When it comes to dressing for work, the buzzword that immediately comes to mind is ‘appropriate’. Nowadays, with many companies opting to relax their dress code policies and allowing their staff to ditch the suit and tie for more casual attire in which they feel comfortable working, ‘appropriate’ work wear may appear to have lost all of its former glory.
Nevertheless, even in a casual work environment in which there is no contact with clients, there are still certain dress code rules to abide by even if these are not officially enforced through a specific policy. Certain clothing should not be worn to office no matter how relaxed the dress code may be. Here are some fashion faux-pas to avoid.
Too Much Skin
This may seem fairly obvious to most but as temperatures continue to rise, it can be tempting to show up at the office in a pair of hot pants. Most companies will allow some leeway for their staff during those hot summer months but this doesn’t mean that anything goes. Items of clothing such as tank tops, skirts above mid-thigh level, shorts, crop tops and plunging necklines are all generally frowned upon no matter the season.
This one also applies to those who are inadvertently prone to flashing a crack when bending over or baring their midriff when reaching for that file on the top shelf; avoid an embarrassing conversation with your boss and cover up.
The Sloppy Look
The rise of business casual attire has been a prominent feature of many corporate companies in recent years. Jeans and even t-shirts have become standard office staples as the focus shifts to making staff more comfortable to ensure better productivity.
That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that work is still a place of business that should be respected. Stained, torn, faded or dirty clothing is a definite no-no in any office environment and sweatpants and loungewear should be contained to your living room.
Tats and Piercings and Beards…oh my!
This one is a bit of a grey area; some corporate workplaces will happily accept tattoos and piercings on display if their focus is more on the work being carried out by the employee in question. Others however, may still frown upon flaunting visible tats and facial piercings, as they may consider them to be distracting for other co-workers. When it comes to facial hair, men with beards would do well to keep these carefully groomed in order to pull off a professional look.
Footwear Counts Too
Once again, this strongly depends on the nature of your company and the type of dress code they employ. As a general rule in corporate offices, however, sneakers and flip-flops are usually not a good idea. Neither of these gives off the air of professionalism you want to be associated with.
Sounds pretty straightforward right? With the major office attire don’ts covered, the question you may be asking is “so what exactly can I wear?” We’re way ahead of you.
If you’re just starting out at a new company and unsure of what’s acceptable in terms of office attire, play it safe on the first day and then observe your fellow co-workers to get a better idea of how to plan your work wear for the week. If still in doubt, consult your supervisor to check whether the company has a dress code policy in place.
Upon entering the working world, you may find yourself longing for the convenience of your school days when all you had to do was pull on the same uniform day in day out without having to give your fashion choices a second thought. If your company adopts the popular business casual dress code, invest in a couple of neutral-coloured tops/shirts and trousers combos which you can rotate regularly to change your look up.
Beat the Heat
As temperatures rise, pulling on a pair of black work slacks can seem like torture. Opt for cooler fabrics and lighter colours to deflect heat while still projecting professionalism. For women, Capri pants are a suitable alternative to skirts while men may trade in their stuffy trousers for cool chinos or khakis.
If you happen to be the office manager, implementing an official company dress code policy may seem like a drastic step but it’s one way to make sure your staff is aware of what’s appropriate to wear at work and will help avoid you having to reprimand employees for making questionable fashion choices.