Have you got your office party outfit sorted?

Gird your loins people: it’s office Christmas party season!

…and what’s worse than hours of forced social interaction with your co-workers? Trying to muster the energy to put on pants. And be festive. And also this isn’t Microsoft Teams so you can’t just turn your camera off when you want to pick scratch your nose.

Seriously that’s all just a bit too hard at this point.

So, if 2020 has left you with less holiday spirit than a Coles’ rum ball, then FEAR NOT because, in a truly selfless act of holiday cheer, I have undertaken a great deal of peer-reviewed1 research to bring you the definitive step-by-step guide for finding your inner festive fashionista feels.

I call it the ‘Work-Party-Prepper’™ (patent pending) – and it’s about to revolutionise the way you get ready for an evening of mandated chit-chat.

There are three steps: “cover your shame”, “accessorise, accessorise, accessorise” and “general disposition”.

Just choose (a), (b), (c) or (d) at each step, and you’ll be good to go. Plus BONUS I’ve included some pros and cons in there to help make your choices easy-peasy-cranberry-squeezey.

Get the combination right and you’re sure to stand out as an all-around awesome employee who really likes lists and knows how to use them (aka promotion material). Get it wrong, and you may end up in disciplinary proceedings.

Have fun!

Step 1: Cover your shame

Pick one:

a) The “it was heavily marked down but I don’t know why!”

You probably started planning and shopping for something to wear weeks ago like the total A-type lawyer you are. You probably even took the time to snap grainy mirror selfies of the proposed ensemble a couple of nights before the party, just so your work bestie could send you copious catcalls of self-esteem-boosting approval via the internets and the SnapChatz. I mean sure, it’s a bit risqué for a work thing but hey – it’s still classy and cool and anyway you’re totally rocking it so YOU GO GLEN COCO!

But even after all that tireless preparation, there was one thing you didn’t see coming: and it’s too bad because everyone else sure is. Maybe it’s a missing button or has a broken zipper, or it’s doing that weird static cling thing that basically means you unintentionally flashed the whole office your Bridget Jones’ undies during a spirited chorus of YMCA.

Whatever the case, you’ll totally ruin everything when you finally notice in the bathroom at 10:13pm and start going all McGyver on it with bobby pins and tinsel.

Pros: all eyes will be on you!

Cons: honestly… none.

b) The “Halloween costume I had lying around because that’s close enough”

You know that chick in Love Actually who wears the devil horns and turtle neck and says she’s looking forward to seeing her boss at the Christmas party “ALOT”? And then Emma Thomson starts crying because all she got was a crummy CD, and Devil Horns gets the necklace, and then Hugh Grant tells Natalie she’s fat and that other guy is basically working up to kidnapping Kiera Knightly and holding her hostage in his basement and we forget why we ever watch this movie?

Yeah, don’t be Devil Horns. Unless of course, you want to – not shaming. But at least make the outfit seasonally relevant for Pete’s sake.

Pros: you’ll get the ugliest necklace ever from some random department store.

Cons: you’ll make Emma Thomson cry.

d) The “Bruce Willis t-shirt (because Die Hard IS a Christmas movie, Brenda)”

Why would you even consider anything else?! It’s basically the coolest holiday reference ever. For the uninitiated, Die Hard is a classic Christmas tale featuring action man Bruce Willis who spends the whole thing trying to make up for never being there for his kids and wife or something and so when he can’t find a Turbo Man for his kid he just dresses up as one and saves the day. Oh wait, that’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. OH WAIT, that’s Jingle All The Way. Pfft, whatever they’re all the same.

Pros: you’ll confuse the curmudgeonly office matriarch.

Cons: Brenda will bail you up at least once to tell you that “Brett Williams” was much better when he was in Moonlighting.

e) The “I’m here against my will so I’m wearing whatever the hell I wore to work today”

You’ll just get dressed like it’s any other day but since it’s probably a Friday you’ll lose the jacket and may even roll your shirt sleeves up in a cavalier act of wild abandonment. Party!

Pros: you don’t have to worry about any of this crap.

Cons: the office Christmas tragic will spend the whole night trying to “jazz” you up with an assorted array of festive tat from the $2 shop. Most of it will be itchy and smell funny.

Step 2: Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise

Now pick one of these (sorry, they’re mandatory):

a) The “fun earrings”/ear infection

Listen: unless you’re some kind of superhuman with Magneto earlobes or something these super adorbs, light-up ear danglers will invariably take your head handles from festive to “festy” in 2 hours or less. But dude, they’re like totally the cutest little Christmas trees – who can resist that!? Nobody, that’s who.

Pros: your lobes will just about burst with holiday spirit!

Cons: ewww, okay, that’s not “holiday spirit”.

b) The “look at my new shoes!” blister

I don’t mean to overexcite you, but this is totally *the* chance to wear those new shoes you bought ages ago. You know, the cool ones you got on sale that was maybe a half size too small but as long as you don’t have to stand up too long they’re totally fine?

Of course, 2020 then basically turned into the year everyone got sent to their room and so you’ve been playing with them like a kid who just got new roller-skates but it’s been raining forever so you just clomp around the floorboards practising how cool you’re finally going to be when the rain lets up.

Well, the time has come to STRUT girlfriend ‘cause Lizzo’s Good as Hell isn’t going to dance to itself.

Pros: you’ll pop a couple of Band-Aids on each heel and won’t even notice the shoes are too small!

Cons: …for, like, five minutes.

c) The “mini Santa hat”

If you’re looking for a festive accessory that says “I’m just so funny!” whilst ominously whispering “but not ‘haha’ funny” then your long search is over! Wear it on a jaunty angle for maximum impact – but beware, it will likely find its way around the party like some sort of possessed Elf on the Shelf as everyone “ironically” tries it on for selfies.

Pros: secretly everyone wants to wear a mini Santa hat – so you’ll enable a whole bunch of closet Christmas tragic’s!

Cons: you’ll look really, really stupid.

d) The “bit of spinach in your teeth that no one mentions all night”

How did… but there wasn’t even any spinach in that one platter of canapés you saw all night?! Oh man, it must have been there since lunch. Great, 2021 is ruined.

Pros: it’s a little snack you can have later!

Cons: in all the photos you’ll look like one of those ads at the bus stop with the blacked-out teeth.

Step 3: General disposition

And finally, pick one of these:

a) The “Kath”

I’ve got one word to say to you: tizzy. You’re the life of the party, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to kick up your heels and consummate all night long. There’s only one problem: your social calendar is up to pussy’s bow… I guess you’re just too damn interesting!

So you’ll just have to make it a quick boogie before you grab your personalised tote and head off to your next impressive invitation toot sweet; I mean if you don’t turn up, it could make or break it. You’re bums on seats – literally.

Pros: no one can hold a candle to you!

Cons: and they better not – your new pumpkin shrug has a High Fire Danger label on it.

b) The “Buddy the Elf

You’re a bundle of wholesome and magical festive cheer; an otherworldly sprite whose only wish is to bring light to the darkest of places. The world needs more of you – especially now. So you do you, boo.

Just don’t try to use your terminal positivity on me or I’ll come at you like a screeching howler monkey.

Pros: you can do that little dance you made up, and everyone will say how great it is because it’s Christmas and everything is awesome!

Cons: everyone will have to watch that little dance you made up.

c) The “I’m staying the bare minimum of time I’m socially obliged to”

Whilst your crusty exterior presents as a big ol’ BAH HUMBUG, paradoxically you’ll also be one of the most genuine people the rest of us will ever meet. That is if we can get past that one time you made us cry over email late one night at the office whilst we stress-ate a family bag of crispy M&Ms at our desk.

Or you know, something less specific.

Pros: you’ll probably be given a fairly wide berth all night because, you know, that making people cry thing… but that’s the way you like it!

Cons: the people you actually talk to may realise you have a heart.

e) The “I’m kicking on”

In the words of the great Kristen Wiig, you’re ready to partaaaaaaaaaaay.

Pros: there’s an open bar!

Cons: you probably won’t remember most of the night. But luckily there will be a lot of photos online. A LOT.

Of course, special mention must go to all those heroes out there who say they’re coming to the party – and may even make specific plans with you about the night and what y’all wearing and OOH let’s go-to karaoke after! – but who actually pike at the last minute with an assorted array of vague excuses. I salute you, my friends.

I salute you.

Anyway, I’ve got to get stuff sorted before my extended family arrive this weekend and I’m really behind on those reports and I’ve already booked leave for that day PLUS the old ball and chain has his Christmas party on the same night AND I didn’t realise that until just now so I’ll have to stay home and look after the LO’ but otherwise I’d be there with bells on.

But, you guys have fun!

#smokebomb

1 By my dog, obvs – she gave me top “barks”!

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