Planning Ahead for the Office Christmas Party Season

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my many years of going to events and parties working in the fashion industry, its that there is no such thing as too much advance planning when it comes to what you’re going to wear. That being said, I only really learned my lesson the hard way last year.

Since I am usually pretty fashion-focused, I always tend to have a good idea if what I want to wear to a particular occasion. However, last year, In was focusing on so many other things that the Office Christmas Party was the last thing on my mind. I ended up leaving it until we were well into December before I began my hunt. BIG mistake. Since my size is such a popular one (apparently most women in the UK are a size 14), most of the dresses I liked online had sold out in my size, and those that hadn’t, were selling like hotcakes to the point that if I’d check back on one five minutes later, it’d be gone!

I eventually did find one I loved, but ended up paying through my nose, and to be entirely honest, I could have done without all the unnecessary stress. We all could. Which is why, this year, I’ve started planning ahead and doing things a little differently. Read on to see what my tips are on never being a stressy mess come December.

Start Early

Okay, so you’re not exactly feeling festive during the end of summer sales, but trust me when I say that this is a great place to start looking for some great outfits for December. In fact, I bought my this year’s NYE gown in the summer sales so I got it at a whopping 40% off, meaning I spent a fraction of the price on this gown than I did on last year’s, which I bought in December. Too early for you? Then promise yourself you will start looking no later than October. The relief you will feel that you’ve already got most of your party wardrobe sorted when December hits and buying gifts for loved ones becomes a priority, will be a HUGE load off. Plus it gives you a decent amount of time to try things on and return or exchange them for other sizes if they don’t quite work for you.

Get in the mood with a Pinterest board

Let’s be honest, its 2019 and most great ideas stem from the wonderful place that is Pinterest. Next time you have a quiet night to yourself, pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some relaxing instrumental Christmas music, light your favourite candle and settle in for a night of Pinning inspirational party looks. This will help put you in the mood for the party season, and the looks you’ve loved and pinned will stay at the back of your mind when you’re shopping online or in-store, so if you see similar pieces, you can scoop them up and know what to pair them with right away.

Identify the occasions and your focus pieces

Sometimes, party invitations come at the last minute. I get that. But start with the most obvious ones you’ve already blocked out dates for in your calendar and get to finding outfits for those first. Next, identify the pieces you really, really want and before you click ‘Add To Cart’, make sure they go with at least three things you already own so you can wear them over and over. If you have to buy too many things to go with it, it is probably worth thinking twice. I obviously bought a gown for NYE, and a black and gold midi skirt for a winter wedding we are attending. But then I bought a burgundy velvet blazer, a metallic pleated midi skirt and a silver shimmery blazer for work Christmas parties and fashion events I knew were imminent this time of year. All of these pieces would pair easily with simple black turtlenecks, dark wash jeans or trousers and simple A-line skirts I already owned.

Save all potential pieces in one place

Here’s another way Pinterest is super handy. Most websites have a ‘save to Pinterest’ button at the bottom of every product. If not, press the ‘share’ button on your browser and scroll till you see the Pinterest icon show up. Once you do, create a board for all your party pieces and save the item to it. This way, all the items you’re thinking of buying are in one place and are easy to look at at a glance. So no scrambling around your browser history or wondering what keywords to type into a website’s search box for you, girl. You can take your time deliberating and pick and choose at your own pace, if you start early enough. Top Tip: I use this method when it comes to buying gifts for family, friends and colleagues as well. I start out a few months before and save all potential presents he might like to a secret Pinterest board, and then go in and buy the best ones closer to the date.

Take pictures

Once your outfit arrives, try it on with the exact shoes, bag, jewellery (even underthings, so you know exactly how it is going to fit) you’d wear it with on the night of your event. Take a picture of yourself and create a folder on your phone with all your party looks. This will make getting dressed before an occasion a breeze as you’ll have all your looks ready in front of you, so will be able to choose one best for your event, plus you’ll remember what pieces you’ve bought and exactly what goes with them, so all you have to do is grab and go. Taking pictures is also fun because you can send them to your crew to get advice on what to keep or return or how to accessorize pieces differently.


Make sure you have your go-to essentials

Two pairs of black heels – one open sandal and one closed pump, both that are comfortable enough to spend all night dancing in, are honestly the foundation of any great party look. Also, a great black shoulder bag or clutch (one that can house more than just a lipstick) will go with practically everything. And, just in case you haven’t got them yet, stock up on the following in both, black and nude to prevent against any possible party season wardrobe malfunction – sheer and opaque tights, shapewear / Spanx, bras and thongs, slips for under dresses, plain cami tops, a skinny black belt and some gel pads for your heels. You don’t want to be running around in a flap ten minutes before you have to leave and have to sacrifice wearing your dream outfit because you don’t have the right underthings to wear with it.

Apply the same similar to generic gifting

I always make sure I buy things like Christmas cards, wine bags and a few bottles of Prosecco, gift bags and tags, ribbon and wrapping paper, etc. in November, so if I have any last-minute parties to attend, I won’t have to feel embarrassed about showing up empty-handed.

Do you plan ahead for the party season or are you more of a wing-it kinda gal? Share it with me in the comments below or via social media.


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Anushka Moore is a Manchester-based Digital Content Creator and Stylist at Smart Works Greater Manchester, where she empowers women to dress for success at interviews and jobs.

She is also founder of the widely celebrated Instagram Body Positivity movement, 'Midsize Collective'. Her work with Smart Works and Midsize Collective have been highlighted in publications and media institutions of repute such as The Telegraph, BBC Radio Manchester, WhoWhatWear and ELLE.

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