Tips for Navigating the Festive Season

As end of year festivities approach, workplace event organisers hit overdrive arranging celebrations of every size and style to raise a toast to the year that’s been. There’ll be BBQs, boat parties, garden parties, adventures and activities through to sit-down dinners, cocktail parties and balls. So we thought we’d share our best tips for how to navigate work party festive fun.

Party etiquette

While a knees up is on the cards, the office code of conduct is probably relevant for work parties. RSVPing, turning up on time, making the effort to chat, no inappropriate behaviour and not overindulging in alcohol still applies. Not to say that your PG stand up comedy routine or beatbox duo with Gary is not welcome, just remember to respect the effort of the party planners, and feel the vibe before you take the literal or figurative stage.

Welcome diversity

The end of year celebration is an opportunity to welcome diversity into the workplace, which varies more or less depending on your team size. While end of year festivities may mean Christmas for some people, it may mean something different to others. This is why the phrase “Happy Holidays” is used as an inclusive greeting, which is also appropriate for multicultural New Zealand.

What to wear

You’ll know based on your workplace, the standard of dress expected, which is the starting point for assessing your attire for end of year functions. Throw in variances of time of day, location, activities, themes and formality and either this becomes either clear as day ...or clear as mud. To make it easier, we’ve broken down the typical ways us Kiwis like to toast with colleagues at the end of the year.

During the day

Festivities held during the day are the epitome of Kiwi smart casual. We excel at this! The rule of thumb is if it’s taking place during office hours then ‘Casual Friday’ work attire is ideal. If it’s occupying off-the-clock weekend hours, then adding a degree of personal flair is welcome.

Think about what you’re going to do… is it a pub lunch, a boat on the harbour, or are you ziplining in Waiheke followed by a winery lunch and will need a change of clothes? Read the instructions and assess from there. Short-sleeved shirts or a tee paired with chinos or shorts, slides, possibly jandals, loafers or smart sneakers are acceptable. Linen is also a great go-to for smart casual day wear.

Cocktail parties and semi formal dinners

Dressing up is non-negotiable but there are plenty of ways to express your personality. For the gentlemen, it’s a variation of the suit with or without tie. Give the jeans a night off and don a long sleeved shirt tucked into chinos and add a belt. Otherwise get daring with a jacket and bold patterned shirt combo. Pair with Oxfords, brogues or loafers. Finally, add a pocket square for a pop of colour.

Themed celebrations

When party goers embrace a dress up theme wholeheartedly it makes for hilarious conversation starters with people at every level of an organisation. When the CFO is dressed as a 1920s gangster, barriers fly out the window!

The secret to ingenious costumes is planning as soon as the party date hits the calendar. Google search, use your imagination and ask around to create a costume that is not cheap and destined for landfill, but something creatively inspired and memorable for the right reasons. Remember too, this is a work party not a uni pub crawl, so avoid cultural appropriation, outfits that may be deemed insensitive or offensive, and inappropriate political statements.


Some workplaces see the year out in style with a ball. There’s no wriggle room for attire; this is dress to impress. A ball is the most formal of occasions. Some people will be comfortable wearing a full tux, others will be happier with complementary separates. Unless the event is explicitly ‘Black Tie’ a suit needn’t be black; it can be patterned, velvet or textured and matched with either a classic or contemporary shirt and cufflinks. Formal Oxford shoes are the finishing touch.

It’s time to celebrate the end of 2019. Whatever parties you attend, when you’re confident and comfortable in your carefully chosen ensemble, you’ll be ready to see the year out with a bang.

Shop our Festive Edit:

Metropolis Print  available in Slim Fit, Classic and Super Slim.
Paradise Print available in Slim Fit, Classic and Super Slim.
Lindberg Check available in Slim Fit and Classic.
Mackelvie Check Pink available in Slim Fit and Classic.
Salo Print available in Slim Fit, Classic and Super Slim.