The men's guide to dressing for the office party
In the final part of our seasonal guide, style expert Alexander Fitzgerald has all the fashion fixes a guy needs for going out
For men looking to follow, rather than lead, it's hard to go wrong if you take inspiration (or blatantly copy) from some of the most stylish men. David Beckham, who looks equally polished in a tailor-made suit as he does when working the smart-casual look, is always an excellent point of reference. Equally, Messers David Gandy and Ryan Gosling rarely put a sartorial foot wrong and can provide a wealth of style cues that can be followed.
GET THE BALANCE RIGHT
There's a fine line between over-dressed and under-dressed, so it's important to nail it when compiling your outfit. Dressing as you might for a board meeting - smart suit, crisp white shirt, tie and brogues - is about as welcome as turkey sandwiches in January, while turning up in fancy dress as an elf might mark you out as the office comic, but is hardly going to fast-track you for promotion.
What you're looking for is a happy medium: an outfit that ticks a few style boxes and should ensure you're not turned away at the door of an exclusive bar. And should you ever be in doubt, ask yourself if Ed Sheeran would wear it: if the answer is yes, leave the offending garment on the hanger.
If you're serious about your style, get yourself a sharp two-button blazer pronto. It's a versatile and timeless workhorse that should see you through almost any occasion, including the office party.
Whether you go plain or patterned (Prince of Wales check or herringbone), single-breasted or double, or choose to dress it up or pair it with, say, dark jeans for a relaxed yet smart look, the choice is yours. Just ensure that it's a snug fit and neither too long nor too short in the sleeve. And if it's the latter, get acquainted with the seamstresses in ZipYard.
Tempting as it may be, the problem with a bold patterned shirt, regardless of how on-trend it is, is that you're always at risk of looking like you belong on a Miami tour bus. Tone the look down by wearing a slim-cut design in a neutral shade (or, at a push, in an elegant stripe). White and baby blue are classics for good reason. If you want to inject a burst of colour - it is Christmas, after all - think pink. This soft hue works a treat against Irish complexions and complements navy and grey wonderfully.
If the dress code is smart, perhaps leave the jeans for another day, eh? A pair of pleated, charcoal grey woollen pants, however, will take you anywhere and, rather handily, work particularly well with an elegant navy blazer.
If the mood is more relaxed, feel free to give your dark denims or chinos an outing. Denim is something of a sartorial minefield, though, so be warned: straight leg or slim-ish but not skinny; discreet (if any) branding; and, unless you're a magnificently remunerated Portuguese footballer, no unnecessary stitching, rips or diamanté.
If clothes maketh the man, then footwear is the sartorial exclamation point that punctuates the ensemble. And that, chaps, is the reason that you'll be retiring those brown pointy shoes so beloved of X Factor rejects and, instead, investing in something far more presentable for the festive season (and beyond).
As ever, what you plump for is wholly dependent on the dress code. A smart affair? Look to polished Oxfords or classic wingtips. More relaxed? Loafers or driving shoes will look the business. Or something in-between? Suede brogues or a pair of desert boots should do the trick.
Don't let your outfit let you down at this year's office Christmas party. Get the details right and you - and your clobber - will be remembered for all the right reasons.
While the Christmas party season tends to be manna from fashion heaven for the fairer sex, many men loathe the annual office shindig with a passion. Photocopying one's posterior, drinking one's body weight in mulled wine and pointing out a few "home truths" to colleagues tend to rank higher among priorities than the simple matter of dressing to impress.
But it need not be this way. Kitting oneself out in clobber that makes an impression for the right reasons should be the aim of any self-respecting male professional. So why not make Christmas 2015 one of sartorial splendour?
With a little know-how and some clever purchases, it's possibly to look (and remain) dapper and debonair without spending a fortune.
And here's how...