I recently got my first job (internship) as an engineer and it is my first time that I am going to participate in a Christmas party where all of my officemates and my boss are there.

I wanted to dress up and look conservative a little bit. I wanted to wear a little black dress like this:


Do you think this dress is appropriate to wear for an office Christmas party? Please consider that I am a student and my job is like an internship and the way that I dress might affect my future career.

EDITED: hey guys based on your suggestions, I decided to not to buy that dress. I have this dress in my wardrobe, which is red. The length is knee length. Will you wear a red dress like this for a company party?


  • 11
    Tag the country code. In Singapore, yes everyone comes like this everyday. On Saudi, god no. :) Nov 26, 2019 at 4:22
  • 6
    In conservative circles the skirt typically is long enough to cover the knees. Nov 26, 2019 at 12:57
  • 3
    How tall are you? I often will buy a dress that online may look like it's very high on the though, but due to my little legs, it's actually knee-length. (In reverse, I buy capris to wear as "normal" pants. ) A longer plain black dress (with pockets!) is at Svaha (google it). I bought a green one from them for holiday events, a maroon one for events at a place where that's one of the official colors, and many geeky-patterned ones for normal workwear. Nov 26, 2019 at 14:48
  • 3
    "Christmas party" doesn't really tell you anything about the dress code, and judging individual dresses is way too narrow scope for a question. We may be able to give general advice on appropriate wear for formal, semi-formal, informal or casual work events in any given country, although even that may be a bit too subjective and company-dependent. Nov 26, 2019 at 15:06
  • 1
    @April--Un-SlanderMonica--+1 for recommending dress with pockets! :D Nov 26, 2019 at 15:30

3 Answers 3


Ask your boss - your impression on him is important for your well being in the company.

Ask your colleagues - maybe they have some "plans" they did not share with you yet. Also, they might have the experience of the previous years.

Ask the organizers for advice: they might have decided for a dress code.

At the end, analyze the info and make a decision based on that.

That is what I always do when I am invited somewhere. I do not want to show up dressed Hawaii style when everybody wears tuxes. Or the other way around.

I wanted to dress up and look conservative a little bit.

The dress you presented in the picture is acceptable for "western" cultures, especially for parties. But I would definitely not consider that conservative. It is actually at the edge of being provocative, while still being decent.

A very interesting input from @MartinVéronneau in the comments: maybe you are able to see some pictures from previous events, to have a better idea what is "expected".

  • 1
    actually I asked my coworker, the one who throws this party. She simply mentioned that you should dressed up and should not wear jeans. She told people usually dress up for that party. My coworkers usually wear business casual at work. But I do not have any clue, what does dress up mean..
    – nikki
    Nov 26, 2019 at 6:52
  • 3
    Quick thought: have some extra clothes readily available, and at the location switch them as needed. I saw many times that girls do that - not always, of course - I mean, I saw the results, not the "switching" process. I assume you are a girl, considering that we discuss about a dress. :)
    – virolino
    Nov 26, 2019 at 7:03
  • 13
    Do you have access to pictures taken from last year's party? That could be very helpful! Nov 26, 2019 at 14:28
  • 8
    @virolino Having an engineering internship makes the OP more likely to be a woman than a girl. Nov 26, 2019 at 14:41
  • 6
    @RyanfaeScotland Tagging the question with women makes the OP more likely to be a woman than a man. (I think that Patricia's point was "don't talk down at OP by calling her "girl" - you wouldn't call the male interns "boys".") Nov 26, 2019 at 15:27

Office culture varies widely enough that there's no such thing as a universal answer you can get from the internet.

To get a good answer to this sort of question, you really need to talk to a coworker or two about what they normally wear and how formal the event is.

  • 7
    In addition you might ask if there are images from last year's party. There is often a mail or forum post sharing these that might still be available. This would allow the asker to judge for themselves where their clothing choice fits in the range being worn
    – Eric Nolan
    Nov 26, 2019 at 11:36
  • Pictures are a good idea. One person's "casual" is another person's "night club".
    – FreeMan
    Nov 26, 2019 at 17:54
  • I do not have access to pictures.
    – nikki
    Nov 27, 2019 at 6:30

The other answers already said to talk to your coworkers. If you have female colleagues around your age you can ask them what they usually wear to such events to get some insights. Some of my colleagues and I have a private groupchat where we send each other photos of different clothing options before special company events. Depending on your colleagues and company culture you could suggest something like this.

Another thing to consider is how you want to present yourself in the workplace. Do you feel comfortable in short clothing? The dress you linked looks rather short and like your behind could be showing during certain moves. I would suggest wearing it with dark (not see through) stockings or resort to something a bit longer. I know, this is full of stereotypes, but I always ask myself if someone passing by would think I am here for the looks, or because I am intelligent.

  • The dress you linked looks rather short and like your behind could be showing during certain moves. => This was my first thought. The dress is conservative enough for standing, but looks like it may be accident prone. In any company event, it's best to aim for more conservative than usual; nobody wants to be remembered by their colleagues as the person who flashed their underwear. And for the same reasons, of course, be careful about your drinks. Nov 26, 2019 at 14:20

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