Work attire is a tricky subject. While there are a few general rules of thumb for office dressing, it really depends on where you work. Different environments call for different ensembles. However, I have learned a few things based on my office experience, especially since I moved to Switzerland in a corporate HQ. I will try below to provide you with some general tips on dressing for work.
If you’re new to the working world, I should warn you: Beware of the fashion police otherwise known as “Human Resources” and your fellow co-workers, especially females (believe me – been there, done that!). Wearing the wrong threads has the potential to distort your image as a valued employee and may even prevent you from going up the ladder. If you wear tight skirts, sheer blouses and routinely put your “girl parts” on display at work, your co-workers may have a difficult time taking you (and your wardrobe for that matter) seriously. Therefore, as with all occasions, dress for success–and mean it, especially when you’re on the clock!
Even though all work environments have different rules as to what is and isn’t okay to wear, the following points cover most of the general dos and don’ts of dressing at work:
- Never let your outfit outshine your work. (Yes, creatives and fashionistas, this applies to you as well!)
- Do not wear clothing with big written logos. (No one wants a walking billboard in their office.)
- Avoid all sexy and revealing clothing. Don’t show much cleavage or wear a skirt that skims your butt. Stay away from too short skirts (If you want to wear shorter skirts, or even dress shorts, pair them with opaque tights to temper it). Also, no tank tops unless you have something layered over it to cover your shoulders.
- Do not wear any ripped, torn, or sloppy clothing. This includes anything that can be worn to the gym or the beach (gym shoes and flip-flops etc.).
- Try to dress like your female boss. If you do not have a female boss, emulate the highest-ranking female in your company. This doesn’t mean steal her style. Rather, base your office attire on what she considers appropriate. Is she casual? Always dresses to the nines? Take a cue from the people in positions you aspire to have someday. They don’t say, “dress the part” for no reason.
- Don’t let casual Fridays fool you. Jeans may be okay, but that old tee reserved for lazy Sundays and those comfy flip-flops are just not going to make it… Casual Friday attire should be based on your weekly work wear, but made slightly more relaxed.
- Careful that your underwear does not become outerwear. Ever. This is pretty self-explanatory…
- Always use your best judgment. Consider your work environment and dress accordingly. Anything you can wear to a club should never step foot in an office.
I hope you find these tips helpful!
P.S. These rules apply to interns too! 🙂