Monday 5 December 2016

How to dress (appropriately) for the office bash

Workwear and party wear no longer need to stay on separate sides of your wardrobe. Our reporter has key pieces to take you from desk to dancefloor

Sophie Donaldson

Published 02/12/2016 | 02:30

Flash of elegance: Erdem showed pattern and brocade in their Spring/Summer 17 collection
Flash of elegance: Erdem showed pattern and brocade in their Spring/Summer 17 collection
Blouse, €89 at Miss Selfridge
17.99, whim earrings, eleanorhalljewellery.com
Blazer, €30 at Penneys
Clutch, €17.95 at Zara
Earrings, €10 at Debenhams
Loafers, €98 at Topshop
Necklace, €42 at Topshop
Slippers, €115 at Dune
Skirt, €63 at Oasis
Mules, €85 at & Other Stories
Blouse, €78 at Littlewoods
Blazer, €30 at Penneys
€99.90 at Buffalo

Around Christmas time, we emerge as one of two types of people: those who eagerly anticipate the annual office party and those who would really rather work late that night.

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Around Christmas time, we emerge as one of two types of people: those who eagerly anticipate the annual office party and those who would really rather work late that night.

It's not that the latter of the two don't enjoy a good knees-up. It's just that with the arrival of their email invitation comes the dreaded predicament of what on earth to wear.

The very nature of office dressing is laden with diplomacy, and so work dos are murky territory. You are there to kick up your heels - but not too much. A rule of thumb is to dress the way you will (hopefully) act on the night: like yourself, but with an added measure of restraint.

Blouse, €89 at Miss Selfridge
Blouse, €89 at Miss Selfridge

Just as you won't be cracking open the Prosecco with the same vigour as you would with the girls on Saturday night, leave that body-con dress with the plunging neckline for the weekend. Sure, it's a party, but you still need a glimmer of professionalism even though you may be wearing a paper party hat.

This is not to say you shouldn't have fun with your outfit. Top-to-toe sequins are seasonally appropriate once a year, so do shimmy your way into as much sparkle as you see fit. Sequins, lurex, metallic jersey and tactile glitter are making the rounds this season and can easily be incorporated into an office outfit. If you are going to be in a suit, get yourself a single party piece to transform your look. This might be a dressy shirt with lace, cascading ruffles or delicate beadwork that you can slip into come five o'clock, or it might be a statement blazer you can throw on over your work blouse.

If you are feeling particularly jazzy, you could get yourself a fabulous suit in brocade or velvet to wear while in the office and add some statement earrings for extra razzamatazz come evening.

If you've only a short amount of time to get yourself from desk to dancefloor, accessories will be key in getting you party-ready. This season there are myriad sparkling, furry and beaded wonders with which to adorn your face and body.

Shoes are embellished and embroidered with touch-me-now furry lining. The loafer has made a triumphant comeback in both flat and mid-heel styles to ensure you'll still be walking come the end of the night. Go for a metallic pair or up the ante with faux pearl accents, à la Gucci. Earrings are big, blingy and almost shoulder-grazing with glitzy crystals that catch the light. Ditch your tote and grab a petite purse with tassels, beading or a shimmering finish.

With a few clever choices and some bold accessories, you can navigate an office party ensemble with aplomb. Embrace the decadent, don't be afraid of some sparkle and, when in doubt, opt for those pom-pom earrings - after all, they don't call it the silly season for nothing.

Blazer, €30 at Penneys
Blazer, €30 at Penneys

Irish Independent

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