Holiday Parties

The Holiday Party Series – Part 3: How To Dress For A Family Party

In Part 1, How To Dress For The Office Party, we went over what to wear and how to act at this year’s formal or informal work party. In Part 2, we covered How To Dress For A Friend’s Party. In this, the final post of the series, we’re going to go over how to dress and proper etiquette for a family holiday party.

If you’re going to your in-laws or (maybe) future in-law’s holiday party, your girl will use this as an opportunity to show you off to the people who’s opinion probably means the most in her life. If you show up looking like a slob and her family is similar to most, there’s going to be gossip. Yes, it’s not the end of the world to you, but to your girl, it might as well be. Trust me on this. How you’re presented to the family matters a lot to the woman in your life. So it’s your job to be her arm candy this time.

If you’re single, you’ll likely be with your family. So yes, you’re not there to show off to your potential future in-laws, but you should at least want to show your family that you’ve got (some of) your shit together.

H&M Black V-Neck Merino Wool Sweater, $50
Zara White Plain Shirt, $50
Topman Grey Check Ultra Skinny Fit Suit Pants, $75
H&M Leather Dress Belt, $20
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxfords, $395

Pair a black v-neck sweater over a crisp, white dress shirt. Tuck the shirt into a pair of charcoal wool pants. I don’t recommend jeans because they’re too informal when you’re trying to make an impression – regardless of the audience.

Just like I recommended for How To Dress For The Office Party, finish everything off with a black belt and dress shoes.

Tips & Etiquette

  1. You should never show up to a family function empty-handed. Grab a bottle of $10ish Merlot (red wine) and present it to the host(s) when greeting them.
  2. As soon as you enter the party, greet each person. If you haven’t met them before, introduce yourself, and tell them who you are in relation to the family. Example: “Hi, I’m Daniel – Sara’s boyfriend.”
  3. After greetings have been exchanged with everyone, ask the host(s) if there’s anything you can lend a hand with.
  4. Once the meal has concluded, don’t ask, just walk over to the kitchen and start putting things away or cleaning up or doing the dishes. And yes, they’re going to tell you it’s OK and not to worry about it. But you just keep doing it anyways. The in-laws or future in-laws will especially love you for this, and you’ll win major brownie points for years to come. If you’re at your family’s place, your Mom or Grandma will appreciate this just as much.
  5. When it’s time to leave, if you came with your girl, put her coat on first, in plain view of everyone else. She might not know it yet, but she’ll love the family watching you attend to her.
  6. Say goodbye to the oldest people first and then down the lineage line until you say goodbye to the hosts last. You’ll thank the hosts again for having you over and then leave the party immediately.

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