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Office party? Look attractive but professional

Last updated on: September 4, 2009 

Office party? Look attractive but professional

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The festive season is nearing and we'll be seeing a step-up in celebrations of all kinds -- weddings, religious holidays, office parties. And for that last one, you need to keep in mind that you're to create an impression. The right one.

Workplace events are sometimes related to business and sometimes not. They may be held within office premises or at any other venue. You may be getting together to celebrate a successful client transaction or just mixing with colleagues for an after-hours get-together. But don't forget, the people you'll be spending time with are those you work with, those you report to, those who handle appraisals and those that sign your paycheck at the end of each month. And you need to look both presentable and professional because impressions extend beyond the workspace too.

So keeping the above in mind, we've put together a few tips on how to ensure that you look good, enjoy yourself and present yourself well.

Rule number 1: A dash of professionalism is a must

The trend may be off-shoulder dresses and gladiator heels, but please - -before you go over the top to prove your fashionista status, remember that your boss doesn't want to see you as a party-hard diva, even if you are one. Satin or ruffled shirts and blouses, pencil skirts, demure dresses, stiletto heels, elegant carry-alls -- these are the essentials of pretty but professional.

Guys, don't loosen your ties after a couple of drinks -- take them off altogether if you like, but make sure you don't look scruffy. Relaxed yet presentable is the name of the game.


Photographs: Satish Bodas
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Rule number 2: No skin show, please!

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Unless you're planning to seduce your seniors -- and take it from us, if that's your intention you're barking up the wrong tree -- please stick to a modest dress code. While there's no need to wrap yourself up from head to toe like an Egyptian mummy, no plunging bandage dresses are welcome either.

Ladies, keep it toned down -- whatever outfit you choose should start well before your cleavage does and hemlines should end no higher than just above the knee. Lads, no popping open your shirt buttons till your navel even if your chest has been waxed lately. And pants should start at your hips, not below your boxers. Yes, that applies for after-hours too.


Photographs: Manish Sharma
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Rule number 3: Be comfortable

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We can understand if you're a little nervous about mingling with your CEO holding a martini glass when you've probably been to his cabin just twice before or not at all. But don't be the overzealous employee who looks like he spent the day getting a makeover.

Try to avoid uncomfortable, restrictive clothing. And that could mean anything new. Go with a number that you've worn before and looks good on you. Or people around you will be laughing it up at office jokes while your mind is on how to get rid of a wedgie without anyone noticing.


Photographs: Reuben NV
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Rule number 4: Ethnicwear is always a good choice

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Hey, we're Indian and ethnic clothing is not only part of our culture, it's very comfortable, eye-catching and much appreciated. Now that doesn't mean you make a dart for one of your mother's Kanjeevaram saris -- ladies can opt for a lightly embroidered churidaar kameez and men can sport a bandhgala jacket (mind you, a sober one!). You'll look stylish, polished and stand out in a crowd of cliched corporate clothing.


Photographs: Jewella C Miranda
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Rule number 5: Casual can be cool too

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There's no reason why you can't let your hair down at an office party, especially a casual one. Try to fit in with the mood and setting. If it's a casual do, dress the part -- there's no harm in that. Your seniors don't expect you to come dressed to the nines for dinner at a chic but intimate cafe. Jeans and a crisp shirt, loafers, anything goes, as long as you look well-groomed and crisp. No muddy sneakers or ill-fitted tees, though!

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
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Rule number 6: Accessorise the right way

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No earrings that are so heavy they draw your head to one side, nor a bling-y belt that spells 'sexy' out on a crystallised buckle! You'll blow your whole look if you choose the wrong accessories. Small trinkets or just one statement piece will do. Women should keep make-up minimal to avoid being mistaken for a party favour.

And hey, regardless of everything, remember, accidents can happen. You may look as spiffy as a Christmas tree and someone may drop a drink down the front of your shirt. But then don't sweat the small stuff. Remember, at the end of the day the objective of a party is to let your hair down and have fun.


Photographs: Jewella C Miranda
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