The most common advice I am asked to give regards the dress code for the office. Creating the perfect business outfit is in fact less easy than you might think. There are many doubts…
Top tips for a flawless office attire at all times
Is it better a formal dress code or casual style? What shoes should you wear and what are the best colors for the work environment? In this post I will give you all the answers you are looking for on how to dress at the office and how look perfect on every occasion.
Professional attire: 5 business dress code styles
Let’s start by specifying that there is no fixed rule when it comes to a business attire. The work environment is essential for creating our business dress code. With the growth of start-ups and the spread of a smarter work concepts, even professional clothing has undergone changes. A tie and a suit might not alway be the preferable solution. First, consider the image of your company, its size, the average age of colleagues and the type of target you focus on. Below, I have prepared five different business dress codes for you, to create your office attire based on different company profiles.
If your office environment is informal and you don’t word face-to-face with customers, you can opt for a casual look. Even some companies where a formal dress code is requested, sometimes allow for a more comfortable and sporty “casual Friday” attire. However, a casual office look does not mean neglect. Avoid ripped clothes, Bermuda shorts, shorts and tops with thin straps. Instead wear blouses and shirts, flat shoes for women as well and a sweater for men, instead of a jacket. In this style, and only in this, you can also wear sneakers with jeans. But not ripped, of course.
2. Smart Casual
This kind of office attire is very appreciated in young companies, with employees under 40, and a professional and dynamic approach. The smart casual style dress code provides a mix between a sporty look and more elegant elements. As a whole it is both professional and comfortable, which allows you to look friendly without losing credibility. Blazers and shirts without a tie, pastel blouses and wide-leg pants or straight-cut denims, knee-length dresses are the heart of this style.
3. Business casual
The casual business dress code is a rather formal office look. Professionalism plays an important role but there is still room for comfort, and for playing with accessories. It is an ideal look for structured companies, especially if you are planning a business lunch or a meeting with a client. For men, the suit is recommended, but without a tie, while women can focus on knee-length skirts or soft pants or straight-cut pants. Yes to soft colors, like pink and cream, and pastel shades.
The office look par excellence. The business dress code is the typical corporate professional attire. Even if you don’t work in a large company, consider it the ideal look for formal occasions such as conferences, meetings, presentations, workshops, conventions and trade shows. Be careful not to confuse elegance with excess: simplicity is the key word. Suit and tie for him, with blue, gray or beige suit; suit, blazer or tight dress for her. The shoes are always closed; heels are allowed but not over 10 cm.
5. Formal business
The formal business dress code is the most classic of all the office attires. As the name implies, it provides an extremely formal outfit, which leaves little room for creativity. It is the type of professional clothing used at the highest levels of management and during official corporate occasions. For men, the white shirt is a must, with a dark suit and a non-eccentric tie. For women, dark suit with jacket/skirt or jacket/trouser, with a shirt, or a high-necked knee-length or calf-length dress. Accessories will be of quality, and classic shoes. Tights are essential for women, even in summer.
If you want to discuss with an expert how to get a new look for your image, contact me.
Dalahi Tips: things to avoid in the office attire
Although the nature of the work environment allows a bit of freedom, there are some choices to be avoided when it comes to a professional attire. In particular:
- Shorts and bermudas
- Ripped and worn out jeans
- T-shirts with lettering
- Tops with thin straps
- Deep necklines
- Skirts and dresses too short or too long
- Patterns that are too vivid
- Colors that are too bright
- Flashy accessories
- Heavy make-up
- Very long nails and a nail polish too vibrant
- Too intense fragrances
- Heels too high (do not exceed 10 cm)
- Over the knee boots
- Sandals and/or flip flop
- Sneakers (only allowed in casual dress code)
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What colors should you choose for an office attire?
The choice of suitable professional attire is not only a matter of types, but also of shades. What are the colors suitable for the workplace? Here is a quick summary of the most recommended ones.
Blue is one of the favorite colors for business, and for a reason. It is a color that conveys trust and responsibility, making you appear competent and credible. Blue is the symbolic color of balance and stability, therefore it instills a sense of security. This is why it is also perfect for public speaking, by establishing an immediate bond with the listener and creating a harmonious and relaxing atmosphere. You can choose it in any shade, from navy blue to dark blue.
Another ideal choice for an elegant and sophisticated office attire, without making you look pretentious. The gray evokes calm and naturalness, and has the advantage of not distracting the interlocutor. But be careful to the work environment. It is a cold color that evokes rationality and an analytical personality. Great if you are self-employed, not recommended if you work in a team or in contact with creatives. It would increase the detachment.
Black is the color of authority and power. Elegant, minimalist, and very charismatic. Perfect if you have a key role or wish to convey an impression of flawless confidence. But avoid the total look: it would make you look impenetrable, dark, and strict. It is a color to choose to enhance the outfit limited to a garment or some accessories.
White is the color of purity and elegance. It gives class and conveys a sense of cleanliness. Declined in a sweater, or a shirt in combination with other colors, it makes the outfit more elegant.
Again, a color that works every time. Beige expresses great mental clarity, organization and ability to concentrate even in chaotic situations. It is an excellent color for a professional dress code, but always to be combined with other shades. The total look is to be avoided, while a beige sweater or jacket conveys confidence and knowledge.
Dalahi Tips: the must-haves for the office look
If it is true that there are real taboos for a business dress code, there are also essential items that are always good to have in the wardrobe. Here are the main ones:
- Suit jacket/skirt, black, blue and gray
- Suit jacket/pants, black, blue and gray
- Suit black dress
- White shirt
- White and black t-shirt
- Black turtleneck
- Black and nude décolleté
- Laced shoes
- Black and nude tights
- Medium to large work bag
- Black or beige trench coat
- Black coat
Now you have all the tools necessary to create the professional dress code, ideal for your job. Do you want to receive more tips on how to dress for the office, or any other occasion? Contact me and I will be glad to help you.
My name is Dalahi Ortiz and I am an image consultant in Florence.
Unlike many other image consultants who only work with fashion items, I use a special method of analyzing your image that will allow you to find your most “natural” look. As close as possible to who you really are. If you are in Florence and want advice on how to create new looks and find the clothes that suit you naturally, contact me.
And find out how we can work together!