Dress codes for the office keep adapting and changing as time goes by. Casual Fridays are gradually extending further into the working week and remote or blended working is currently increasing in popularity. Alongside a changing workplace, the rules on what to wear are shifting too, what was once considered casual in the past is now semiformal and vice versa.
With all these rules being thrown around, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find the right outfit for you. If you feel like you are stuck on the appropriate attire to suit your office’s dress code, know that you are not alone. Here are some ideas that will come in handy for you in the office space and ensure you not only fit in well but are comfortable throughout your working day.
The business formal dress code is certainly the most formal and can be found in the more traditional office settings. If you work in a formal office space, then chances are you deal with a lot of executives throughout the working week.
This means you will want to dress to impress and what you wear should give this impression to your colleagues. Here are some of the items you should have in your wardrobe to wear in such a situation.
- A tailored one or two-button suit preferably in black, gray, or navy
- Solid colored ties in subtle colors.
- Smart dress shoes
- Limited accessories, a smart and stylish watch with a metal strap is sufficient
- Have well-groomed hair
Whilst this is still on the business side of the office; it is a level down from the business formal. The rules may be slightly more relaxed, but it is important to remember that they play more to the formal side than the causal side. Here are the outfit ideas suitable to working in this sector.
- A tailored one or two-button suit. Similarly, to business formal, the colors should remain understated, however, you can get away with wearing suits with added details such as a subtle pinstripe or check pattern.
- Ties should be subtle, but like the suits you can also have stripes on them.
- Smart shoes should be worn
One of the most common dress codes in the office nowadays is business casual. It offers a little more freedom, allowing employees to express themselves and their dressing style while still maintaining a professional office look.
One of the things you need to remember with business casual is, every office has its own set of rules on what is and is not appropriate. Here are the common clothes you will expect to find under business casual.
- Colored button-ups are allowed in the office as well as checkered and striped shirts. These should be worn without a tie.
- Pullovers can be worn over the checkered and striped shirts; though, it is best if they are of a plain color
- Slacks like khaki pants are allowed in the office
- There is more allowance for accessories, for example, one can wear a leather strap watch as opposed to a metal strap one.
- There is greater leeway for longer hair as long as it is well styled and neat.
A casual dress code does not happen in many offices. That being said, its popularity is growing within certain industries and startup companies especially, therefore more and more people are fortunate enough to work in offices that allow for this. The one thing that comes with a casual dress code office is, how people perceive you will be influenced by how you dress.
You need to remember when you are in such an environment to still show up looking neat, tidy and well presented. It is very easy to mess up a causal office look if you are not careful. Here are some of the ideas to ensure you master the casual office look.
- Casual slacks and pants are allowed. Do not wear jeans unless HR specifically give them the okay.
- Polos, sweaters, and pullovers are allowed
- You can wear brightly colored watches
- You can also carry a carry–on bag like those from Lancel
- Wear clean shoes. More casual footwear such as sneakers or loafers are often permitted.
A note on working from home
Nowadays, with remote working and blended working becoming more popular than ever before, it can be a challenge to create a flexible working wardrobe.
However, with many employees required to present themselves for video calls and conference, it is important to remain professional as well as comfortable. It is best to stick to the rules for the casual dress code, and avoid loungewear if you want to feel prepared to take on the day.
What to avoid
In order to avoid any office faux pas, here are some items of clothing which should always be avoided when dressing for work.
- Shorts, especially any loud colored and patterned shorts. It is best to leave them to your vacation time.
- Your most comfortable sweater or hoodies, your favorite band t-shirt and your old joggers. Anything which you would lounge around the house in should be excluded from your work wardrobe.
- Flip flops and sandals, again these should be left for the beach.
Your office’s dress code speaks volumes about the environment you work in, therefore what you wear will determine the kind of day you have at work. For this reason, it makes sense if you figure out what HR says about the office code and what each of the different dress codes signifies and mean on a practical level.
This will ensure that you have no issues at the office and you always look put together. Dressing appropriately for the office shows that you are professional and considered. The more prepared you for the office, the more comfortable you well feel and it will no doubt show in your work performance.