Yes, it’s that time of year when we need to think about what exactly we’re going to wear to the holiday office party and other events with family and friends.

Here are the top five things to look for in a party outfit:

1. Is it appropriate for the event?

Though using lace neckline inserts, bandeaus and sheer sleeves or pashminas can help your holiday outfit do double duty as a work party outfit, err on the safe side and make sure that even your fancy dresses still cover enough that you’re not going to be the topic of office water-cooler party debriefs. Avoid super low necklines or backlines, strapless or super short dresses and you’ll be good to go. Consider the level of formality too – a fancy dress party needs a bit more shimmer, where an informal brunch needs a softer look.

2. Does it fit you well?

Double sided tape, speed sew glue and bra strap snaps can keep everything in place, but the best defense is a well-fitted dress in the first place. When choosing a party dress, make sure it is the right fit in the torso to avoid gaping at the armholes, neckline or waistline, as well as checking to see that the lines in the garment (waistline, neckline and hemline) sit proportionately at the right spot for your body.

3. Is it in good repair?

You may have ripped out the hem last year with your heels, split a seam after one too many rounds with the hors d’oeuvres tray or let a button slide. Check your outfit carefully to ensure everything’s shipshape – those small details matter!

4. Does it express who you are?

Your sociability at holiday events as well as your credibility at work events can shine through when you feel and look amazing in whatever outfit you choose. Check that the colour and style of the outfit go well with your natural colouring and body type so that you get to wear your outfit, not have it wear you. A good way to gauge this is whether or not you hear people say “Wow, you look great!” or “Wow, that’s a great dress!”. If they’re commenting on you, not your clothing, you’re on the right track.

5. Are you sending the message you want to send with your choice?

Whatever you want to project, whether that be your fun side, your charm, your serious mind or your elegance, your holiday party outfit sends a message visually to those around you. If you’d like to show a little more fun, then a bit of bling, a bit of movement or texture and a bit of shine can work wonders. If you want to be seen as credible or authoritative at a work party, choosing a monochromatic look with simple lines will help.

We hope you find these tips helpful – you are welcome to find us on Polyvore for some visual examples. If you’re still confused about what to wear for your holiday parties and would like some help, let us know. Click here to get started.