Christmas Party At the Office: Outfit Ideas for Men

Cosima Haas

Opinions differ when it comes to the company Christmas party: some people look forward to it all year round, while others are put off by the dilemma of the right outfit. To avoid embarrassment and appear confident throughout the evening, SANVT has created a guide for different dress codes.

There is one evening of the year when playtime and professional life inevitably mix. The company Christmas party is seen by many as a suspicious obligatory event, but it also has many positive sides. In addition to moreish food (which you don't usually have to take care of yourself) and free drinks, there is finally time for conversation in a non-formal setting. The Christmas party offers you the opportunity to talk communicate beyond the everyday small talk in the office. But as with all celebrations, the question arises: what do I wear?

No matter where you're going, the general dress code in the company plays a role in the outfit choice for the company Christmas party. If business attire generally applies in the office, jeans and trainers should also be avoided for this occasion. In this SANVT guide, you will find inspiration for the three most common dress codes in the office: business attire, smart casual and casual wear. Plus, we've given you an extra bonus tip at the end.

Chic instead of baggy: Business attire 

The invitation to the company Christmas party usually comes a little too early every year, just like Christmas biscuits in the supermarkets. But this gives you the opportunity to prepare for the evening in the right fashion. Probably the most elegant and formal dress code is "Business Attire". Alongside "Black Tie", it is one of the stricter dress codes in the office and is usually prescribed in banks or for the upper echelons of management. For men, this means that there are few alternatives apart from a suit and tie. The choice of colours is also limited: instead of light suit colours such as beige, darker colours such as brown or navy are preferred.  If your company isn't that strict and doesn't necessarily require suit pants, you could also go with a pair of navy chino pants (still have a formal look to them). A white shirt, tie and a jacket in the same colour as the suit trousers or chino can complete the outfit. 

Hand picked suggestions from the SANVT Team:

Smart casual - Jeans or Chino?

Only one dress code manages the balancing act between sportiness and elegance: "Smart casual". Here, the tie can be deliberately left at home. This also applies to the Christmas party. And dark suits are not a must-do either. Chinos, corduroy trousers or even dark jeans are allowed. To fight the cold at the end of the year, trousers with a heavier fabric, such as heavyweight chinos, are recommended. In summer, formal shirts can also be swapped for a polo shirt. In winter, and thus also for the Christmas party, nothing can go wrong with the following outfit choice - white shirt combined with a grey zip hoodie.

Hand picked suggestions from the SANVT Team:

Are sweatpants allowed for the casual wear dresscode?

The purpose of a Christmas party is to bring the entire workforce together in one evening and break up the hierarchy that otherwise exists within the company. Just like a drink or two at the party, swapping your desk for a night out can break up business talk and help form new friendships. Another dress code that often exists in smaller companies and start-ups is "Casual wear". It is the opposite of 'business attire' and roughly speaking means: clothing that you would also wear in your freetime. However, this does not mean that you should turn up in sweatpants. Jeans, cargo trousers or chinos are fine, though. Whether you wear a polo shirt, T-shirt or white shirt is up to you - whatever feels most comfortable. If you want to look casual but still dressed up, a roll neck sweater is also recommended. This will keep you warm at the same time without compromising on style. If you're tired of just having your pant oder jacket pockets to keep your belongings in, consider taking out a canvas bag. It not only holds space to more than your wallet, but is also robust to all the party action that might happen at the office festivities. 

Hand picked suggestions from the SANVT Team:

Casual tech geeks - nerdy though conservative

While the term 'geek', also known as 'nerd', used to have a negative connotation, those in tech have been anything but uncool since the advent of generative AI systems such as ChatGPT. In these sectors, or similar, the choice of clothes depends on what kind of company you work for. While smart casual is recommended in large software companies, start-ups may also allow - or even prefer - casual wear. If you want to play it safe, go for dark jeans or chinos and combine them with a hoodie or knitted jumper

Hand picked suggestions from the SANVT Team:

Rule number 1: Feel good and comfortable

As with any outfit, you should always opt for an outfit that makes you feel comfortable. After all, there's no point in getting dressed up unnecessarily if you end up sitting at dinner all evening feeling totally suffocated. Of course, if you are bound by a strict dress code, you don't have many options. But after a glass or two of champagne, the whole evening can look completely different anyway...

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