What you wear to work can have a significant impact on how you are perceived by colleagues and senior figures. Those who can correctly present themselves are looked on more favourably, particularly in a corporate or office environment.
Don’t allow scruffy or inappropriate dress to inhibit your chances of that much-deserved promotion. However, if you work in a particularly fashion-forward office, you will have more leeway in terms of stylish work wear.
Even if the weather is very warm outside, a professional standard of dress is still required. The hot summer months are not an excuse for bare midriffs, very short skirts, flip-flops, strapless tops or dresses or lingerie that is visible through sheer clothing.
These items are fine for the beach or the bar, but not the office. A short sleeved cotton shirt will keep you cool in summer and can be paired with tailored trousers or a skirt. If your skirt reaches below the knee, it can be acceptable to leave your hosiery at home.
No one wants to achieve recognition at work based on the amount of flesh they are showing. In a truly professional environment, flashing flesh will not be tolerated or rewarded and this is relevant to both men and women.
Exposed cleavage or shirts opened to show chest hair are absolutely unacceptable in the office. If you want to wear a skirt above the knee, make sure you team it with fully opaque tights.
Tops with spaghetti straps that leave the shoulders mostly bare are also inappropriate. However, dressing appropriately doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your style. Clever tailoring and smart dresses are excellent ways of flattering you shape while still looking business-like.
Ditch the trainers and the open-toed sandals. They should never been seen in a corporate or office environment. Although it is a popular option for women to wear heels, keep the height professional.
Heels are not a requirement, and the lower they are, the more your feet will thank you later. Smart brogues or ballet flats are acceptable and men’s shoes should always be polished.
If in doubt, shop for specialist corporate clothing. Some companies will even offer smart options with the name and logo of your employer embroidered or screen printed on the jacket or shirt.
For men, the well-tailored suit with a crisp shirt and tie is always the best option. Women should consider simple shift dresses with well-fitting blazers.
Pick up cues from your office culture and maintain your professionalism at all times. Most business dress codes are relaxed, and people are used to business casual in the office every day of the business week. Make a great impression that stays and defines who you are.