dressing for office holiday events

It's busy season for office soirees and corporate luncheons. The office holiday party is a chance to play around with the office dress code-just don't be too playful. While less conservative than office day wear, business party attire demands the same level of professionalism.

Style trends vary from year to year, but dress etiquette has changed little since the Mad Men era. Heather Weekley, assistant editor for Capital Style magazine, outlined the basics for dressing for the office holiday affair:

Holiday breakfast or luncheon

Women should strive for a "polished yet comfortable for mixing and mingling," says Weekley:

Start with something simple and elegant, like the classic little black dress or a crisp, white shirt blouse tucked into a pencil skirt. Use accessories to enhance the look: A statement necklace, a fun scarf or a pair of colored pumps add that something extra.

For men, business casual is appropriate"since it's more casual than an evening event. Weekley recommends:

Dress slacks with a button-up shirt and sport coat fits the bill Throw in a tie if you'd like. Or try a chunky sweater over a button-up shirt for a cozier feel.

Holiday soirees

Women, "take your cue from the invitation," says Weekley:

If it's a black tie party, dress to the nines in a gown or cocktail dress (if you're feeling bold, try a jumpsuit!). For a cocktail party, try a dress or skirt with a little flare. Leather and sequins are continually showing up this season. If you're not ready to take that plunge, try small detailing like leather paneling. And a faux-fur vest is always fun!

Once again, men should take a cue from the invitation. Weekley advises:

Black tie typically means tuxedos Cocktail parties mean dress slacks, a shirt and tie and a suit jacket.