Dressing appropriately for the office can be a battle if you don’t know what you’re doing. While a professional outfit is not a substitute for a killer work ethic, the right look can set you apart from other employees and boost your confidence.
Universal dress rules can’t be set in stone because all work environments have different policies regarding what is and is not okay to wear. And let’s face it, work is hard enough without feeling uncomfortable or worrying about what you’re wearing. For those of you who are feeling overwhelmed, these tips should guide you as you shop for office-friendly outfits for the typical workplace.
1. Do not wear distracting outfits and let your wardrobe sidetrack others away from your performance. You want your coworkers talking about your awesome presentation, not your sequined shirt.
2. Leave the gaudy accessories at home. Wear simple and chic jewelry.
3. Don’t dress in sexy or revealing clothing. You want to be taken seriously and known for your brains, not for having the shortest skirt in the office. Short skirts, too tight skirts/dresses, and tank tops should be reserved for the weekend.
4. Have a unique personal style even if you are in a conservative work environment. Don’t be afraid to let your personality out! Try a scarf, jewelry, a watch, stylish shoes or a belt to personalize your outfits.
5. Don’t let casual Friday’s make a fool out of you. Refuse your impulse to roll out of bed and head straight to the office. Jeans are ok but those old t-shirts and neon flip-flops are not going to cut it. I love dark jeans with blazers and ballet flats.
6. Neon colors like lime green should not rear their bright heads in an office. Keep it neutral with black and brown shades, navy, khaki, red and white. Also, branch out and buy some greens, yellows, pinks and oranges for the fall to mix and match with your neutrals.
7. Don’t wear uncomfortable high heels. Heels taller than four inches should be shelved during work hours. Go for comfort rather than fashion. Peep toe flats and low wedges are great options. If you are, comfortable in your shoes you will be more confident and able to present yourself as your best.
8. Wear scuff-free shoes. Take them in for a shine at your dry cleaners every once in a while. Who doesn’t love a shiny shoe?
9. Keep your hair and makeup simple and neat. In an office setting less is definitely more. Apply the same logic to perfume and fragrant hair products. The last thing you want to do is leave an invisible odor trail around your desk.
10. A key piece of clothing that belongs in any work wardrobe is a blazer. Throw it over your favorite dress or a great top and you are out the door.
Extra tip! Make sure that you buy clothing that is easy to put on in the morning. Know before you buy whether the clothes will require ironing or dry cleaner services. Owning low-maintenance clothing will be helpful on those mornings when you want to push snooze on the alarm clock.
For ideas on popular places to shop check out my list of the most popular clothing store options.