The professional image does not stop when the clock hits five. Frankly, the impression you make on others after work is just as important as the one you make between nine and five. Whether for a black-tie affair, a company picnic, a movie with colleagues, or dinner with clients, dressing well is necessary.
So now with the holidays upon us and parties and other events lined up on the calendar, here are some tips for avoiding the embarrassment of showing up under or overdressed for the occasion.
- When the invitation says “casual” it is best to call your hosts and ask them what they mean. Sometimes casual means slacks and a top, sometimes a sport coat and tie or a cocktail dress. The type of affair, the region of the country, and the people present will have much to do with dress requirements. If the affair is a company related open house it calls for a sport coat and tie for men, a dress, two-piece dress, jacket, and city shorts, or, depending on the time of the day, dinner suit or cocktail dress for women.
- For an evening function with cocktails at six or dinner at seven, consider these options. Women---A black or dark-colored dress or black or dark-colored evening suit, ultra sheet hosiery in dark tones, evening pumps or strapped sandals, dramatic jewelry, and a small handbag or clutch. Velvet can be worn around the holiday season. Men—A dark suit in navy, black, or charcoal gray, tie, dress shirt in white or color with contrasting white collar, and black shoes.
- For a black-tie affair, consider the following: Women---Short, three quarter, or long evening dress in silk, chiffon, crepe, taffeta, organza, or velvet; dramatic jewelry, evening clutch, strapped evening sandals, and ultra-sheer hosiery. Men--- Black-tie tuxedo, dress shirt, black hose, and black patent leather shoes. Women should avoid overly bright, flamboyant colors and designs, and men should avoid fur lined cummerbunds and extravagant ties. Stick to the basic black.
- For those formal affairs such as a ball, consider these options. Women---A long gown (no pants), with or without sequins, in taffeta, silk, chiffon, or organza, with dramatic jewelry, clutch, strapped sandals, and ultra-sheer hosiery. Men---White tie and tailcoat. Black tuxedo is also acceptable.
Now is the time to review your closet and make sure the “after five holidays” clothes are clean, pressed, and ready to go. In addition to your outfit, remember to brush up on your etiquette.
Enjoy the holiday season.