Whether we like it or not, our appearance says a lot about us. This is especially true in professional settings since our appearance sends a message to co-workers, managers and customers.
If we want to demonstrate that we are confident, competent and ready for work, we need to dress that way. Different work environments call for different styles of dress.
If you’re in a creative industry you may be able to get away with more flamboyance and edge than the average office worker.
But if your office is pretty traditional, you need to stay in line while showing off some style.
Five Dos and Don’ts of Office Fashion
1. Don’t show too much skin. You don’t have to dress matronly or boring but you shouldn’t look like you’re going to the club.
Do pick stylish pieces but ensure that necklines and hems are modest and clothes are tailored and fitted rather than tight.
2. Don’t wear ill-fitting or stained clothing. Nothing says unprofessional and unprepared for work like sloppy dressing.
Do buy quality clothing that fits well. Shop at stores that offer free alterations or find a good tailor if your sewing skills aren’t up to scratch. Make sure that hems and sleeves hit where they’re supposed to.
3. Don’t over accessorise. Chandelier earrings will probably be distracting when you’re giving a presentation. The clang of bangles is almost guaranteed to annoy co-workers and huge cocktail rings can get in the way of your duties.
Do opt for simple, tasteful classic pieces. Small silver or gold bobs, diamond studs and pearl necklaces are safe options.
4. Don’t wear excessive labels. It’s great if your job allows you to afford high end luxury items but try not to flaunt obvious brand names and logos on a daily basis. On the other hand, don’t carry clear knockoffs either.
Do buy high quality, classic staples. The shape and quality of the item will speak for itself without you having to announce it. If you’re on a budget, buy simple no-name pieces.
5. Don’t wear sky-high strappy shoes, flip flops or any other footwear more suited to weekends or after hours.
Do try to find pumps or peep toe shoes in a comfortable height with interesting textures and colours.
Do you find it easy to show off your style while at work? Let us know how you strike a balance in the comments.
*This post was originally published on October 13, 2013 and updated on June 22, 2018.*