What to Wear to a Holiday Office Party if you are a “Plus.”
Before you head into your closet, confirm the dress code, have a clear understanding on what the expectations are then go to your closet and use good judgment. Honestly ladies, we take the “What to wear” question too seriously. Keep it simple and know “You’ve got this!” Remember, it’s all in the layering of fashion pieces that fit when you are curvy. Master the style of what works, making it your style but keep in mind not too tight, not too loose, not too girly and not too sexy.
Weekday Holiday Party
If the holiday party is on a weekday, it’s no excuse to veer away from the general rule of revealing what they call “unexpected skin.” Avoid showing cleavage and those peek-a-boo cutout dresses or blouses. Leave the bare arms for summertime and even then know your office’s position on the hidden dress code. Anything that requires a special bra – think again.
Curves in all the Right Places
The best fashion secret is to use clothing to “create” curves in the right places. Create balance. Adding excess fabric is unflattering. De-emphasize trouble spots. Show off your waistline. Mimic the silhouette of an hourglass shape with details that showcase your shoulders and base.
The layer look is a timeless look. It begins with a professional look and your creativity can take it to assorted directions of festive. A blazer, maybe with a pop of color from the lining, with a trendy necklace, and a seasonal jewel tone color dress or skirt/blouse combo is easy for the “desk to dinner” events.
Even more popular than a blazer is the moto jacket. It’s an “in-between” style that offers maximum flexibility – you can dress up or dress down. Leather is always in style but recently I saw a soft and buttery “suede” moto jacket made with a knit blend for shape and comfort. Depending on your color palette maybe a crème caramel, dark coffee, cabernet red or my favorite a rich, deep teal would be your best option. Look for jackets with a slight A-line style that hit you at the hip with vertical seams to give a more waist defining shape. Stay away from boxy jackets and blazers.
Fit and Flare Dresses
Fall in love with the flattering silhouettes of fit-and-flare dresses, sheaths and wrap dresses in bold colors and eye-catching prints. Have you seen the wrap twist T-Shirt dress? It complimentary and its unexpected draping is so chic! A ribbed, long sleeve maxi dress in a monochrome color is stunning! However, depending on your comfort level, a digital print maxi with a dropped waist can really make a statement and would be incredible for the holidays. Pleats, plaids and windowpane patterns are making a comeback to the plus-size audience. Check those out too.
Be mindful for what is the office appropriate hem length. If you go a touch higher, do the sit down test in your outfit before the party. You don’t want to show too much and you don’t want to be constantly worried about fixing your skirt.
Skirts are a refreshing change from your everyday look. Take advantage of the season and treat yourself to a “party” skirt. Keep in mind, the “fancier” the skirt the more subdued your top and shoes should be.
Slacks are a work staple and a great option given the cold weather outside. Again, keep this tempered and not too wild. Avoid any pant that draws they eye and makes people wonder what they are seeing. Leather is tricky too, so stay with trousers that have just a little flair.
Eye Level Considerations
Keep in mind eye level. Whether sitting or standing the other party goers will be concentrating on your upper body. Scooped, V-neck and some boat necklines can create the illusion of a longer torso and a smaller waist. Be wary of adding unnecessary volume. Smooth fabrics and textures are complimentary. Plus size should focus on texture – a touch of lace, a faint pebble pattern, a simple pleat or two around a V-neck collar, metallic shimmer works both for daytime and nighttime – maybe even a faint “pebble” pattern. A sprinkle of sequins or an opaque top (not too sheer) are acceptable but refrain from looking like a bottle of glitter fell on you. Too many sequins is too many sequins! And leave the feathers for the New Year’s Eve party.
Big earrings can be distracting. Collar necklaces focus attention upward and usually are at eye level. They can accent your outfit in many directions from professional to festive. If all you can afford to do – either due to budget or time – find that versatile (but not too large of statement) necklace that can change your sensible look into a fun loving party girl.
Clean. Comfort. Compare.
Lastly, try on your outfit and make sure all the elements are clean, fit properly and the looks pulled together. Dress to look your best and please yourself, but also keep comfort in mind. Check out the venue on its website – see what those models are wearing. If it is an after 5 PM event, it usually is a bit more “classy”. Compare notes with friends that are going to the party and make sure all of you have a fun time!
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