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The Do’s and Don’ts When Dressing For a Holiday Party

Second in line only to presents, parties are the best part of the holiday season. You can get gussied up, there’s ample opportunity for layering, and it’s expected that some degree of festiveness will be part of everyone’s garb. While this can be great fun, it’s easy to take things too far and make yourself look more like a court jester instead of the life of the party. Here’s a list of sartorial do’s and don’ts for the holidays:


  • Wear a bow tie. Bow ties are the most irreverent accessories of them all and work well during the holiday season. Pick a playful pattern like dots, paisley, or plaid and you’ll look incredibly festive. Materials such as velvet and wool are seasonally appropriate options for bow ties, too.
Henry Davidsen Philadelphia Custom Bowties
  • Rock some plaid pants. Men do not often have the opportunity to wear pants that combine navy, red, green, yellow, black, or a host of other colors. Take advantage.
  • Carpe smoking jacket. A well-fitting (ahem, custom) velvet sport coat in burgundy, bottle green, navy or black will give any man the panache to navigate a holiday party. This is a great time to start thinking about a shawl collar.
  • Remember the season’s color palette. Red and green are traditional Christmas colors, so why not think about a white shirt, burgundy bow tie, and forest green sweater? Throw black pants into that mix and you’re totally Kwanzaa-appropriate. If Chanukkah is your thing, blue and white is a simple, holiday-appropriate color combination that most of us wear in the real world most days (Henry A. Davidsen makes custom yarmulkes, by the way).


  • Wear an ugly Christmas sweater. Unless you’re at an ugly Christmas sweater party, in which case go for the ugliest Christmas sweater you can find.
  • Overdo it on color and pattern. This isn’t a holiday-specific tip, but with the plaid pants, fun bowties, and sharp velvet blazers, it’s easy to get caught up and have a little too much fun. To that end, use good judgement. Pair your Black Watch tartan pants with a solid navy blazer and a white dress shirt. Wearing a bold paisley bow tie? A micro-check shirt will work, but keep that jacket solid. You get the idea.
  • Dress in off-season materials. Wool, velvet, cashmere, and flannel are great choices for the season. Keep the linen shirts and cotton pants in the closet until the temperature gets above 70 degrees again.

Season’s Greetings!

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