x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Katie Trotter - On the festive office party

Strut your stuff at the office holiday party - just don't upstage Father Christmas.

Here we are again: the dreaded party season, the month of competitive plumage, when everyone whips out their gladrags in an attempt to impress big Mike from finance (who, let's face it, always mildly disgusted you). It's a desperate, last-ditch attempt to show your colleagues there is a whole other you out there - a sexier, funnier, generally brighter you up for grabs.

Although generally dress codes remain constant from year to year for such occasions, there are subtle shifts. Last year the fascinator did the rounds, the year before that we trotted around in the shrug, looking like we'd had a bad experience with the laundry man. And if we really look back we can catch a glimpse of the pashmina - now an item solely reserved for old aunts with a wobbly upper-arm issue.

So what is the scoop for 2010?

Well, let's start with a few don'ts. First off - and I know I repeat myself but I am only trying to help - the greatest risk is the effort to go all out. You end up trussed up in something very non-you. If you don't generally wear a hot pink, sparkly little number with shoulder pads and rocket heels, don't give it a go now. Your colleagues won't be fascinated - they will only think you are a rather frightening, attention-grabbing fashion maniac and post you straight onto Facebook.

I'm not saying play it safe either, or opt for the little black dress so you can fade into the wallpaper; I'm simply saying go for something relaxed. Think of it as an extension of your daily wardrobe rather than an addition.

Try muted tones, and by muted I mean not garish - opt for soft pinks, rich greens or creams. Stay away from trends, because of course these trends are not real trends. They are simply brands cashing in on making us feel bad, repeatedly jabbing us with promises of a fuller, richer and more rewarding life, sordid little whispers in our ear that say: "You're nearly 40", "You're nearly out of the game", "You look like a wreck", "Buy me, buy me - I'll fix you".

Look to brands such as Chloé, Alexander McQueen or Preen if you want to blow the budget; brands that offer "quirky" without "try-hard". For the high street, stick to Zara or Reiss for your staples.

And don't forget that as dazzling as big Mike scrubs up on the night, he is still the same old big Mike who photocopies his face for a laugh, and touches the doorknob three times before exiting the building.

In other words, trust your instinct. It's always right.

M - ometer

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