What to Wear to a Corporate Event - Daytime Apparel vs. Evening Wear

    You just received your invitation to your next company event and you’re already wondering how to dress for the occasion. After all, the CEO, big-wig clients and various other VIPs will be there and you want to make sure you look your best.

    With guidelines ranging from “formal attire” to “smart casual” and everything in between, it can be a daunting task to pick an outfit suitable for your corporate event. Everything from the time of day to the event venue and the guest list can influence the type of attire to wear.

    Daytime Apparel: If the party is during the day, a fuss-free option for females is a classy cocktail dress. While you want to step it up a notch from the everyday office wear, it’s imperative that you keep it classy and don’t wear anything too revealing. Go for a solid color and keep the dress to an appropriate length for work. The key to looking fabulous is accessorizing with jewelry that is uniquely you.

    For men, khakis or black slacks with a polo or cotton button down shirt is a sharp option. The invitation will usually say whether you should wear a tie or not. If the event is outdoors in the winter, men should bring a suit jacket to stay warm. The most important thing is to make sure you are comfortable and feel like yourself so that you can successfully network with your business colleagues.

    Nighttime Apparel: Many corporate events are held in the evening in which case more formal attire may be required. Definitely refer to the invitation for any guidelines on whether it is black tie optional or required.

    When making your wardrobe decision, first consider where the corporate event is being held. If it’s at a luxurious event space in Los Angeles in the springtime, sophisticated gowns would be appropriate for women. Also, women should bring a light sweater or shawl to cover bare shoulders and keep warm. It’s best to avoid anything too glittery or distracting. After all, this is a work event and while you are there to network and do business, you want people to remember you for your character and work ethic rather than the dress you wore last night. The same rule applies for men – keep your tuxedo or suit classic and simple in style. When in doubt, ask a fashion-savvy colleague or friend to check out your outfit before the event.

    What did you wear to the last corporate event you attended? How were other guests dressed? Let us know by leaving a comment below, on Facebook or Twitter.