December Presence: the Holiday Party Style Guide

Main what to wear to a holiday party

Holiday season means parties—lots and lots of parties. There’s the homey family mixer, the chic champagne blow- out, and—scariest of all—the dreaded office party, where work politics meets free alcohol and things can get weird. Which means you need to be ready for anything, from leading a cadre of tipsy celebrants in a toast to slipping out unnoticed the moment HR starts organizing a team carol.

It also means having an outfit on hand that embraces tradition but is contemporary enough to translate to a more stylish environment. “This is a confident look any man can pull off,” says designer Vince Camuto. “It blends classic and timeless designs with a modern Italian sensibility.”

And speaking of sensibility, go easy on the punch. People talk.


“An interesting print or texture instantly elevates otherwise everyday five-pocket pants,” Camuto says. Dark jeans, of course, are always a safe bet for business-casual environments, and jean-cut cotton chinos are a step up from jeans; five- pocket wool dress pants, though, are something out of the ordinary.

“They offer additional texture and dimension that add a strong styling element for a more refined look,” adds Camuto.

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“The velvet blazer has become a versatile wardrobe staple—it looks great with trousers, or even denim, and adds a level of sophistication and refinement,” says Camuto. “It’s the perfect style for a holiday party,” he adds.

Of course, having balance in your overall look is key, Camuto says, so “other pieces in the look should be more tonal and cleaner.”


Back away from the festive holiday print, aka winter’s Hawaiian shirt. Please, trust us on this one.

“You should always pair a velvet blazer with a crisp, solid shirt,” advises Camuto. “This matte shirt works as a clean backdrop to the soft texture and light sheen of the blazer. Mixing finishes is a great and easy way to pull off the monochro- matic look.”


A masculine, contemporary pair of boots, like the Vince Camuto Carlo (shown), is just what you need to ground this look. (You’re wearing a velvet jacket, after all.)

“I love the versatility of these boots,” Camuto says. “They’re dressed-up motorcycle boots with a downtown edge. They’re appropriate for a special occasion and also look great with jeans.”

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