In an ideal world, the holidays are a time for getting fat with family & close friends. Sweatpants. Scotch. Rugelach. Repeat.
Sadly, this is not an ideal world. In this world, you have to attend holiday parties and make conversation with near-strangers: your girl’s parents; your former roommate’s bandmates; your vapid co-workers; or worst-case, all of those people at once.
Nothing — not even the open bar — is going to make this suck any less, so you’d better embrace it. That’s the mind-frame with which we curated our ideal holiday party outfit. We went for comfort and class, seasonal colors and American flair.
This get-up projects confidence and distinction. It hints that after Shelly from HR is done telling you about her cat’s goiter for the third time in less than an hour, you’ll still have a witty anecdote up your sleeve for that cute girl in Accounts Receivable.
SHIRT // Archive 1894 Plaid Button-down by J.Crew
To find the century-old plaid for this shirt, the Thomas Mason for J.Crew design team had to root through the British shirtmaker’s fabric vault in Italy. Amongst the 200+ patterns stashed in the cache, they uncovered the 1894: a red-and-light-blue plaid that’s fresh without being immature, and colorful without being overwhelming. Its 100% cotton construction, barrel cuffs, and slim, tailored fit beget the level of craftsmanship that’s kept Thomas Mason in the conversation with Jermyn Street‘s finest shirtmakers. The crimson gives the 1894 seasonal appeal, but because there’s no green in the plaid, it remains viable for the other 11 months of the year.
Thomas Mason Archive for J.Crew // Available at J.Crew, $168 USD
NECKWEAR // Navy Solid Sweater Tie by Ovadia & Sons
A handsome knit tie like this navy wool-cashmere square one from Ovadia & Sons is key to keep your look from skewing unprofessional or goofily festive. The tight knit looks flat from across the room, but at a five feet the texture of the fabric springs out, adding a layer of subtlety to your outfit. And hell — it’s hard to talk shit about the dude wearing a lampshade on his head after one too many cocktails, if that very same fellow somehow managed the tricky task of match a cashmere navy tie to the above shirt’s seafoam blue.
Ovadia & Sons // Available at Ovadia & Sons; $80 USD
PANTS // Khaki John Chino by Saturdays Surf NYC
Prediction: two out of 10 men at every party you attend this holiday season will be wearing some form of novelty pants, be it red plaid, red/green checks, candy cane stripes, toile, etc. Follow-up prediction: zero out of infinity women find this attractive. You don’t need to go crazy from the waist down to have a good time (pause)r, so keep it together with a pair of khaki chinos like the John from Saturdays Surf NYC. Five pockets, 100% cotton twill, slim-fit. That’s your holiday comfort zone. Stick to it.
Saturdays Surf NYC // Available at Saturdays Surf NYC; $118 USD
JACKET// The Ashby Jacket by Barbour
You can’t go wrong rocking a tailored blue blazer to your holiday party, but unless you’re reading this from sunny South Carolina, the weather might not give you that option. If it’s cold as a motherf**ker, you’re going to want something burlier. Barbour‘s Ashby Jacket has you covered. The navy waxed cotton will repel snow and sleet, but the black corduroy-trimmed collar adds a city sensibility to its British country aesthetic. It’s made in the UK. If there’s anyone who knows how to stay dry and stay fly, it’s the British.
Barbour // Available at Club Monaco; $379 USD
FOOTWEAR // Navy Country Brogue Boot by Mark McNairy
For the same reason we said skip the blue blazer, we’re saying skip the dress shoes for the Mark McNairy Country Brogue in navy, a handsome suede boot with detailing as intricate as the finest Christmas baubles. The contrast Ridgeway outsole adds a festive splash of color without making the boot too much of a novelty piece. It also provides more cushion than a traditional leather sole. Between running for more beer, mingling about, and standing at the curb trying to hail a cab, you’re going to be on your feet a lot this holiday season. May as well be comfortable.
Mark McNairy // Available at Park & Bond; $270 USD
WATCH // BN0032 Stainless Steel Watch by Braun x Dieter Rams
Whether you’ve got a Rolex at home, or just aspire to one day, your office party isn’t the place to flash it. Your boss might get the impression that you’re doing so well, he can scale back on your bonus a bit. And that would just be the f**king worst. Instead, go for this stainless-steel mesh-band timepiece from Braun, designed in conjunction with the legendary Dieter Rams. Silver-on-silver with a white face, the only color this piece brings is a red fleck on the date meter, and a bold yellow second hand. Demonstrate your tasteful approach to accessories with the Braun watch.
Braun x Dieter Rams // Available at Amazon; $200 USD
GLOVES // Burgundy Drivers by Mark Jacobs
Like snowboarding or making pizza, the skill required in the manufacture of a mediocre pair of gloves is exponentially lesser than that required to make a truly elegant pair of gloves. It’s easy to do poorly, hard to do well. Marc Jacobs did it well on its burgundy leather driving glove. It’s suede thumb and tophand furnish a beautiful textural contrast to the smooth sleeve of your jacket, and the cashmere lining keeps hands warm without making them sweaty. We especially love the auto-inspired button closure on this pair — far less cumbersome than more-common elastic.
Marc Jacobs // Available at Park & Bond; $179 USD
J.Crew // Available at J.Crew; $18.50 USD