Staff Picks

What We’re Wearing To Our Office Holiday Party

It’s a party with your colleagues, what could go wrong?

Oh, you think getting dressed for work on a frigid winter morning is hard? We raise you getting dressed for the work holiday party. That’s right, human resources has done the easy bit and sent out the annual invite. Now it sits, taunting you, in your inbox and you have to figure out what to wear. A work holiday party, the sitcoms will tell you, is its very own special kind of beast. It’s work! It’s a party! It’s a party at work with work people who party. You know, the people whom you generally like to impress with your professionality and intellect. But it’s also a party, and at parties you like to dress up and get down – how to strike the right sartorial balance?

This is not an unsolvable problem. There are several items here on MR PORTER that will do you just fine – suits, say, that are proper enough to communicate “I’m the boss”, but jazzy enough to telegraph “I’m the fun boss”. We have a few, even, that you can confidently don in the chilly, dark morning and wear through to the chilly, dark evening (without having to change in a bathroom stall betwixt). Below, our team pick out their getups as a little pre-pub inspiration for you.

An upcoming event, whether big or small, conjures a melody of memories (albeit a little hazy) of the good, the bad – and the ugly. Shivers. But when it comes to deciding what to wear and making the transition from the office to the party, I like to go with a blend of comfortable and formal. Officine Generale does a smart, partially lined cotton-corduroy suit that looks great coupled with a black cashmere or wool rollneck from Mr P. And if you’re looking your best, you need to smell your best – so a quick spritz from a pocket-sized Le Labo eau de parfum is the perfect choice.

If our Christmas party last year is anything to go by, I’d guess that 70 per cent of the men at your Christmas party this year will be wearing a dark rollneck and slim black trousers. Nowt wrong with that, but the party season is the one time you can try something and happily fail – no one will remember any fashion mistakes come January. Try a pair of light loose trousers that you can wear to the office in the morning with some white adidas sneakers and a sweater. Bring with you a fancy silk shirtOur Legacy, Auralee, Jacquemus are good with textures and shapes. Add a chunky loafer if you’re really feeling it, and just enjoy that fact that you’re not a sweaty, woolly, party mess come 9.00pm.

The office party is such a minefield in an office like ours at MR PORTER. Does one pledge allegiance to the team responsible for buying Brunello Cucinelli and Loro Piana, and turn up in a dress shirt and dinner jacket? Or does one try and convince the Undercover-Medicom contingent that you’re way too down with the current mood in style for all that? Ultimately, I panic and just buy something fun and irresponsible and, preferably, patterned, so the inevitable sauvignon splashback is at least partially hidden. This shirt from Flagstuff ticks the above boxes and has the benefit of being covered with exploding fireworks, which seems suitably celebratory. I’ll wear it with some black wool trousers and a nice high-shine pomade, for the all-important photographs.

Dressing for work at a fashion office every day isn’t half as scary as it sounds; the great thing about working in the industry is that you can basically wear whatever you want because you’re (supposedly) the people who make the rules in the first place. When the Christmas party comes around, however, it’s generally expected that you up your game a little. This sumptuous velvet shirt from Sies Marjan and wide-legged pair of wool trousers from Noah should do the job nicely – they’re both smart enough to party in (in a kind of chic 1970s eveningwear way), but also are the kind of things I can wear on my morning train without scaring my fellow commuters. Also, something you can really impress with if you know how: fragrance. A discerningly chosen scent can fool people into thinking you’re far fancier and more important than you are (but in, like, a subtle way). The one I’m currently obsessed with is The Decay of the Angel by TIMOTHY HAN / EDITION. It’s sharp and rich all at once, and is heady with rose, cedarwood, oud and frankincense. The Decay of the Angel takes its dramatic name from the novel by post-war Japanese literary icon Mr Yukio Mishima; a deliciously pretentious thing for a fragrance brand to do, and which suits me just fine.

Between busy events, awkward introductions and re-introductions, Christmas inflation, small talk and bleak weather, I can’t say I’m wild about the festive season or office parties. That said, I do love an excuse to dress up, and this time of year offers up a plethora of fancy gatherings to do just that – including the fabled office party.  Hailing from Scotland, a land where temperatures drop so low you can break the smoke off your chimney, I’ve mastered the art of smart/practical dressing – a new trend that’s due to sweep the nation post climate apocalypse. That’s why this year, I’m opting for this corduroy blazer and trousers from Noah. The lined jacket and thick fabric are perfect for keeping me nice and warm on my journey to and from the office party while the patchwork design and box-cut finish will keep me feeling festive fresh while there.

As an extra touch, and an important one at the that, it’s always good to switch your fragrance at this time of year for a heartier smell. I’ve chosen the punchy Noir 29 from Le Labo; with fig, bergamot and cedarwood notes, it’s Christmas in a bottle and is perfect for at least making those awkward party hugs smell nice.

Party season is upon us. Yet, there’s not really much to celebrate, is there? Not to sound like Pessimistic Polly, but the looming Brexit deadline and pending general election has knocked the fizz out of festive season. Regardless, Brits are good at keeping up appearances, so that’s what I’ll do; put on my best and pretend as if everything is absolutely fine. Perfect timing, mind, as this season is all about putting on the Ritz – party prowler coats in leopard print and faux fur, tsar-worthy silk-sashed suits and velvet smoking jackets in emerald green and ruby. Phwoar, what costume drama. I’ve got my eyes on this Salle Privée tuxedo jacket, which I can throw on over a simple work outfit at the end of the day. I’ll toughen it up with a pair of chunky Gucci horsebit loafers. My arm candy for such soirees? This Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso – a little early Christmas present to myself. Lovely.

The office party is my annual opportunity to drive down the cost-per-wear of the Gucci tartan trousers I bought three years ago, so the lower half of my outfit is already sorted, leaving only the question of what to wear up top. My usual black rollneck sweater is off the cards; I can’t risk a repeat of last year, when six out of the eight male members of our desk all showed up wearing exactly the same thing. Here’s hoping that red proves a less popular choice this Christmas. This one from Mr P. seems like a smart choice: it’s suitably festive, while still retaining some utility outside of the festive season. Unlike those Gucci trousers.