Nothing contributes to team-building as much as the Christmas staff party. The amount of gossip it generates, ensures the coffee-area is busy with co-workers socialising, for days after the party. Make sure you’re not the one they’re talking about by, among other things, turning up in an appropriate outfit.
Choosing an outfit for the Christmas staff party can be particularly challenging, especially if it’s your first since joining the company or if your job entails wearing a uniform. It’s when colleagues and management get to see and interact with you in circumstances that are different to the usual.
Being off-duty, one takes it for granted that the workplace dress code doesn’t apply and since it’s a party, one wants to look his best, especially if the new Nordic intern will be there. Yet, a staff party isn’t really a party. It’s a professional event.
With management present and watching, in addition to the competitive colleague in search of an advantage, staff parties are very much an extension of the work place. The only difference is that the atmosphere is more relaxed and there’s no work to be done. In short, even if it’s a party, you still want to look and act in a way which doesn’t undermine your reputation.
With that in mind, choosing an outfit for the Christmas staff party becomes a little easier – just go for what you usually wear to work but adapting the style in a way that makes it less work-like and more party appropriate. If your usual work attire is corporate, you’d want to tone it down a little, such as, with a sport coat, plain shirt, and chinos. If very casual clothing or sports gear is what you wear to work, you could dress up for a more elegant look. However, you definitely don’t want to look overdressed as to make it seem as though you’re really trying hard, or it’s the most important event in your calendar.
As with every event, the venue is always something to keep in mind. How casual or formal your outfit should also depend on the setting. Ignoring this can result in an outfit that makes you look out-of-place, such as turning up too smartly dressed for an afternoon of bowling. After all, a professional look doesn’t always require an executive outfit.
That said, certain things which might be considered inappropriate for the workplace, such as piercing, tattoos, very trendy hairstyles, bright colours, and/or supposedly witty prints are also inappropriate for a staff party, regardless of how casual the venue. Anything that could lead to an unfavourable impression with colleagues and most of all, superiors is best avoided.
Ultimately, staff parties give all a chance to interact with one another in an environment and atmosphere, free from the pressure of work. Your outfit should neither seek to make a statement of personal style, nor attract any undue attention. On the contrary, it should help you feel confident and comfortable to engage with colleagues and superiors in a pleasant and meaningful way.