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Holiday party do’s and don’ts

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By Alexandra Hehlen

Hurray, Christmas is here! I know many of you will attend Christmas parties or holiday office parties this year. I also know that this holiday season, far too many of you will commit some fashion faux pas, so I’m stopping you before it’s too late. With these tips, you’ll think twice when getting ready for a holiday party.

The number one priority, even though it is the holidays, is not to be overly festive. Wearing red, green and white altogether to a semi-formal party is a bit too vibrant and tacky. Instead, opt for neutral colors, accenting your outfit with only a couple red, green or white accessories.

Wearing jingle bells, reindeer antlers, outrageous Santa hats, anything related to mistletoe, or anything that requires a battery or lights to operate is definitely out. We’re not decking the halls here, ladies! Try to wear a little green bracelet or a cute red necklace. If you like sparkles, add them in small doses. Try a ring, or a top lightly embellished on the neckline.

Dresses will work for office parties, just remember to avoid plunging necklines, anything that ends above your knee, or is too tight. A dress that reaches at or below your knee and has a reasonable neckline is both flattering and modern. Keep the patterns simple, steering away from animal prints or full on sparkles.

Unless the party has a theme, do not wear your Santa costumes, or those tight nylon elf costume atrocities. Semi-formal parties are the time to show everyone how nicely you can dress for such an event, not to look like a trick-or-treater thinking it’s Christmas.

As for shoes, keep the heels to three inches or less. Standing most of the night and wearing five-inch stilettos is a bad combination. A thicker heel is easier to walk and stand in. Keep your heel color choice simple. You can pull off a very dark red if you have a generally neutral outfit otherwise, wear heels in neutral colors that look sophisticated and complete your outfit. Peep-toes or simple Mary Janes are a safe bet.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Christmas sweater. I will not argue, a Christmas sweater can be the perfect stay-at-home sweater. I will stress though, that being in public is not like being at home. Wearing a vibrant, shiny, jingly, Christmas sweater in public is already an embarrassment to fashion, but wearing one to a party is even more so. It completely defeats the concept of looking modern and sophisticated.

Dressing for a semi-formal Christmas party may not seem that important to some of you, but it is, especially for holiday office parties. I am making it a rule for you to not only make a fashion statement, but also a stylish one. Look sophisticated, so let’s keep the Christmas sweaters at home, the antlers on the reindeer, the lights on the Christmas tree and your fashion problems safely at the North Pole!