Office Dress Code: How To Be Comfortable AND Professional

These days, ‘office dress’ has become remarkably ambiguous. Techy hipsters in Silicon Valley have promoted the idea that sandals and Bermuda shorts are not necessarily inappropriate wear for the office. The message has been well received since companies like Google and Facebook have backed up their approach to relaxed office-dress with world-storming success. The idea put forward by this new generation of companies is that of employees are happy and comfortable they will be able to work to a better standard. Related: How To Dress For Casual Fridays At Work There is undoubtedly truth to the claim that, when we are wearing clothes that we believe make us look our best, we are in a better mood, more receptive to others, and they in turn are more receptive to us. Perfect for an office environment, no? As with everything in life, things must be taken in moderation and office workers must balance out feeling comfortable in their clothes with ensuring that they project a committed business-like appearance. Here are some tips to help you pick out the outfits for work that both make you feel good and are appropriate for the office.


How Are The Others Dressing?

The first tip is very simple: look around you. Take note of what your colleagues are wearing and try to fall in line. You don’t want to stand out as the ‘scruffy one’ as this will instantly effect your colleague’s impression of you: sloppy in dress, sloppy in work. Similarly, if the office norm is to dress a little more casual than you are used to, you shouldn’t worry about following suit. Observing how your bosses dress is also a fairly safe way to gauge the office policy. If you are dressing for an interview, you are of course unable to prepare in this way. Therefore, it is always better to dress formally since you will never get the chance to make a second first impression. In that first impression, both consciously and unconsciously, your interviewers will be assessing you and making quick judgments. Even if you end up being smarter than those interviewing you are, you will have nonetheless shown them that you are a serious and keen candidate. For more interview dress do's and don’ts, have a look here.

The Bread And Butter

Buying a suit should be viewed as an investment. As you take care of it, a good suit can last for years and see you through countless meetings, presentations, and run-of-the-mill days at the office. It is important to make it count. You can accessorize your suit to brighten it up, enliven it, and ensure that you don’t look the same each day. Color is the next hurdle. Black always works, even in the summer when you should just ensure that the material is a little lighter. For ladies, a nice black shift dress is always useful, allowing you to dress it up or down, depending on the occasion. Red and pink are known to be mood-enhancers. They must be used in moderation but if you feel comfortable in them you should take the chance to brighten up the office.

Seasonal Dress

Summer is always a time when office formalities in general are left to slide a little. Knowing what liberties you can take with your dress when it is hot can be difficult. Can the men wear short sleeve shirts? Does that therefore mean a tie isn’t necessary? How loose can my skirt be? Is it too thin? What about sandals? Flip-flops for men? Is it time to get the Bermuda shorts out? Each office will have their own approach to summer wear, but as a rule of thumb, men should avoid sandals, and women should be sure not to show excessive cleavage or mid-drift. Light dresses are usually fine but ensure that no lingerie can be seen through the material. Dressing for work can be tricky, but it requires is just a little sense. So, enjoy casual Fridays, but make sure they don’t take over the rest of the week.

Related Posts

3 Tips For An Appropriate Workplace Appearance Men’s Fashion: Tips For Staying Cool In The Office How To Dress To Impress At Work   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!