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.

The Holiday Party Series – Part 2: How To Dress For A Friend’s Party

In The Holiday Party Series – 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 of the series, we’re going to discuss how to dress for your friend’s holiday party.

A friend’s party is usually a more relaxed, but that still doesn’t mean it’s time to pull out the sweatpants and hoodies.

If you’re single, the holidays are a perfect time to meet someone special – for the night, the month, the year, or for life. And showing up like the well-dressed gentleman that you are, definitely helps your chances.

If you’re attached, your girl is going to love watching the other women ogle you from afar. I know that when someone looks at my man, I always think, “Yeah, that’s right, keep looking – he’s with me!” Any woman can appreciate a well-dressed man and they will, whether you’re attached or not.

Topman Dark Green Marl Slim Fit Sweater, $35
Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Regent Fit Mini Pinstripe Dress Shirt, $92
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas, $228
H&M Leather Dress Belt, $20
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxfords, $395
Topman SELECT Homme Grey Salt and Pepper Wool Rich Suit Jacket, $220

Throw on a dark green v-neck sweater over a crisp, light blue dress shirt. Leave the top 2 buttons undone and make sure the collar tips are tucked underneath your sweater.

Finish with a pair of slim, dark wash jeans. Avoid jeans that have whiskering, fading, or holes because they’ll make your entire outfit look sloppy.

Don’t forget to add a black belt (making sure the buckle isn’t too large) and black leather dress shoes to complete the look.

Another option is to pair the above outfit with a sports coat. If you go this route, add a pocket square to finish it off. Remember: It’s all about the details.

If you missed Part 1 of The Holiday Party Series: How To Dress For The Office Party, I talked about the thing that’ll make or break this outfit is whether you’ve layered properly. So keep those layers on the thinner side!

 

Tips & Etiquette

  1. Bring a nice bottle of wine to thank the host/hostess for throwing the party.
  2. Bring a few business cards, just in case.
    You never know who you might run in to.
  3. Introduce yourself to every person in the room.
    Avoid only talking to the people you know. It’s not weird or inappropriate to go up to strangers at this party because they were invited by your friend/host, just like you were. So use the fact that you have a mutual friend to introduce yourself.
  4. Before leaving, make sure to say goodbye to the host(s) as well as the people you spoke with that night.
    In the adult world, it’s extremely rude to leave without saying goodbye.

The Holiday Party Series – Part 1: How To Dress For The Office Party

We’ve officially entered December – the month of gifts, merriment, and parties. Since you’ve already done your holiday shopping, it’s time to focus on the parties.

If you’re like most of my male friends and clients, you’ll have a loose idea, at best, about how to act and what’s appropriate to wear to a work, friend’s, or family holiday party.

So I’ll lay it out for you in my 3-part Holiday Party Series. In Part 1, we’ll focus on this year’s office holiday party.

 

Formal Event/Sit-Down Dinner

Some companies throw serious parties this time of year, which may include a sit-down dinner at the local country club or ritzy restaurant. This type of event calls for you to step up your game. Think of this as a perfect opportunity to impress the boss and higher-ups.

Time to break out the tailored navy suit. If you don’t have one, Topman makes fantastic ones for basically the price of a song.

Topman Navy Slim Fit Suit, $250
TopMan White and Light Blue Mini Grid Long Sleeve Dress Shirt, $55
The Tie Bar Melange Twist Solid Tie, $19
The Tie Bar Brushed Straight Silver Bar (1.5″ wide), $15
The Tie Bar Solid Linen Pocket Square with Rolled Border, $10
H&M Leather Dress Belt, $20
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxfords, $395

Don’t forget the accessories: If you don’t know this by now, The Tie Bar is, hands down, my favorite one-stop shop for ties, pocket squares, and ties bars. You can’t beat the variety, quality, and price! Silk knit ties are a great way to update your current suit, especially for the holidays. Stick with a charcoal knit tie for a more conservative look.

Finish with black oxford dress shoes and feel free to mix it up with some holiday-themed socks, if that’s your thing.

Topman Navy Gingerbread Socks, $6
Topman Oat Fairisle Pattern Boot Socks, $12
Topman Polar Bear Socks, $6
Topman White Snowman Socks, $6

 

Informal Event/Cocktails

If your company throws a cocktail party, then you’ll want to dress down a bit because this is less formal than a sit-down dinner. Since you’ll be mostly drinking and socializing, we’re going to modify the suit from the previous event slightly by skipping the tie, unbuttoning the top 2 buttons of your dress shirt, and throwing on a sweater underneath the jacket.

Topman Burgundy Twist Crew Neck Sweater, $35
TopMan Black Essential Crew Neck Sweater, $30
J.Crew Italian Cashmere Navy V-Neck Sweater, $225

WARNING: If you’re not careful, you’re going to look like a sweaty mess in a matter of minutes. Go to any holiday party and look for the sweaty guy and you’ll see someone who doesn’t understand how to wear layers. The key to to staying comfortable with this look, since it’s layered, is to ensure each layer consists of lighter fabrics. Definitely avoid any wool or cashmere sweaters. Instead, go for silk/cotton blends, which will keep you at a comfortable temperature.

 

Tips & Etiquette

  1. Make sure to unbutton your suit jacket when you sit down. When standing up, remember to re-button your jacket’s top button.
  2. Do your homework. If you’re not already familiar with the C-level (CEO, CFO, COO) executives as well as the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of your company, spend a few minutes finding their names, titles and pictures and create a little cheat-sheet for yourself and keep it on your phone for quick reference. You’re going to need it when it’s time to introduce yourself to them. Yep, you’re going to go up to them at the party and say hello.
  3. Make sure to have an almost empty drink in your hand and go up to the executives and tell them you’re having a great time at the party and thank them for throwing it. Immediately tell them your name and your position at the company. Let them lead the conversation, they’re probably much better at talking to strangers than you are, so all you have to do is answer their questions and have an exit strategy.  As soon as you hit a dry spot or the conversation is winding down, tell them that you’ve got to freshen up your drink and ask if they’d like one as well. They’ll probably say “No” and now you get to leave on a good note.
  4. You will adhere to a 2 drink maximum for the night (maximum 1 drink per hour) – or at least until the bosses and higher-ups have left. You’re there to impress and not make an ass of yourself. As much as everyone likes to say that this is “off-hours”-  that’s complete bullshit. People always remember and gossip about the drunk guy from accounting who hit on the marketing girl the next working day. Don’t fall for the trap! NOTE: If the boss wants to do shots, completely disregard my advice and do shots.

The Leather Jacket

This post is part of my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials Series. In the series, I give my tried-and-true men’s wardrobe essentials/basics/must haves that every guy, whether a teenager, in their 20’s, 30’s and well past their 50’s should own in order to be a classic, stylish, well-dressed man.

For well over 70 years, leather jackets have represented individuality and a rebellious, manly side throughout American history. Marlon Brando, The Ramones, WWII fighter pilots, and Springsteen all come to mind when I think of leather jackets. A well-made leather jacket is an essential addition to a man’s wardrobe because it will never go out of style, can be dressed up or down, will generally last a lifetime and fit like a second skin.

Watching a man put on a leather jacket is like watching a prize-fighter standing over his opponent after he’s been knocked down. There’s just something about it that harkens back to a classic, badass, bygone era.

What Type Of Leather Jacket Is Right For You?

There are many different types of leather jackets available, some better than others. The biker jacket, what Marlon Brando is known for, is what usually comes to mind when thinking about a leather jacket. As iconic as this jacket is, I don’t recommend it for most guys. The buckle straps, zippered cuffs, and buttoned collar and lapels are a bit much in my opinion. Unless you’re going for the ’50’s greaser or heroin-chic rockstar look, it’s best not to go this route. It often looks much better in print or on the screen than it does in person.

If you like the classic ruggedness of the biker jacket but want a cleaned-up version, the motocross jacket is perfect for you. It has a tabbed collar and less… stuff all over it, which makes it much more versatile. I prefer this style over the biker jacket because the clean design won’t add additional bulk to your frame, so it’s a great choice for all body shapes.

My hands-down favorite of all leather jackets is the bomber style jacket. It has a clean, timeless body style and the elastic, ribbed cuffs, collar, and waist allow the jacket to hug your body nicely, while adding more comfort than the more traditional styles. The leather on these jackets is usually very soft and supple compared to the other styles, so it makes for a perfect everyday type of jacket.

Best Ways To Wear It

The Biker Jacket

If you go the biker jacket route, I highly recommend this AllSaints ‘Conroy’ leather biker jacket ($670). It has all the classic biker details and an awesome slim fit, which is important since you don’t want it to add bulk to your frame. I’ve personally worked with this jacket, and like all of AllSaint’s leathers, the quality and attention to detail is exceptional. The jacket a steal at this price.

Going on a date? Pair with a white button-up shirt, wool trousers, and lace-up leather shoes and watch her salivate the whole night. Switch out the dress shirt with your favorite t-shirt and a pair of dark washed jeans for beers with the guys.

The Motocross Jacket

I’m recommending this Zara jacket for its awesome fit, super clean design, and perfect cognac shade of brown. You may be wondering why it costs less than $100. That’s because this is actually a synthetic leather jacket. But I can assure you, no one will notice. If anything, this jacket is softer, both in feel and in the hit to your bank account than real leather, which is a plus in my book. A brown jacket pairs well with shades of blues, so go with a light blue striped dress shirt, solid navy tie, light brown v-neck sweater, and a pair of dark jeans and brown dress boots to pull this awesome look off. Nix the v-neck sweater if it’s a little warm out or you tend to run warm-blooded.

The Bomber Jacket

If you want something that looks great, is super versatile as well as comfortable, then look no further than the bomber jacket. Whether going out at night or running errands during the day, I’d pair this jacket with a white t-shirt, charcoal or dark brown wool trousers, and lace-up black leather boots. You’ll look put together and not like you’re trying too hard.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, a well-made leather jacket is an essential addition to a man’s wardrobe because it will never go out of style, can be dressed up or down, will generally last a lifetime and fit like a second skin. When you throw one on, like a well-tailored suit, it’ll make you feel and look better. You’re not just investing in a leather jacket. You’re investing in yourself. Remember that and let’s see those leather jackets!

Get This Look: Classic Navy Coat & Camel Cardigan

The perfect layered look for Fall. Navy and camel is a classic color combination and one of my favorites this time of year.

 

Zara Blue Check Blazer, $170
J. Crew Cotton Cashmere Cardigan, $74.50
H&M Oxford Shirt, $25
TopMan Light Grey Textured Skinny Fit Suit Pants, $120
The Tie Bar Spree Dots Tie, $19
Brooks Brothers Silver Buckle Dress Belt, $128
Tom Ford Andrew Sunglasses, $395

Photo Credit: The Sartorialist