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What to Wear: Holiday Party Edition


Got a holiday party invite? If you’ve got a job, chances are you do. The Wall Street Journal reports that 9 out of 10 companies threw a holiday party in 2012. How do you put together a look that says festive without resorting to gimmicks like Christmas sweaters? Here are three looks that will have you rocking the house at this year’s office get together.


Yes, we know, black has a formal, damn near funereal connotation. Still, with the extremely short days this time of year, a dark suit and shirt combo says after hours elegance without going all black tie. Bonus points: all black is flattering to almost every body type and skin tone, making this look a no-brainer. Don’t have a black suit? Don’t worry, this look works with your trusted navy blue and a navy shirt or a charcoal suit and gray shirt.

LOOK 1 The-Bold-And-The-Beautiful

Maybe you want to bring a little color to the party. Juice up your usual suit and shirt combo with a punch of color. After a steady diet of heavy wintry suits all week, this charcoal blue suit brightens up a winter holiday celebration. Dress down this suit with an open collar and a shirt in any color but white and you’re sure to make an impression.

LOOK 2 Jacket-Required

If your office is not exactly a suit and tie kind of place, then perhaps a more laid back look is in order for the holiday party. This is the perfect time to bust out a sport jacket. It’s classy enough to show that you paid attention to your look but not as strong of a statement as a suit. With a micro-check shirt and khakis you’ll look put together without looking like you spent all day putting yourself together.


Which style suits your holiday party? Leave a comment below.

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21 thoughts on “What to Wear: Holiday Party Edition”

  1. David Goshorn says:

    I’m late to this post, but I have to ask about that flask. I want it. Where do I get it? When I zoom in on it it’s too distorted to read the label.

  2. Jim says:

    110% agree, black on black is cool. Tall dark and handsome is the perfect look.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad we could be of service, Jim.

  3. Ken says:

    I actually had my office party this past Saturday and I rocked the navy blue suit with a navy blue shirt. Paired with a bug burgundy lapel flower and burgundy themed pocket square. Got a ton of compliments!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Well done, Ken. Way to put a navy blue suit to good use outside of just the 9-5!

  4. Alexander says:

    I love your site! I used to be all about denim before, but now I got myself a job that requires me to wear shirts and blazers all day, thanks to you, it is actually funny and I feel fresh!
    But I was wondering about something, I have a x-mas party comming up! and I was thinking a black slim suit, With dark red shoes, navy blue laces, a navy blue shirt With white dotts all over, and a dark red tie. Is that good or a “no, go back home and don’t show your face” ??

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sounds like you’ve got a lot of colors in this look. Color can be festive but too many will make you look like a Christmas tree. We say simplify this look. If you want to use the black suit as the base then we suggest going with black shoes and picking one lighter accent color. (Navy can muddle the whole look, but if you like blue a lighter pale blue would work.)

      As we have noted in the past, you can really do a lot with color in your accessories. A pair of colored laces, some patterned socks and a pocket square that all echo the same color in varying hues will bring your whole look together and still be celebratory.

  5. Jonathan Chow says:

    I notice Black Lapel promote the Solid Blue Charcoal more than the Solid Navy in outfit of the day suggestion. Is Blue Charcoal more versatile as a stand alone jacket?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Both of these jackets are extremely versatile, Jonathan. You can wear either as a stand alone with just about any shirt and tie combination (and without a tie, too). The navy is a bit darker than the blue charcoal, so if you’re prefer darker, more understated blue, then the navy is for you.

      Of course, you could just get both and start a whole blue blazer collection!

  6. Steven Casagrande says:

    Highly disagree about the black shirt & suit combo. It is extremely unflattering on nearly everyone, especially in later hours. The reason why is due to the lack of any contrast. From even a moderate distance it makes you look like a floating head since you have no real contrast with the surrounding environment. This can be even worse if you have a very dark skin tone.

    Some people take this to the next level and wear a white tie, making them look like a floating head on a stick.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We can agree to disagree on the all-black look, but we do agree on something: we share your disdain for white ties with black shirts (or any shirts for that matter).

      1. Steven Casagrande says:

        I feel that a vastly superior option would be a white button-down with collar roll. This would eliminate any contrast issues. It would also properly draw attention towards the wearer’s face, which is what you want at a social gathering, especially a work related one.

        Black shirts also commonly have the social association with “wannabe gangsters” and “clubbing attire”. I’d want to avoid that, especially with coworkers. A white shirt would avoid that. It would also give the option of wearing a white linen pocket square if one so desired.

        1. Black Lapel says:

          That’s a good option, Steven. As always our outfit suggestions are just that, suggestions. We love it when guys reconfigure the looks and send pictures (hint, hint).

  7. Joseph says:

    Usually I agree with the majority of what you guys say, but I don’t know that I quite agree with the “black on black” idea. Black is flattering and elegant at night, yes, but I wouldn’t say black on black produces the same effect. One of the reasons black tie is so elegant is because of the color palette and the stark contrast it produces (in addition to the single button and proportions of it etc). Black on black will wash many people out.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The all-black look may not be for everyone’s style (hence the three looks above). Like recipes, all of these outfits can be adjusted to taste, Joseph.

      Sounds like you’re more of a B&W guy. That works as well.

  8. Jovan says:

    “Bonus points: all black is flattering to almost every body type and skin tone, making this look a no-brainer.”

    Will politely disagree here. All black makes you look like a floating head and shirts should have clear contrast.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Usually we’re contrast fanatics, Jovan (see the other look above), but we do make exceptions every now and again to showcase more monochromatic looks for a change of pace. This was one of those times, but we respect your right to not wear this look 😉

    2. Steven Casagrande says:

      Nice blog! *subbed*

  9. Joshua says:

    I wore similar look as “Jacket Required.” but with a pair of _gray_ pants instead. And a bow tie, and a red scarf.

    From a tuxedo to a nice denim were worn in this party.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Gray is a nice alternative here and definitely works with the season. Fine work, there Joshua.

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