A few weeks ago, I took a few days off work and traveled to NYC for some eating, drinking, and shopping with my BFF who also happens to be a nurse practitioner. “I need a dress to wear to work holiday parties- you know, dinners with the doctors and their wives” she said when we met at the airport. Finding the perfect work appropriate holiday work attire proved a formidable task. Work parties warrant a specific kind of outfit.
In searching through rack after rack of LBD’s (little black dresses), my friend and I were running into problems with the holiday party dress search. “Cutouts are happening this year…but they won’t be happening to me” my friend wisely noted (for the record, she would look amazing in a cutout dress). While bolder fashion trends might be appealing for a night out on the town with girlfriends, they should be avoided at work events. Just like you should never drink too much at an office party, you don’t want to be the one dressing too scandalously either. Here are a few fashion trends to avoid.
The cutout is all the rage this season. From showing off a bit of midriff to a glimpse of chest, low back, or side, avoid cutouts featuring any area of the body that’s normally only seen while wearing a swimsuit. If you like the cutout trend, find a dress or shirt featuring the fashion in the sleeves or shoulder area. This way you can show off your style while remaining appropriately conservative at work.
2. Plunging Necklines
Showing off a little cleavage is just fine if you’re at cocktail hour with friends, but keep is covered up at this year’s holiday party. Oozing sex appeal won’t get you the professional reputation you’re looking for at work.
3. Short Skirts
Your stems have been hidden away since summer but the time for their winter debut is not at your clinic or hospital’s Christmas event. Keep your skirt to a mom-approved length at work parties. Fabric and fullness do matter here. Leather skirts are naturally striking and must be worn a bit longer for a more conservative appearance. Skirts that are not form fitting may be worn a bit shorter without looking scandalous. If you do wear a skirt or dress on the shorter side, pair it with tights for a more professional look.
Showing off a little bit of back can be a classy touch to a holiday outfit- if it’s done right. When it comes to workplace holiday events, opt for dresses that don’t plunge further than your shoulder blades. Consider a dress or shirt with a back pleat or other design details instead of showing skin. Save your lower back baring cocktail dress for social events.
Yeah, yeah, you’re committed to the job. But, give it up for a night. Your work holiday party is a chance to forget about electronic medical records and the always packed waiting room and enjoy yourself for a night. Chat with your coworkers spouses, enjoy a glass of wine (not too many!), and get dressed up (appropriately) for a change. Leave your scrubs at home for this one.
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