The Do’s and Don’ts of Office Attire

August 17, 2016

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Posted by: Nicola Malcolm



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Finding out what you should be wearing around the office can be a bit of a learning curve. For some, only suits, ties, and dresses will be tolerated in the work place. For others, a well-fitted pair of jeans will do just fine. However, whichever type of office you’re working in—from the most casual to the most corporate— there are a certain number of unspoken rules to follow in order to look professional and put-together.

Luckily, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get the right type of look to fit in well into an office setting. All you’ll need are a few wardrobe staples and a strategic approach to help guide your way. Let’s get started.

Do Invest in Wardrobe Essentials

While every work place is different in their expectations, there are a set group of wardrobe essentials that fit into every office scenario. By investing in a basic set of every-day items that you can mix and match, you can eliminate a lot of the guesswork that’s involved in getting dressed for work.

Whether you’re a man or woman, a polished jacket or blazer can be exactly what you need to elevate your look. Most importantly, the jacket needs to fit well in order to work best for you, so getting it tailored is in your best interest. You’ll also need to invest in properly hemmed black trousers, because they’ll always look professional and can be worn under any work circumstances. For shirts, opting for solid colours and simple prints is always best—anything too loud can quickly get gaudy. Cardigans are always in style, and depending on the fabric they can be worn in both summer and winter.

Women have a lot to choose from for their office attire. Pencil skirts, tailored dresses, pant suits, scarves, and tasteful pumps can all go a long way in boosting your office wardrobe without breaking the bank. Finding at least one basic, well-fitting item from each of these categories should ensure that you look professional and appropriate every day of the week.

Don’t Overlook the Fit

An ill-fitting piece of clothing is the number one cause of an employee looking unprofessional in an office setting. Despite the varying sizes on clothes available, there likely isn’t going to be a pair of pants or a suit that fits your proportions exactly. While it might seem like an extra expense, putting in the money to have a seamstress or tailor customize your most important articles of clothing will pay for itself when your boss begins to take notice of how put-together you are.

Do Dress For Your Own Workplace

While it might seem fun to dress to the nines to go to work, you have to remember that over-dressing can be inappropriate, too. A good rule of thumb is to observe what your boss wears on a day-to-day basis, and try to avoid overdressing relative to them. If they’re wearing casual slacks and a knitted jumper and you’re in a pin-stripe suit every day, you might want to reassess your wardrobe choices—you don’t want to seem out of touch.

You may also want to choose your office attire based on what industry you’re in. Creative jobs can benefit from wearing more colourful pieces and daring accessories. Techies may want to include wearables into their wardrobe. Anything that can outwardly show your devotion to your career without going overboard is a great addition to your office wardrobe.

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Nicola Malcolm

Nicola Malcolm

Nicola has over 20 years of staffing industry experience with global, international, and Canadian firms. She has a broad knowledge base from having worked at a temporary recruitment desk, as an on-site manager in a global warehouse and manufacturing company, and in marketing, IT and operations. In addition, Nicola managed a portfolio of MSP/VMS accounts for a global MSP, and currently manages the staffing supply of 10+ Canadian MSP/VMS programs. In her spare time, Nicola uses her recruiting background to help her family, friends, and personal network find meaningful work opportunities. She also enjoys applying her operational skills to plan family trips abroad as often as possible.

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