Frock Horror – It’s The Corporate Hospitality Festive Party Season

If you have a job like I had, working in marketing and PR, this time of year usually sees an increase in the number of events, do’s, cocktail parties and office parties that you are invited to.

It’s difficult enough finding ‘the’ dress to wear to a private function but what do you do when you’re strapped for cash and have to appear in your finery several times before Santa’s even got into his sleigh?

It’s tempting to stick to the tried and tested LBD but you don’t always want to blend in, do you?

Equally, in some professions, it’s not acceptable to have too much on show (law for example) if you want to be taken seriously.

So, not only do you need a capsule working wardrobe, it makes sense to have a working ‘party’ wardrobe as well.

A couple of well-cut dresses which use shimmering or soft fabrics that drape well would work well for lunches or early evening functions.

This dress in stretch velvet with a pleated skirt in aubergine, for example, from Esprit, ticks all the boxes with its beautiful colour, figure-hugging top and pleated skirt.

Comfortable to wear it has the added bonus of not being too restricting if you’re sitting down for a 3-course meal with all the trimmings.  There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable for hours whilst trying to stay awake during the senior partner’s deeply unfunny speech.

Or you could try one of these

House of Fraser Issa Jasmine Embellished Batwing Dress

The batwing shape and softly draped material are very forgiving in mince pie season!

Marks & Spencer Sparkly Long Sleeve Shift Dress

This is a piece you could wear year after year – or at least I would!

JD Williams Pewter Ruched Sequin Dress

This one has just the right amount of sparkle without going over the top.

And, of course, you’ll need a bag big enough for essentials such as keys, lippie and cash but also your mobile – tricky if you have a plus-size phone like I do.  Then there’s the problem of rain and the nightmare of being unable to walk in high heels.

I have often found myself taking a spare bag with flat shoes, an umbrella and notes (speaker notes, slide print outs, brochures) and hiding it whilst going into dinner with just a clutch bag!  Not ideal.

The other challenge, of course, is what to wear on top of your party finery.  Many women forego coats altogether if they are going clubbing but that doesn’t seem quite right when you’re attending a corporate ‘do, does it?

You want something that is going to keep you dry but isn’t so heavy that you swelter and your make-up melts.

You don’t want too pricey a coat either at things often tend to ‘wander’ at corporate functions or get lost under piles of other coats in unmanned cloakrooms.

Whatever you do, make sure you buy your festive dresses as soon as possible because they tend to vanish as soon as they appear – particularly with key pieces from brands like M&S, Hobbs or Karen Millen.

My advice would be to buy ‘safe’ for business club do’s and corporate drinks but splash out on something with extra glamour for the office ‘do’ itself.

Whatever you buy, make sure it’s comfortable to wear, dry cleanable and, hopefully, won’t be worn by numerous other party guests.

The best way around this is to be quirky with your choice of accessories – an unusual clutch, brooch or statement earrings for example or pair a plain dress with some patterned or sparkly stockings and statement heels or sandals.

Make the most of feeling glamorous.  With a bit of careful budgeting, you can use the money you save to treat yourself to a professional updo or make-up session, perhaps a massage before the big event or a Mani / Pedi.  There’s nothing worse than trying to do your nails last minute while you are waiting for a taxi!

Above all, make sure you keep an eye on your personal safety and don’t drink too much.  Declaring your love for your manager whilst singing “I did it my way” will make the evening memorable but it’s probably better to be remembered for how chic and glamorous you looked.

Have fun!


  1. Susie Wilkinson
    14 November, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    I’m so pleased I no longer have a job where I have to attend functions, I really don’t like dressing up, I don’t miss it one bit, I look at women wearing dresses and think how lovely they look, then look at me, and I just see a plethora of lumps and bumps

  2. Gerri Tennant
    5 November, 2017 / 1:11 pm

    This dress is so gorgeous and so easy to accessorise to give different looks. At £75 it would be a great investment. I have just ordered two dresses for Christmas an New Year before I read you site so may have to leave it a little while before I show it to hubby!

  3. 28 October, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    oh I LOVE the first dress, it’s just gorgeous and perfect for the party season! x

  4. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    28 October, 2017 / 9:53 am

    I love getting glammed up for the party season, but there is just soooo much choice! You’ve picked some stunning dresses here 🙂

  5. 28 October, 2017 / 1:41 am

    Haha this made me chuckle…literally just been online shopping for my party wears. Stressful…just hope they fit x

  6. Afshan Nasim
    27 October, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    I do like the party season and being able to dress up. I do like the dress stretch velvet dress from Espirit, oh Gosh, I haven’t heard that name in a while. The dress is perfect for this time of year because it’s plummy and very Autumnal.

  7. Lilinha
    26 October, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    I can’t believe the party season is nearly here. I have no idea what I will be hearing as I will be heavily pregnant by then!

    • linda
      26 October, 2017 / 9:35 pm

      Congratulations Lilinha – will you be having a Spring baby? x

  8. 26 October, 2017 / 7:51 pm

    Oh gosh here comes the party season! I am awful at picking dresses, they normally cling in all the wrong places. These however look like great choices, I may just have to give in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!