With the office party season in full swing, here are some timely fashion tips that won’t break the bank
Black print scarf, €20, River Island.
Finding the right thing to wear to the Christmas office party needn’t be a budget-busting problem. There is a solution out there for everyone, whether it’s a designer label from Brown Thomas, a catwalk creation from Miss Selfridge or on-line from iClothing.com, Littlewoods, PLT or Boohoo.com, where you can bag a bargain for as little as €20.
Littlewoods Ireland has just launched its Pippa O’Connor edit, with six looks for the season. “The key pieces I’ve selected for the edit are bursting with this season’s must-have styles, from sultry satins to sexy sequins – a staple for the festive party season. Just add killer heels to steal the show at the office Christmas party!” says O’Connor.
Barbara Stack, PR and fashion stylist, points to great deals on the iclothing.com website for under €100. “Deciding what to wear to our office party can be stressful if you are unsure of the protocol. However, a lurex dress with sleeves and a longer hemline ensures balance in a conservative establishment. If you work in a funkier setting, check out the thigh-high pink sequin dress that is perfect for parties, with its bodycon shape and flash-me-back rear view.”
She advises restraint on the jewellery with sparkly fabrics: “Simple diamonds or a pair of gold hoops and elegant heels are perfect.”
The party venue can often dictate the dress code for menswear. If the company has made a profit and is celebrating at a more exclusive restaurant, you may want to don your burgundy or navy velvet jacket and team it with a super-white shirt and coloured bowtie. Slim-fit black pants from Next at €33 are perfect to wear with a coloured jacket, €65, to strike a balance. Oxford shoes or sockless slip-on loafers also add a smart finish.
A more formal dinner jacket in silver grey from River Island or Topman complete with pocket square hanky and silk scarf suits an evening that calls for a “super-suave” appearance. Whether you’re sipping sparkling cocktails at the Rooftop bar upstairs in the Marker Hotel or quaffing a large G&T in The Liquor Rooms, you will project a smarter image by investing in the accessory department. Open-necked shirts that have been freshly pressed get a festive feel with a decorative belt and suede loafers.
If the invite says “smart-casual”, you can choose your sharp Boss denims or Armani blue jeans and match them with a printed shirt that features contrasting coloured cuffs, reverse collar details and your best luxury sneakers – not cumbersome gym shoes.
This is good time to try on those cufflinks you got last Christmas and a more formal evening watch or subtle neck chain. Add a designer silk bomber jacket or a soft suede version – tan suede always looks well with designer denims and a pair of tan suede ankle boots give jeans a dressier finish.
If the party is in the local hostelry, you can choose whatever style you like – but once again don’t compromise your corporate gains during the year with a sloppy pair of crumpled trousers and old plaid shirt. Your work colleagues will feel more respected if you make the effort to don a fresh shirt and chinos. Arnotts has a super selection of menswear labels, from Hilfiger to Calvin Klein, as have stores like Best in Stillorgan Shopping Centre and, of course, Paul Costelloe in Dunnes Stores. M&S, Next and Topman are also very popular as they offer the smart suit pieces without a premium price.
Finally, this is the season to be pampered. Go to the barbers and get a professional shave, hair wash and facial hair trim. You will feel the better for it, especially if the party takes place straight after work. The Grooming Rooms, Beards and Barnets, The Granary, and The Waldorf in Temple Bar will have you looking your best.