If you are out of style, you could be out of touch with what’s trending in society. If you look like you are out of touch, you could be passed over for that promotion. At the same turn if you are wearing every cutting edge fashions fresh from the catwalk, you could stand out too much at the office making you look like you are trying too hard, or worse that you don’t need a promotion. There needs to be a balance for office wear. What’s OK to wear to work, and what doesn’t cut it?
We’ve provided a simple guide on things to include for the typical workweek, as well as a few pieces to keep for the weekend.
Top 5 Things Not to Wear to Work
Don’t wear capes – Ever the dramatic piece, a cape allows you to swoop in while staying warm. Swooping isn’t for working, and presents an over-dramatic flair. Keep the capes at home.
Avoid plunging necklines – While seemingly obvious, many women forget that brains rule the day in the office…not exposed cleavage. Necklines should be demure and professional. It may seem like the way to get ahead, but often it can spell demise for your position. Be known for your accomplishments not your neckline.
Don’t wear leggings and tunics – Let’s face it, leggings and tunics are comfortable. They aren’t exactly sweats, they are form fitting, and with a blousy tunic it almost feels like a cozy blanket hugging your body. Keep away from leggings at work! You aren’t there to lounge around; you are there to get work done and look professional. Keep the lounge clothes for the evening.
Stay away from hats – Even if you are having a bad hair day, this isn’t a good option. Hats don’t add to a fashion forward look, rather it can appear like you are trying too hard. Baseball caps, cute fedoras, they all gotta’ go.
Go light on the perfume – Not only can you offend your colleagues sense of smell with your perfume, some may be allergic. Keep the heady scents for nights on the town, and spritz a light (very light) body mist instead.
Bonus Tip: Keep the flip flops for the beach. Closed toe pumps, peep toe kitten heels, and professional looking flats should be your mainstays. Flip flops are never appropriate, even in the most casual of office wear code.
Enough of what looks bad, how can you look your best? It may seem boring, but conservative clothing should always be your main theme. That’s not to say you can’t dress up your outfits with a bit of color and some bold accessories, but you will want to steer away from wild trends (Katy Perry should not be a role model here) if you are trying to get ahead at work.
Tailored suits and separates – Tailored is the key word in work wear. When dressing conservatively, all your clothing needs to fit you well. Too tight or too loose clothing will make you look dowdy and unkempt.
Blouses – Crisp white shirts are the obvious classic, but you can’t wear that every day. Pair bold hues with a dark suit, such as navy blue, deep red, or royal purple for a rich pop of color. Choose light fabrics such as chiffon or silk for summer. Avoid sleeveless tops.
Blazers – Some office dress codes require the full suit to wear to client meetings, but how about those endless hours in between? A cashmere blazer in a neutral tone such as black, nude, or navy can keep you warm and comfortable when you jacket is just too much for answering emails.
Jackets – Did we say tailored? Don’t get a hand-me down or a one-size-fits-all suit. Find a few jackets, in the classic colors (nude, navy, grey, black) and use this to pair with brightly-colored blouses and a couple of bold accessories.
Skirts – Forget the mini skirt and the “I’m working on the farm” skirt (you know what we’re talking about). If you look like “Pretty Woman” or “Little House on the Prairie” you are going to cut it. Tailored pencil skirts and fitted A-line skirts at the knee are the way to go.
Pants – Don’t let them drag on the floor, and make sure they fit. Extra-tight pants won’t make you feel comfortable, and it sends the wrong message as well.
Trending Accessories – If you are looking to spruce up your work week wardrobe to add some flare use accessories to make basic outfits stand out. Here is where you have some fun with what’s cutting edge. A bold silver cuff, a long drapey necklace, or some pumps with pattern will give you a signature look without detracting from your professionalism.
Have questions? We have answers. Comment below on what style you think looks good (or not) for the office.