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‘Tis the season of holiday parties…

As excited as I am to sip cocktails and devour appetizers, I’m even more wound-up about getting dolled up. No other month brings out the parties like December. Work gatherings call for a little extra planning on the fashion front. I try to mesh my everyday style into cute-yet-appropriate workplace wear. Tuck away your cringe-worthy Christmas sweaters, and your too-tight miniskirts. Here are some ideas on what (and what not) to wear to your holiday office party.

(credit: Target.com, Limited.com, Macys.com)

Cocktail Party

Target (for the blazer)
2939 W Addison St
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 604-7680
Hours: Mon- Sat 8am-11pm; Sun 8am-10pm

For a cocktail work party, choose an outfit that can go from business casual during the day to a bar for the evening. A go-to uniform: black blazer, black tights, knee-high brown leather boots (Frye’s are my favorite), and a bright, satin A-line dress. You can’t really go wrong with this look. Leave the blazer on if the mood feels reserved, or take it off when ready to party. Say yes to ruffles at the neckline, shirring at the waist, and a knit piece that’s shape-retaining. Add a chunky necklace and a solid-colored clutch and the outfit is complete.

(credit: Express.com, SteveMadden.com, UrbanOutfitter.com)

Something More Informal

Express (for the top)
913 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 943-3348

Options are endless for a work party at someone’s home or an informal restaurant. Take your pick: 1) Couple a knee-length monochrome-patterned tweed dress with black tights and knee-high boots. 2) Sparkly tops scream festivities to me—try a glittery tank, shiny blouse, shimmery knit top, or sequined cardigan. Match one of these with skinny jeans and heels, or a jean skirt and black leggings with knee-high boots. 3) Opt for a vibrant skirt, pair of solid-colored tights, and a simple top. For a more formal party swap out the boots and wear heels, tights, and just the tweed dress.

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Fashion Faux Pas

For your fashion faux pas, say no to any top or bottom that is too tight and revealing. We’ve all seen the navel-cut tops, stomach-sucking skirts, and thighs that should not be barred. Other fashion disasters: wearing too much glitz (hello shrieking beads and metallic), making it too complicated (combining separates, shoes, and accessories if pairing does not come natural to you), and being under or over-dressed. It happens – you show up in jeans to find a room clad in dresses and ties, or vice versa. Look to the invitation for clues or ask a girlfriend about her wardrobe plans.

Jenny Schooley is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She currently works in publishing for an academic organization.