Christmas can be a minefield of social faux pas and fashion disasters. There are the office parties, the family reunions and all those 'mulled wine evenings' (sophisticated piss-ups) that suddenly fill up your diary from early December and don't stop until mid-January!
For most men, the idea of choosing multiple Christmas party outfits is reason enough to just stay indoors until the next year clocks in. But with just a little bit of prep, you can make sure you are ready for anything that the festive season has in store for you!
Read on to figure out the only five outfits you need to survive this Christmas...
1. What to wear to... the office XMAS party
This is one of the toughest dress-codes of the year, because no matter what you wear, you will be judged on it – and by your colleagues, no less. Too formal and you're the stuffy office drone who can't cut loose; but add a Christmas jumper and you're trying too hard to be 'the zany one'.
Dress as though you're going on a first date – something smart but casual that your co-workers haven't seen you wear before. That might be a new suit (no tie), or a cashmere jumper and trousers - whatever looks good on you.
2. What to wear to... aN XMAS reunion with your old school/uni mates
These are the old friends who you catch up with once, maybe twice a year. You might not need to impress them with your fashion nous, but you definitely don't want to wear something that gives them piss-take fodder for another year...
Suits, novelty jumpers and 'quirky' ensembles should be avoided. Instead, keep it casual and comfortable with a checked shirt, chinos and work boots.
3. What to wear to... Christmas with the in-laws
The dress code here very much depends on how much time you've spent with your better half's family. If it's the first meeting, dress to impress. A suit may be taking it a bit far, but you want to look like you're making an effort, so smart, shiny shoes and pressed trousers are a must.
If you know your in-laws pretty well, take their lead when it comes to festive style. Do they spend Christmas Day in loungewear? Pack an extra set of pyjamas or tracksuit bottoms. Are they a family who co-ordinate their Christmas colours? Guess what, so do you now.
4. What to wear to... a smart soiree
There comes a certain time in every man's life when he is invited to a posh party by someone he can't say no to. There is only one thing to wear to this sort of event – a suit.
This is a great time to invest in a smart suit which you can keep for social occasions. Look for something fitted (ideally tailored) and buy the best quality fabric you can afford – wool-mix suits are particularly good for winter.
5. What to wear to... a family CHRISTMAS gathering
Brace yourself for this one, because you're not going to like it – you're going to have to wear that itchy jumper your Aunt Cathy knitted for you last year. The rule for Christmas family gatherings is that you are duty-bound to wear any items of clothing that have been given to you by them at any point over the past 12 months.
Beyond that, it's down to you. Survive itchy jumpers by layering them over a long-sleeved T-shirt made from natural fibres (cotton is always a winner), and pair with slouchy tracksuit bottoms or your favourite pair of old jeans – after all, if you can't veg out with your family at Christmas, when can you?