunity to get creative and play with trends that you wouldn’t necessarily wear during the work day. Perhaps try a leather or lace skirt, like these Eli Tahari en3vn306_001_018a_ra5en097306_pke_036_ra4#styleinspiration looks (right/left), trendy and appropriate for the evening. Start with baby steps like a great accessory – a festive scarf, a great pair of earrings, a cocktail ring, a fun shoe, or a statement necklace from TWOA (bottom). Women can add a little sparkle, and some great go-to Holiday fabrications, like: velvet, lace, sequin, or even fur. Remember to keep these hints of holiday trends subtle, and that creative doesn’t always have to mean getting too crazy. These pieces show how you can do just that.

Take this opportunity to show a little personality with your wardrobe. You don’t want to come off as a bore to colleagues and clients, but you don’t want to be over the top either. The art of holiday dressing for anything work related is to be more understated and elegant. It’s important to wear what’s going to make you feel most confident. While it may not always be easy to decide on what to wear and how formal you’re supposed to be, it’s actually a really great opportunity for you to show that you’re a leader in the workplace, even if it is just in your fashion choices. When in doubt, look to your mentors both in fashion and in the office for inspiration. The best advice we’ve ever been given is: dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Now that you understand how to identify how formal or casual an event is, check back on Friday for the do’s and don’ts you’ll want to keep in mind.  We’ll also share some more amazing holiday style inspiration for office events from all the labels you’ll love and some of the best dressed celebs.