I remember my first “office holiday party” as a working professional. I was a junior associate at a large law firm. Most of us
drones first years simply walked to the hotel where the party was being held in the same outfits we’d worn all day. Nothing special. Khakis and collared shirts for the men. Slacks and sweaters for the women. The more senior attorneys didn’t dress much differently, although a few of the partners did wear suits. Nobody seemed to stand out much . . . until Marjorie walked through the door.
Marjorie was the secretary of one of the most senior partners in the firm. She was in her mid-thirties, a no-nonsense professional, well-respected and well-liked. She got the job done and did so in style. While she always looked well put together, me and the other handful of black folks in the office recognized her look as ghetto fabulous (think Mary J. Blige if she worked in an office building). But still, despite the knee-length, faux suede boots and talon fingernails, no one really focused on her fashion . . . until that evening.
The party was in full swing when she walked in . . . decked out in what looked like a prom dress she picked up at the ‘hood department store in the mid-90s . . . it was a floor-length, lime green atrocity . . . complete with brocade beading on the bodice and dyed-to-match shoes.
Some people applauded her grand entrance . . . as a joke. Other people snickered under their breath all evening. I, and pretty much every other black attorney at the firm (all three of us), inhaled a deep sigh of “don’t-you-know-you’re-making-us-ALL-look-like-clowns-right-now”?
After the holidays, when everything returned to normal, Marjorie went back to being the same well-respected, well-liked employee she was before . . . the only difference was that she was added to the ”Remember That Time When?” oral history book maintained in every work place.
All of this is to say that you want to be sure that you dress appropriately for your office holiday party. Granted, there are many different forms that the “office holiday party” can take. It could be simply an informal gathering around the conference table or a massive formal affair in a hotel ballroom. Regardless of the venue, you want to maintain the same tone of professionalism as you never know who is going to show up. Yes, it might just be the same co-workers you see day in and day out. Or, the Chairman of the Board or the CEO of a major sponsor might shop up. You just never know.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at some professional, yet fun elements you can incorporate into your office holiday party look!
— curvyceoDon't miss a single post! SUBSCRIBE to Curvy CEO today!