By now, you should have booked in with your barber. There should be more than a few bottles chilling in the office fridge. And Nathan, your department’s ‘executive fun officer’, will no doubt be making some worrying noises about this Tiki-themed karaoke bar he knows.
More importantly, since party season is well and truly upon us, you should have an idea about what you’ll be wearing to the various events and corporate-sponsored binge drinking sessions between now and the new year. Because as well as champagne and awkward small-talk, ’tis the season of confusing dress codes.
Luckily, the folks at historic British outfitter Marks & Spencer have all the tools you need to make sure your festive party look hits the sartorial sweet spot, without putting your head in a spin before the free drinks are served.
Whether you’re going full David Gandy (the brand’s first Ambassador of Tailoring) with the help of its new suit style guide or keeping it casual with its excellent Autograph range, here are four go-to outfits that’ll help you see out any soirée in style.
The Black Tie Formal
More regularly seen on the red carpet, a black tie event not only calls for best behaviour (at least while the boss is looking), it also requires top-flight finery.
The dress code itself is relatively straightforward, but there are still legions of men who trip up on the fundamentals. The safest move is to keep things classic with a black dinner jacket, but for standout eveningwear swag, switch to midnight blue. The shade is still formal (on account of looking darker under artificial light) but won’t camouflage you in a sea of penguin suits.
Topped off with matching trousers, a crisp formal shirt, bow tie and freshly polished dress shoes, you’ll only be a Vesper Martini and Aston Martin away from saving the world.
The Smart Industry Event
‘Black tie optional’ is the passive-aggressive fridge note equivalent of asking guests to suit up, so you’d better comply. If, however, it reads something along the line of ‘dress to impress’, you are afforded a bit more freedom.
You might not be going for all-out eveningwear, but you’ll want to put in the same amount of effort as you might for, say, a wedding. For that reason, a well-fitting suit that’s different from your office uniform is essential.
Of course, smart doesn’t have to be a synonym for boring. A textured two-piece complemented by a statement tie and finished with a simple tie clip and monk-strap shoes is a foolproof way to elevate your party attire above the norm.
The Classic Office Party
Making a good impression (yes, even while getting drunk and dancing) is vital to your professional reputation. Thankfully the task is made significantly easier by getting your outfit right.
A blazer with a crew neck T-Shirt always looks better in summer, so opt for a knitted polo shirt, light-gauge jumper or even a sporty zip-up instead to add an easy-going edge to a formal getup.
For a seasonally-appropriate twist, look for a jacket cut from a tactile fabric such as wool or one with a subtle fleck in the material. Throw in a baker boy hat and soft-handle scarf and you’re ready for the inevitable 2am walk home.
Even if your office party is being held in the pub, no one wants to be outdone by the intern, so you still need to make an effort by getting creative with your partywear.
To avoid looking like you came straight from the office, lose the suit jacket and sub in a roll neck. Worn under a smart overcoat, it’s an ideal way to make things feel more relaxed while enabling you to play with textures at the same time.
Foot the look with a pair of contrasting wool trousers, which (if cut right) gives you ample opportunity to dress the outfit up with a pair of sleek Chelsea boots or keep it comfortable with stripped-back leather sneakers.
Shop the full M&S tailoring range now in stores and online at marksandspencer.com.