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Ask Bucky: What to Wear for Holiday Parties?

November 10, 2014

Dear Bucky,

My husband’s company is throwing a holiday party and I’m not sure what to wear. I want to look nice, but I don’t want to overdo it and end up dressing too young. I’m also in my mid forties and I’m afraid of looking frumpy. What should I do?

-Seasonally Stumped

Dear Seasonally Stumped,

When parties and work collide, you already have a tricky situation. Tack on issues about age appropriate dressing and you’ve added another element of confusion.

Starting with the first part, here’s what you need to remember: No matter where the work party is and who is there, the way you act and what you wear still affects how people at work think of you as a whole and your work performance. The same goes, if you are attending a party with your spouse. If you show up in a sequin mini dress and start taking shots, all your husband’s coworkers will all of a sudden view your husband in a whole new (and not so positive) light. So, you still want to dress in a way that commands respect…you are just going to make it a little more formal.

Now for the age appropriate part (and this is applicable to everyone no matter what your age is). If you’re meeting some people for the first time, start by asking yourself, “What do I want these people to say about me once I leave the party?” Going to a party where you’re well acquainted with everyone? You should ask yourself this question, “What kind of image do I want to portray at work that I want to carry over?” If you answer these questions along the lines of, ‘I want people to say that I’m a classy, polite, woman”, “I want my professionalism to affirmed and not compromised. I want people to still respect me like they do in the office”. If you dress in ways that will reflect your answers, then you will be golden…no matter what age.

Still confused? Here’s a visual guide:


I don’t care how old you are or how good your legs/cleavage/whatever looks, there are some things that shouldn’t happen anywhere with ‘work’ in the name (including work parties). Some people can pull off loads of sequins, stripper shoes, and cute mini skirts and that’s great…for the weekend and non work events. It’s only one event, so keep it conservative. If you have to ask yourself…”is this okay?” it’s probably not okay. Picture creds: prom pic, low cut shirt, backless, see through, mini skirt, heels.


Usually we don’t think about what to wear until the night before, so here’s a useful tip: use a basic staple from your closet and dress it up. Here we’ve shown two different blouses that add some punch to these black basics. Longing for some bling? Add it in your accessories. Looking to upgrade your look on the cheap? This necklace from Target is only $20 dollars and can turn a boring wool work dress into a wow piece.  Items from: skirt and pant, leopard top, steel grey top, burgundy heel, statement necklace.



A good dress goes a long way. Opt for something that hits just above the knee and is fitted. These dresses above will look good on any shape and any age. Don’t like showing your arms? Add a blazer or cardigan to the first look. Not festive enough for you? Any of these dresses would look good in a silver glitter belt at the waist and some epic jewelry. Want to be a little more adventurous? This romper takes the cake of classy yet sassy. All from Piperlime: houndstooth dress, silver dress, polka dot dress, romper.

Long story short: don’t wear anything too extreme (extremely: low, short, tight, etc) and make sure your party outfit is consistent with the image you want to portray at work. Holiday parties can be great networking events and your outfit should help boost your image, not hurt it.

Good luck and happy partying. 🙂

xoxo, Bucky

ps. I don’t care who is paying…don’t drink too much either.

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