Christmas Party Style Guide – input from Mary Holmes

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The work Christmas party is a key date in the social calendar. It’s the time of the year when your colleagues get to see two versions of you in one day; your tired, post-work five o’clock mood and your upbeat, ready to party eight o’clock energy.

It’s an annual event but every year we find ourselves in a dilemma over what to wear. With that in mind, One4all reached out to image consultant Mary Holmes of Ruby Seven to get her top tips on what’s appropriate for the work festive shindig.

‘I always tell my clients ‘’If you have to ask yourself is this appropriate, then it probably isn’t’’, and it’s always better to err on the side of caution, particularly in a professional environment,’ Mary tells us.

‘If you have worked all year to maintain a favourable impression of yourself in your career, it would be a terrible shame to ruin it by turning up in the wrong outfit at the annual party.’

Mary’s top style tip? Think less is more.

‘Generally, for Christmas parties, read the invitation carefully. If it says casual dress, don’t overdo it. Don’t turn up in a floor length gown for a night at the dog track. Equally, don’t turn up in jeans and a top to a formal event,’ Mary explains.

Sparkles and sequins are at the top of her Christmas style guide but she recommends keeping it simple so you don’t turn up to your work’s festive celebrations looking like a Christmas tree decoration.

‘Wear a sparkly jacket with a plain dress or vice versa. A faux fur jacket or coat can add a touch of glamour to any party outfit,’ she says.

‘In the land of many dresses, the jumpsuit is king! Jumpsuits are a great alternative to party dresses and very comfortable. Just make sure you’re able to reach the zip at the back to avoid toilet emergencies! Trouser suits are another option, with heels and a silky string top. Sexy, professional, but appropriate!’.

When it comes to accessorising your feet, Mary recommends you avoid wearing a brand new pair of heels to a party.

She says: You’ll probably be on your feet all night, so you need to have broken in your shoes well in advance. She also advises having some feet/heel care handy in case of emergencies and recommends avoiding cheap shoes altogether.

‘Most pharmacies have a good range of insoles and cushioning pads and plasters, some are even labelled as ‘party feet’ solutions. There’s no reason to suffer. And be careful of cheap shoes which might leave you with either a case of snapped heels or major discomfort and carry a pair of flats in your handbag for the taxi queue when it’s home time.’

If tights will play a lead role in your Christmas party look, it’s important to double-up.

‘There’s no harm in carrying a spare pair of tights in your handbag in case you snag or ladder the pair you’re wearing while you’re out.’

And finally, the most important advice in Mary’s style book?

‘Always dress for your shape, no matter what the occasion. If you’re not sure what your shape is, it’s well worth investing in a style consultation.’