Nowadays, it can be difficult for women to know what is acceptable and what is not appropriate for the office, as there seem to be no clear cut clothing options.
Unlike men, who can easily throw on a shirt, tie and shoes, women have a much more difficult job of deciding what to wear as they open their wardrobes each morning. Part of the problem also is that different companies impose their own rules which can all too often get blurred.
An easier way of knowing what is suitable attire is to take a look at the other women in your office and try to copy their style. However, that’s easier said than done, as there tends to be as many different styles as there are women. So what exactly should a woman wear to create a professional and smart image and be taken seriously in what is still very much a male dominated environment?
When deciding on what to wear for work, you should always dress for the company that pays your salary. This means that investment bankers should be wearing conservative suits in neutral colours while individuality and creative flair is usually reserved for those who work in more creative fields such as advertising or film.
Women should convey professionalism which means dressing for the appropriate industry that they work in. If you’re a singer, it’s unlikely that you’ll be forced to wear a suit, whereas someone who hosts lots of client meetings will not be taken very seriously if they turn up to work in shorts and t shirt.
Paying attention to the fit of your clothing is also an issue. Women in general should avoid clothing that is too tight or skimpy as it can be seen as a trashy look rather than the professional edge. However, that’s not to say you should wear baggy clothing that’s two sizes too big. Shapeless clothing can make you look too casual and sloppy, rather than smart and well put together. Try to choose items in a contemporary cut that fit well in order to give you an extra boost of confidence.
Dress for the week and not the weekend. This is a problem that is all too common nowadays and it’s on the increase. This is due to many office dress codes being relaxed and the suggested code being smart casual. Unlike just smart, or just casual, it can be very difficult to understand what falls safely within the smart casual boundary. A good tip is to not dress as you would for a casual Saturday afternoon.
Try to limit super-casual items such as jeans to Fridays if you absolutely must wear them, and make sure they are smart with no holes or rips. You should also always be prepared for an unscheduled client meeting or an evening event with your colleagues. Considering all that will help you to answer objectively the question what to wear to my office work?