What is Business Attire for a Party?

Written by iulia filip
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What is Business Attire for a Party?
Wearing the right outfit to an office party sends the right message to coworkers. (young Asian business man holding wine image by visi.stock from Fotolia.com)

Whether you are invited to a formal business party or a more relaxed after-hours get-together, wearing the right outfit can put you at ease, while sending the right message to your coworkers and business associates. Work-related social events usually require that you adhere to a formal or semi-formal dress code referred to as business attire. While business attire for a party generally implies dark suits and neckties for men and cocktail dresses styled up with dressy shoes for women, this notion leaves room for interpretation, depending on the formality of the event.

Variations of the Business Party Attire

Before attending a work-related social event, it is important to find out what kind of dress code your host has in mind. Pay attention to the invitation. If you have been invited via e-mail or over the phone, it is very likely that you will be attending an informal gathering, which allows for a more relaxed dress code. If the invitation came in the mail and you were asked to RSVP, you will attend a formal business party, which requires semi-formal or cocktail attire. After-hours parties at the office also require semi-formal outfits. Sometimes the invitation or the host will specify the dress code, making it easier for you to choose the right outfit and accessories. If you work for a big firm that organises prestigious events, you might even be asked to wear formal attire.

Formal Business Attire

Often referred to as black tie, formal business attire requires that men wear tuxedos and ties and women wear long dresses or elegant cocktail dresses. While women can also wear dressy evening separates, men sometimes opt for a black shirt no-tie look. Work-related social events organised by prestigious companies or institutions usually call for this type of formal wear. This is especially true in cities like New York or Los Angeles, where important personalities attending such events have made the formal dress code the rule.

Semi-Formal Business Attire

Most office parties call for a semi-formal dress code, which refers to dark suits for men and cocktail dresses or dressy suits for women. Men are usually required to wear neckties as well, while women can opt for more creative looks, without being inappropriate. Cocktail dresses are usually styled up with elegant shoes and jewellery.

Cocktail Attire

If your office is known for throwing informal parties, you can opt for the more casual cocktail dress code, which still calls for dark suits and cocktail dresses, but leaves room for creativity. Men can wear dark suits without neckties or simply pair a dark jacket with lighter trousers, going for a more relaxed look. Short cocktail dresses and party accessories are recommended for women. When attending this type of office event, ladies can never go wrong with a little black dress dressed up with trendy jewellery and make-up. While more casual, the little black dress is still an elegant, polished look that will be appreciated in your work environment.

Tips for After-Work Parties

If your after-hours office party leaves you no time to go home and change your outfit, you can always wear office attire that easily goes from a daytime to an evening look. Men can wear a dark suit and white shirt at work or simply change their jacket, opting for a more elegant one in the evening. Women can wear a simple black dress that can be accessorised with more elegant shoes and festive jewellery in the evening. Replacing neutral or earth tones with deeper shades of make-up and adding shimmer powder and a more glamorous shade of lipstick can also help women transition to the evening look.

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