There’s not much more embarrassing than being the topic of gossip at work because of your clothes. So, unless you work from home when you get dressed for a day at the office, there are considerations every professional should make. You can go from the top down to make sure all zones are taken care of.
Unfortunately, hats are just not professional. While traditional notions of hair length are disappearing, don’t think that means you can play around with hats or elaborate hair accessories. However, you wear your locks, keep your style neat and not distracting.
In most professional places of work, shoulders should be covered. In really hot weather, women can expose their arms and shoulders with work-appropriate tops, but men shouldn’t even consider a sleeveless look. Spaghetti straps and tank tops should be skipped in favour of sleeveless blouses.
As long as it’s kept tasteful, women can get away with a couple of top buttons undone, but men shouldn’t undo more than one, and even then they should have a t-shirt underneath. Chest hair is a definite no. And for workplaces where a tie is appropriate, no buttons should be undone. See-through shirts are never appropriate, unless a woman is layering it over a solid shirt underneath.
Men and women should always have the middle portion of their body covered at all times in a professional environment. If a shirt is so short that it rides up when the wearer reaches to the top shelf, it’s not appropriate for work. Work appropriate tops should be flattering but not skin-tight, and while patterned fabrics are great, be sure it’s not too loud and distracting. Bright colours and sayings should be avoided.
Keep hips covered at all times, and don’t let even a little bit peek out. Men and women both need to wear pants that fit over or at the hips appropriately, and there should always be some overlap with the top. Men can tuck in their shirts, but should check that it stays tucked in. Sweaters and jackets can help keep this area covered.
Pantyhose are a thing of the past. Feel free to wear bare legs if you’re sporting a skirt, but keep the shirts knee-length or longer. Shorts should be avoided by both men and women, but some companies are bending this more traditional rule. Even on casual days where jeans might be acceptable, rips, tears, and stains are never okay.
It may not be fair, but women can wear their strappy sandals to work, but men cannot wear their summer footwear. And no one should ever consider flip flops, Birkenstocks, or Crocs in a professional environment.
Before heading out to work in the morning, check that you’re tucked and tailored to make the best impression at work.