Looking professional at the office is essential, but what should you wear? You need to be comfortable but look smart enough to entertain clients and attend meetings. Most offices suggest wearing business casual clothes. That’s a very vague statement. What does business casual mean?
Firstly, any clothing that you wear to work needs to be clean, unwrinkled and it should fit well. Clothing shouldn’t be tight or restricting. Women can wear work appropriate dresses or, there are numerous business shirts for women, that are both flattering and functional. So you can see your options are better than you think.
We have put together a helpful guide on what to wear to the office. If you want to express your unique style while still looking smart, these staples are a must.
Business Casual Defined
Unfortunately, there is no one-fits-all definition. Business casual can vary between companies, and between industries. If you have a job in the marketing sector, or a creative field, you will have a lot more flexibility when it comes to your work attire. In a traditional office environment, you’re expected to dress more professionally.
Most women will wear classic pieces such as pencil skirts with a shirt and a blazer. If you’re not sure what to wear, take a look at what the manager is wearing. This will give you an excellent idea of what is expected. When you attend your interview before starting the job, take note of what the receptionist is wearing. The receptionist is usually the face of the company, so from here you can take a cue of the dress code.
Can You Wear Denim to Work?
Again, this is a very tricky question to answer. Most companies won’t have a problem with staff wearing a pair of jeans to work, but you will need to gauge the environment. Some companies allow casual Fridays, for example when you’re allowed to wear jeans and a nice top, but only on Fridays. Other companies are much stricter when it comes to your appearance.
Consult your company’s dress code to find out if denim is acceptable. If your company allows denim then make sure that they don’t have holes in them, aren’t too tight and fit well. But for safety, whenever you’re attending a meeting, don’t wear jeans.
Keep on Top of Fashion
A dark pair of slack pants can be paired with a large variety of different tops. You can wear different dress shirts, blouses, sweaters and nice t-shirts to create variation. Accessories such as necklaces and scarves can also help keep your outfit casual and fun.
Mixing and matching outfits will save you money and keep you looking like a fashionista.
Another way to spice up your business attire is shoes but leave your sneakers for the gym. If you need to be on your feet or run around all day, opt for a nice pair of sandals. If you can manage the height, a pair of high-heels will completely transform your outfit.
How Do You Dress for a Virtual Meeting?
Since Covid-19 has reared its ugly head, virtual meetings have become more common. I’m sure you’ve seen the jokes and memes on Facebook where you see the person dressed professionally at the top while wearing slippers and pyjamas underneath. This fashion choice became so popular that it was coined the “Zoom outfit”. While this may seem like a very tempting choice, we don’t recommend it.
Imagine you drop something on the floor or need to stand up suddenly without warning! You would feel embarrassed and the person on the other end of the call may feel disrespected. Instead, dress like you would if you were attending that meeting in person.
Wearing an outfit that you feel good in will make you feel more confident. Also ensure that your outfit is comfortable to sit in.
Practical tip: don’t wear a very distracting pattern that might not translate well on camera. Solid colours look better.
How Should You Dress for an Interview?
When you’re being interviewed for a new job, it’s important to put your best foot forward. Dress in an outfit that makes you look great and feel amazing. This will give you a boost of confidence. Wear a nice pair of high-heels for that added effect.
To put your own spin on the outfit and show some of your personality, wear a statement necklace or piece of jewellery.
The Power of the Suit
If you only have enough money to invest in one staple, every woman should own a power suit. This doesn’t need to be classic black slacks and jacket. It can be a skirt and blazer or even a smart dress. The most important job of your power suit is to make you feel like you can take on the world.
What to Avoid Wearing
Now that you know what you should be wearing, let’s discuss what doesn’t belong in the office. Stay away from ripped pants and jeans. Don’t wear very short shorts or miniskirts. Leave this look for the beach or the pool. Another niche to stay away from is cocktail attire.
As long as you look presentable and professional you can have a bit of fun with your work outfits. Look at the company culture and how other employees dress to get a better idea of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Apply all these tips and you’ll be dressed for success each day of the week.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.