Wearing professional business attire screams competence and confidence. By having the best of both worlds, it’s essential to show some personality as well without going too overboard. The way you dress inside your workplace depends on the dress code your company has implemented.
Most companies will hand over newly-hired employees some handbooks that have detailed information of formalized dress codes. This gives them an idea of what proper attire to wear before working for real-time. Another thing is you have to observe what attire the higher-ups are wearing, or those who have a similar rank on you in the office. So if you see that they wear proper business attire, then you should follow the lead to reach that level of formality inside your workplace.
Business Formal Attire
This is an attire that you need to wear during important meetings, interview, or while delivering a presentation in front of your CEO or the whole team. A formal business attire is the most crucial attire that you need to wear.
Formal Business Suits
- The most basic of all the business attires are business suits. Most of these suits consist of a blazer and a pair of trousers/skirts with matching fabrics for both top and bottom. Vibrant colors is a no-go when wearing formal business suits. Colors such as black or dark grey suit best for them. When it comes to the cloth texture, fabric-like wool is used for this one. These suits should be well-fitting and have details such as:
- Blazer sleeves length. These sleeves must end at your wrist without having down over your hands.
- The way the blazer sits on your shoulders. It’s vital that the blazers should be the right fit at the edge of your shoulders without looking like a hanger.
- Skirt length and the slit at the back of the skirt. This is crucial as the skirt length will depend on either you’re sitting down or walking. Skirts that stops at the top of your knees is ideal.
- Button placement. It’s crucial that you can easily fasten the buttons on the front even if you plan to wear the jacket open.
- Trouser pants length. The trouser cuff should hit right at the midway point of your shoe, not extending its way to the floor.
Formal Business Tops
- Buttoned- up shirts are frequently called the staple of formal business attire. This is because they come in a variety of colors, fabrics, and patterns, making it suitable for whatever business-related occasion you will be going. Pullover shell blouses that are made from light fabric can also be classified as an appropriate business suit as well.
- Cotton blend, rayon, silk, are the best material to be used on this kind of business tops.
- Color and pattern should complement the suit you are wearing on. Avoid opting for neon tones that are sometimes blinding to look at. Consider using colors such as black, white, burgundy, and other neutral colors.
- Any neckline is fine as long as it doesn’t reveal too much of your cleavage.
- Business footwear should be comfortable yet stylish at the same time, and of course, appropriate enough to be worn inside the workplace. Heels or flats are fine, and closed-toe styles are preferable than open toe ones. It’s also crucial that the business shoes are made from high-quality leather as well, taking durability at its finest.
- If you opt on wearing heels, make sure that it only lengths from two to four inches.
- Bring two pair of shoes at work — one pair of black leather and another nude patent shoe that is appropriate inside the workplace.
- Maintaining your shoes is also vital as well to keep it looking fresh and new each time you go to your place. Having work-looking footwear will leave a bad impression on your employers and your co-workers.
- Pearls – Women love pearls, be it in the form of earrings, rings, or necklace. If you had the cash, you could invest in real pearls that you can add as an accessory; even fake pearls will also do the trick as long as it’s in the right size.
- Leather Handbag – Every worker needs a handbag where you can put all your documents and other valuable belongings inside. If you opt for one, ensure that it can fit everything from papers down to your smartphone and make-up kits whatsoever. Pick a color that doesn’t look too bright and vibrant. Neutral colors such as black or brown will do, and it can entirely hide stains as well.
Business Casual Professional Attire
Apart from the usual business attire, casual dressing in a formal environment vastly differs from what we are used to. Casual business attires are usually worn on company events, parties, and on “casual Fridays” where you can wear anything you want. Making it short, it is referred to as the “smart casual” by some.
- Your business casual clothing won’t be complete without trousers. They come in different cut variants, which is an advantage for curvy ladies. This also depends on your office dress code as well, where wearing colored and patterned pants may not be allowed.
- Stick to pants with a solid neutral color such as black, navy, or camel.
- Ladies in creative industries can wear pants with subtle patterns and jeweled tones. What shouldn’t be worn is blinding neon colors and prints that are too distracting to look at.
- When it comes to skirts, pencil skirts and a-line skirts are the most likely to be used as casual business attire. JCPenny and Macy’s have a massive collection of casual business attires for you to shop on.
- Choose a skirt that is made with a wool blend or cotton-blend for fewer wrinkles.
- You may want to opt for colored skirts as well to add a dash of fashion.
- Denim skirts should be avoided as it’s not appropriate enough as casual office attire.
- Blouses, as a casual office attire should have sleeves and are not sheer. Should you be wearing a sleeveless blouse for the office, pair it with a cardigan or blazer for a better and comfortable feel. Here are some blouses that are worn best inside the office:
- Silk/Rayon shirts in solid colors
- Cowl neck blouses
- Bow-tie blouses
- Dresses should be at a comfortable fit; not too tight and not too short, a perfect and equal balance should be enough. Old Navy has a vast collection of dresses that looks even better when paired with blazers and cardigans to be used on the colder season. However, sleeveless dresses should not be worn even in warmer months since it can be too inappropriate inside the workplace.
- Jeans are fine, just make sure that your office allows it even on “casual Friday’s.” If you’re lucky enough to work inside an office where jeans are allowed, then go for the darker ones and free from rips and tears. Ripped jeans don’t have a place inside the workplace so better save that for other personal matters. Bootcut, tapered, and straight cut jeans are ideal for wearing in the office, not skinny jeans or oversized denim that looks straight from the 90s.
- When it comes to business casual footwear, a good pair of burgundy flats that matches with your black pants and cream shirt will make you look stunning inside the office. You can also opt for shoes that are made with studded embellishment like Calvin Klein’s “Jozie Studded Pointed Toe Bootie.” What’s important is to keep things simple, not just in clothes, but also in footwear as well. Stay away from ruffles, frills, and glittery shoes because they look odd and unfitting inside the workplace.
Professional Attire Etiquette
- Suits must be ironed every time you go to the office no matter how cheap or expensive it is. Proper maintenance is the key to making it look professional.
- The basic rule of thumb for skirts is they should not be shorter than the tips of your fingers.
- Make sure that the buttons on your shirt won’t gape open once worn.
- You may want to go for a tailor to get the exact and proper fit such as suits and trousers since not all sizes suit you well.
If you’re a fresh graduate and just started your journey in the corporate world, then it’s ideal to buy at least two suits (pantsuit and skirt suit) made from high-quality fabric. As well as three to five shirts that match with your suits. This is essential so that you don’t run out of anything to wear. And also, always keep your business attire at their best state by doing proper maintenance such as washing using fabric-friendly soap and ironing it before you go to work. Once you have the money and have maintained a stable paycheck, you can invest in getting additional garments and accessories for your business wardrobe.