Women pay almost £300 in total to attend their work Christmas parties, research suggests.
A survey by fashion brand Oasis found that it costs British women about £282 to attend their work Christmas party when factoring in the cost of travel, accommodation and money spent on hair, makeup and outfit.
Over a working lifetime of parties – from the age of 18 to 65 – that equates to a whopping £13,244.
Almost all – an overwhelming 99% – those surveyed said they buy a new outfit for the work Christmas party every year, with the average woman spending £140 on the full outfit and accessories.
Nine in 10 (92%) women also pay to get their hair and makeup done for the night, costing a further £54, amounting to a total of £194 spent to look Christmas party-ready.
Coordinating a fresh party look takes serious planning. A fifth (18%) of women already start looking at what they want to wear in early autumn, with half (48%) due to begin planning in November. Just 8% of women leave it to the last week to plan their outfit.
Wearing a new outfit is a major concern for many. One respondent said: “I’ve been working at my company now for three years and I’ve never shown up to a work party wearing something old.
“Everything is all over social media and I don’t want to be snapped wearing the same thing twice.
“I start planning my outfit as soon as summer is over and shops begin releasing party dresses. I want to make sure I look amazing and finding the perfect dress takes time – I would never wait until last minute in case I didn’t find something I liked.”
It’s not just money that is spent on looking good for the night – nearly one in 10 (8%) women spend over three hours on their hair and makeup for the evening.
A third (35%) get ready in two to three hours, while almost a half (48%) spend between one and two hours on their makeup and hair for the night.
With so much time and effort going towards the office party outfit, Oasis also polled customers to find out their ideal Christmas party dress code. Over half (55%) said they preferred a cocktail party for Christmas, with just 14% hoping for a black-tie Christmas party.
Sarah Ferguson, senior buyer at Oasis, said: “Women attending a black-tie party really need to be looking at dresses that are floor length and formal. For cocktail parties, it’s knee length or above.
“Cocktail dresses can be a more popular option as they feel a little more modern and the dresses can be re-worn for less formal events.
“That said, when you find the perfect black-tie dress, you will want to wear it again and again – nothing says red carpet more than a floor length gown.”
The survey also asked women what they think makes a good office Christmas party. Entertainment (76%), a sit-down meal (67%) and a free bar (54%) were the most common answers.
However, one in five said free transport is essential, which comes as no surprise as women spend an about £28 on transport or £61 on accommodation for the night.
Just 6% of those surveyed think speeches are an essential component.