Fashion Whip: What To Wear To Your Holiday Party (At The White House Or Otherwise!)

Fashion Whip is a political style column in the Huffington Post by Lauren A. Rothman, inspired by Lauren’s experience as the founder of Styleauteur, a style and fashion consulting firm.

WASHINGTON – This is the time of year when holiday parties abound and festive dress codes become the norm. Be it an office party, client soiree, or an invite to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, be prepared to dress to impress!

Of course, an invite to The White House during the holidays is one of the most coveted of the season. And when one of these land in your mailbox, most people run frantically to their closets asking, “what will I wear?!”

Well, here’s your guide on what to wear to The White House this holiday season:

1. Identify the time of day for your event. An intimate Sunday afternoon in the East Room dictates a different dress code than tonight’s celebrity studded Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Think sparkly top paired with a pencil skirt and fun heels vs. jeans, down coat, earmuffs, and hat. Remember, you may get to take home a souvenir photo standing next to POTUS and First Lady Michelle, so make your outfit a memorable one.

2. Define your role at The White House. Yes, you are a partygoer, but are you also a donor, military official, member of the press, member of Congress, White House staffer, close friend of the First Family (or spouse of any of the above)? Don your “uniform” and look the part. Leave the slouchy reporter’s corduroy blazer with worn elbow patches at home and buy something new! Schedule a blowout if need be and add lipstick to that tired pout. A smile is always your best accessory.

3. Be “conservatively stylish.” Imagine dressing for that first meeting with your in-laws – creating a solid first impression can be your Christmas miracle! Don’t make a political statement with your ensemble. Save the ugly holiday sweater for Christmas morning and the super short hemlines for the Matzo Ball.

Extra tips for gents: add a sport coat to any ensemble or wear a suit if the occasion is dressy enough. Ladies, take a cue from our uber stylish First Lady and know you can’t go wrong with a party frock – a great wrap dress, day-to-night sheath, or a full skirt are perfect for the holidays. Cinch your waist with a belt for instant style and add a statement necklace for a bit of bling. Choose your purse carefully – you will probably be shaking a lot of hands!

Happy holiday party season!