I briefly touched on wardrobe in my post Job Search 101: Top 5 Job Hunting Tips, in this post I want to elaborate more on determining how to dress at work once you have landed the job. Every workplace is going to have a different culture in terms of work attire. Some places are more lax, while others more strict. It is important to keep in mind not only the type of work you do, but also what is acceptable by your co-workers, and boss.
The best rule of thumb in determining what is acceptable attire is usually to look at your boss. If your boss dresses in a suit and tie everyday it may be in your best interest to do the same. However, though your boss may wear a suit it is possible that your job title could mean that it is acceptable for your to dress more casual. In these situations I would suggest not only examining your daily activity when determining what to wear, but also the co-workers who are in the same or similar position as yourself.
If you have a job that has you constantly on your feet and moving about the office, what will be most important for you are comfortable work appropriate shoes. If you work in a restaurant this means slip resistant. If you work in an office this means no flip flops, and if you are walking around a lot please leave the heels at home too. A nice pair of flats is probably what you really need. In addition, you don’t want your pants slipping down so either wear a belt, or make sure they are snug even while you are running around all day. Wear breathable shirts, and even if your office tends to be cold, try to layer so you can reduce the risk of sweat marks appearing while you do all that running around.
If you work in a place like a call center or are often stuck for long periods of time sitting in a cubicle then you likely are not doing a lot of moving around. With jobs where most of what you do involves sitting and staring at a computer screen, the most difficult issue you are going to have clothing wise is it being too comfortable. Staring at a computer screen all day can be exhausting to combat the exhaustion avoid dressing up too casual even on casual Fridays. Never wear sweat pants to work unless your job is as a work out instructor or requires for you to literally be asleep. Don’t wear flip flops or tennis shoes, just because your sitting at a desk and no one ever sees your feet anyway. Even in casual work environments it is important to still care for you appearance. Make sure you shower as necessary, keep your hair brushed, don’t over due the cologne, and wear deodorant.
Business Casual vs. Professional Attire:
Professional attire is often viewed as a suit and tie for men simple. With women being able to understand the difference between Professional and Casual can be a little bit more difficult in terms of the fine line. Of course they sell pants suits for women as well, and these are perfect examples of Professional attire for women, but what if you don’t like the Pant suit look, how do you dress professionally as a woman if you don’t want to wear pants? There are a few options for dressing professionally without having to wear a suit. First rule, always make sure you are wearing panty hose, tights, or stockings. Leggings are not professional attire, they are however considered business casual if worn properly. Second Rule, make sure whether the outfit is business casual or professional that the hem line is at an appropriate length. Best rule is if you bend forward to reach for your toes and someone standing behind you can see your underwear then the skirt or dress is too short for work. Third rule, when deciding whether an outfit is professional or casual understand that you want shoulders covered, no thin straps, or 1 inch straps. Make sure all bra straps are out of site. Fourth and final rule, some outfits can look both casual and professional depending on the accessories you place with it. Be sure that when you are putting together your professional wardrobe you are selective of the types of jewelry you wear with it.
Did you find this post helpful? Do you have suggestions for dressing appropriately at work? Please let me know in the comments below.