Guide to Dressing Up for Work for All Business People

December 27, 2022 9:25 am

This can be a very painful subject for many professionals. When you’re exhausted and sleepy, it can be extra annoying to have to stand in front of your closet and contemplate what kind of combination is suitable for your workday. If you want to make your work clothing simple yet effective and appropriate, here’s a little guide to follow: 

What’s a dress code?

Every industry has a code of dress that describes the level of formality of the items workers are allowed to wear to their offices. In most cases, there’s no written dress code to follow—black pants with a white shirt and tie, or a gray skirt with neck scarf. Instead, people follow a more broad dress code described with terms like “business professional”, “business casual” or “casual”. Of course, there are jobs and workplaces that require a specific uniform, mostly in healthcare, construction and hospitality. Here, you’ll be able to learn more about the main dress categories, find the one that applies to your workspace and learn how to dress appropriately. 

Office business casual

Just because this dress code contains the word “casual,” it doesn’t mean you can leave the suit at home. Actually, in most cases, it does include a suit and tie. Business casual wear includes a collared shirt (button-up or sometimes polo) with a sweater on top if it’s cold outside. However, you can skip a custom-tailored jacket. Your shoes should be classic and professional, with closed toes (no matter if you choose boots, heels, loafers, mules, or oxfords). If you’re unsure about the dress code at your new company or if you’re visiting another company you’re not familiar with, this is a great path to take because business casual looks sleek, professional, and elegant without being too stuck up. 

Casual Fridays

Many companies today have Casual Fridays when employees are allowed to let lose a little bit. Casual wear is much less restrictive than business casual, meaning you can ditch the tie and classic shoes. However, don’t think you can come to work in your sweatpants and a beanie! To still look professional and impress your customers and clients, you can opt for a casual button-down or blouse with black or dark blue denim (no rips and holes, of course). Sometimes, white or black dress sneakers can be okay for your casual days, make sure always to avoid closed-toe shoes and flip-flops. 

Business uniform

In some cases, workers need to wear their daily uniform or at least fit in with the rest of the team with similarly-styled pieces. For instance, on more casual days in healthcare, doctors and nurses can opt for practical and modern jogger scrubs with plenty of pockets, elastic bands and wrinkle-free materials. These are more casual than traditional scrubs, but their quality and cut make them perfect for busy doctors and emergency staff requiring flexibility and comfort. In many cases, with more flexible uniforms, you can choose your own colors so practice that freedom as well to spice things up. 

Business professional dress guide

Now, let’s get to the more formal side of the business dress code. Business professional is the most formal of all office dress codes, and the one you can see in most corporate buildings and Mad Men-type TV shows. The traditional wear in this dress code includes a suit with a button-down shirt and a tie for men. Women in business professional offices usually opt for pencil skirts and blazers with simple accessories to break the monotony and allow them to stand out. One thing about business suits is that they need to be tailored to fit the wearer and leave a very elegant vibe. For heels, the unwritten rule is to wear something with closed toes and under three inches in height. Loafers, oxfords and various flats are also allowed. 

Business formal dress code

And finally, business formal is the elevated business professional style, usually reserved for very formal events like gala events, award ceremonies, corporate parties and benefit dinners. If you don’t want to attract any negative attention, opt for dark-colored combinations in your suit or skirt, a formal dress shirt or blouse and elegant dress shoes. Silk ties and pocket squares are a must. Simple jewelry such as cufflinks and a watch is all you need. 

There you have it—you’ll never look out of place in any business day or event. Use these tips to fill your wardrobe with appropriate items and improve your professional image. 

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