Mixing office working relationships with after-hours social events can often become a confusing predicament. After all, you’re used to acting professional and put together during your work day, but trying to be more casual (especially with a cocktail in hand) can maybe make you a bit tense or anxious.

While it’s up to you to personally handle yourself with a bit of discretion, here are some tips on how to choose an appropriate outfit to wear for the occasion to help relieve your stress.

Is the Party During Work Hours or After Hours?

Your attire may need to change depending on the environment where the party is going to be held.

If your office is holding a party during normal working hours, then the standard dress code of your business should be upheld, as per usual. If you want, wearing a nice office-appropriate dress or a fancy coat or jacket shouldn’t be an issue, to both meet general office requirements while still allowing you to feel free and fun.

Should the event be held at a time or place beyond the normal working environment, then the rules become a little less strict. However, it’s important to note that you’ll still be socializing with your coworkers and other professional employees, so maintaining a modest ensemble is certainly the more appropriate way to go.

The bottom line: while it’s perfectly acceptable to unwind and feel a bit more unrestrained outside of the office, you’re still at a work function. Therefore, finding the balance between letting loose and being professional can be tricky.

Shop here!

Look 1: 

Agnona Wool Dress, £ 464.50

GUCCI, Floral Printed Linen Blazer, £ 1220
Alexander Mcqueen Platform Pumps, £ 567.17

Look 2: 

Dorothy Perkins,  Luxe Black Shift Dress, £ 15.30

French collection, Embellished Jacket, £ 108
Alexander Mcqueen Leather Pumps, £ 241.23

Party Attire Tips to Keep in Mind

In general, it’s best to choose something that’s going to stay modest and cover the majority of your body throughout the event.

Keeping your cleavage covered is crucial. Tops or blouses with a higher neckline can still be flattering to your figure, but they aren’t directing unnecessary attention to the area either. Clothing should be appropriately fitted to your body, but not so tightly that your body feels on display, or your clothes cling to your shape.

Furthermore, your upper legs/thighs are often best covered, either with pants, a knee-length skirt, If you want to go higher than the common “two inches above the knee” rule, then at least take the time to move about in your skirt/dress to see how short the hemline gets as you move. Also, physically sit and look to see how high the skirt rests on your legs when you sit down.

Another important point is to be cautious with sheer fabrics. Different lighting can give you different amounts of coverage. For instance, if you’re wearing something fairly see-through already and you end up standing under bright lights, you may be showing off a lot more than you initially expected to.

Overall, the best advice is to stick to an outfit that covers more skin than is displayed. This should also help prevent any wardrobe mishaps, should an outfit be accidently torn or if something rips — having more fabric to work with for covering up is key!

Shop here!

1. ICHI, Off The Shoulder Dress, £ 30

2. ASOS, Wrap Cami Dress In Pretty Floral Print, £ 15 

3. WEARALL, Aster Cowl Midi Jumper Dress, £ 30

4. AX PARIS, Lace Skirt Midi Dress, £ 45

Most Importantly: Be Comfortable and Simply Have Fun

Choose an outfit that’s not going to be bothering you for the entirety of your evening out with your friends and coworkers. Constantly fidgeting and pulling on your clothes will not only be frustrating for you, but will probably be noticeable to everyone around you.

Furthermore, these guidelines can only be so useful, as the situation may change depending on the occasion. If you’re attending a beach party, for example, then your wardrobe will undoubtedly be different!

Enjoy the event in an acceptable ensemble, and allow yourself to have (appropriate) fun at your next gathering.