General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Office Christmas party -- man's attire

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jmarvellous:
My office is business (not business casual) dress on a daily basis, ties are the norm and suits are common on the 'upper floors' and slightly less common elsewhere. We're having our annual party next week after work (frankly, too soon after work -- I'm going to struggle to drive home, change and drive back -- I'm guessing many will just wear what they wore to work, but I have to go home anyway to pick up my boyfriend). Invitation says, "cocktail attire," and I know I'll have to track down a good dress this weekend.

My question is about my boyfriend. He owns one suit, which is frankly quite dated and a bit too big for his slender frame. He cannot buy a new suit at this time. He does have a very nice, fitted dress shirt, matching tie and good slacks, and somewhat clunky but nice shoes. It's fine that he doesn't have many dress-up clothes most of the time because his office is exceptionally casual.

He wants to skip the suit for the party, and while I do think he looks nicer in the less formal outfit, I worry that it'll be too informal. What do you think?

Neither of us has been to this sort of party before.

NyaChan:
Personally, I think he'd be okay, but you know the tone of your office better than I do.  I imagine people might take off their jackets anyways & really, how are they to know where he is coming from or if he had time to change?  If the suit is actually dated and doesn't fit well, it is going to stand out more than a nice outfit that is a shade less formal than others' clothing.  If he does his hair nice, wears a watch or whatever male dress up accessories he might normally wear, I think he will fit the cocktail attire standard.

Outdoor Girl:
I agree that he should skip the suit.  I think it would look worse to be in something ill-fitting than something potentially less casual than the others.  And by the end of the evening, if it is like any Christmas party I've been to, most of the men won't be wearing their suit jackets, anyway.   :)

If he can afford to and would wear it again, it might be worth investing in a blazer like jacket to dress up a little.

MrTango:
If I were in his position, I'd wear the clothes that fit well.

Question for the OP: You say the suit is too big for him.  Is it that it once fit him and he has since lost weight, or that the suit never fit him well?

If it once was a good fit and he's just lost weight, he might still be able to wear the suit jacket as if it were a blazer.

jmarvellous:
I'm not sure why it might make a difference, but he has been basically the same size his whole adult life. I think he bought the suit off the rack in the late '90s, when oversized/generous cuts were more in. It's also  pretty fuzzy/wooly, and our highs are in the 70s-80s this week.

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