Work parties are always tricky dress-code wise. This post provides tips how to create an office appropriate Halloween look while avoiding to violate the work-dress, professional expectation, and safety codes.
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Office Halloween Party: The Fun Ends with the Outfit
While weird food for the Halloween potluck may be appreciated, weird costumes are not. It is still the office. Therefore, the Halloween fun ends with the outfit. With this being said:
Stylist’s advice: If your Halloween costume works for a night of Halloween bar hopping, it’s not for the office. Period.
How to Avoid to Go over Board with Your Costume
Halloween office parties like work picnics, work BBQs or looks for the work holiday party are a style challenge. While the latter three events are typically after end of business, office Halloween parties are often not real parties, but the boss’ permission for the employees to wear a costume and to chat a bit longer than usual at the water fountain or in the breakroom.
Consequently, there is no reason to buy a costume. Most likely there will be a Halloween office party next year, and your colleagues will remember your purchased costume from the year before. Therefore, shop your closet for a Halloween outfit instead. Just pair pieces that together look costumery.
Keep Work Safety in Mind when Picking Your Costume
Thus, when picking your costume, you do not only have to keep the work dress code in mind, but also work place safety. Any long fringes on sleeves, for instance, could tangle up in the copy machine. A long maxi dress with tail would be a tripping risk for an employee who has to climb ladders, use the elevator or stairs frequently. Therefore, keep common sense when picking your costume and put yours and others safety first.
When you are having contact with customers/clients keep in mind that they might not expect you to wear a costume. Especially, when the work Halloween party is not on October 31. For instance, when you are a car dealer wearing a dance hall girl costume wouldn’t be work appropriate.
Apply common sense. For instance, a Frankenstein head mask that cover your face is a No-No. Most people can’t recognize a person by their motion. There is nothing more scary than to talk to someone who you don’t know who it is.
Be Aware of the Work Dress Code
Stay within the work dress code with respect to skin exposure. Avoid offensive, off-color, political, or racist costumes. Also don’t wear anything too body conscious.
Stylist’s tip: What ever great idea you have, ask yourself whether this costume could jeopardize your career. If so, skip it. Save the idea for a private party with your close friends.
Safe options for work appropriate Halloween outfit ideas are dressing as a
- Street style blogger. More on dressing like a street style blogger.
- Your favorite fashion or style blogger, actress, female sports woman, celebrity, … .
- German coffeehouse waitress in a black A-line skirt, white shirt and short lace apron,
- French artist in jeans, a white paint splashed shirt and a black beret,
- Marlene Dietrich in tuxedo shirt and suit,
- Holly Golightly in a little black dress with lots of jewelry, up-do and hair jewelry. However, ensure that your arm coverage stays within the rules of the work dress code.
- A retro dress styled like it was styled at the time of its prime. For instance, a 1950s style skirt with a long sleeve turtleneck and pearl embellished cardigan works.
- Try to dress like in the 1960s. Take Mad Men office outfits as styling inspiration.
- Another profession like, for instance, a firefighter, police officer, miner, civil engineer, etc.
- Boat captain or sailor. A striped shirt, white pants and boats shoes are work appropriate at most offices as Casual Friday outfits. Therefore, just adding a fisherman’s or sailor’s hat does the trick. The same recipe works with military inspired clothes. More on wearing military inspired clothes.
- Amelia Earhart: Skirt, aviator jacket, sturdy shoes, aviator hat optional.
- Do you have a colleague/bff who has your size, but a totally different style? Why not swapping clothes for that day?
- Most of us have a primary and secondary style plus a number of random pieces that overlap with other styles. Riot your closet for pieces that are neither your primary nor secondary style. Combine them to create a totally different style.
- Dress as an animal. For instance, an outfit with zebra or leopard print all over. Add an ear head band.
- Dress as usual, but put in Spooky Eyes in a different color than your own. Enjoy the fun that most people have a difficult time to nail it.
- Or wear a DIY emoticon painted T-shirt.
- What about wearing a tulle skirt?
- Get a Tira and wear an evening gown at day like a Princess.
Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation with my evergreen style recipe book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.
Final Touches of a Work Appropriate Halloween Look
Now that you have picked your costume, think about what type of makeup would enhance the character or vibe of your outfit. A German waitress or Amelia Earhart, for instance, would need a natural, minimal makeup. When you dress like you fav blogger or Princess, copy her makeup style. Yes, Halloween, it’s allowed to be a copy-cat! See these tips for Halloween makeup removal.
Photos: G. Kramm
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