Office Fashion: How To Stop Confusing 'Dressy' & 'Inappropriate'

Do you (or someone you know) have a hard time judging what's appropriate office fashion? You're not alone. Ashley Poulin of clears up the confusion as to what's dressy and what's inappropriate for the office. Fashion Challenge: Professionals who confuse “dressy” and “inappropriate.” Not thinking through the business-appropriate nature of what you are wearing (for example, thinking a dress you wore out to a club is acceptable to wear to an interview, or wearing a top that shows too much cleavage).

Office Prohibited

Knowing what’s appropriate for the office can be difficult and will take some time and investment to learn, but knowing what should never cross the threshold of your office lobby is imperative.

SharpHeels Style Guideline

Learn what is never appropriate at the office. Check out the quick tips below or watch the video!
  • Cleavage tops – It is never appropriate to show too much cleavage at the office. Fortunately, adding a camisole and a blazer or black cardigan can make an “evening” blouse workplace appropriate, but don’t force an evening look for the day. If the top has too much cleavage or is see through, then keep it out of the office.
  • Mini Skirts – The name says it all – “mini” is just too short for the office. Instead buy a pencil or an A-line skirt that hits just above the knee. Add a great pair of heels to add some sass, but keep those pumps under 4 inches in heel height.
  • Platform Heels – also known as (a.k.a) - Hooker Shoes – Let’s be honest: 4-inches is as high as you should ever go at the office. Typically, most heels should be 3-4 inches, max. You can add some flair with color pumps – burgundy or cobalt blue pumps look great with an A-line black flare dress
  • Too Clingy – Your office apparel should be flattering – form-fitting is fine, but too tight and you look like a stuffed sausage or a “woman of the night” – i.e. it’s definitely no longer appropriate or flattering. Instead wear a figure flattering A-line dress that you will look great in and still be appropriate for the office. Add some accessories to add some color and flare.
  • Remember: Never, ever wear something too tight, too short, or show any cleavage tops.
Click here to see all of the style guides in this office fashion series.  

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!