What you wear to work is almost as important as what you do, because your presence tells the company’s story and helps shape its reputation in the communities where you serve. Most workplaces have a dress code in place, and each dress code should be appropriate for the work setting.
If you work in a corporate headquarters, your dress code may be a little more formal. If you work in a casual setting, you may be able to dress down; but, if you work outside, your attire may include safety items, and your dress code may need to be altered regularly depending on the weather. Here are three common dress codes so you can dress for success.
Business professional attire is the most formal option in a business environment. Full suits are appropriate for everyday wear in certain professions, for special presentations, and for meetings in more casual atmospheres.
Appropriate business professional dress typically includes:
- Slacks, business dress, or skirt
- Structured suit jacket or blazer
- A tie, when required
- Button-up shirt, collared shirt, sweater, blouse
- Closed-toe dress shoes, including appropriate socks or hosiery
Business casual attire incorporates a comfortable look while maintaining a professional business image. Not all casual clothes are appropriate for the workplace, such as clothing you would wear to the beach, while doing yard work, attending a sporting event, or exercising.
Appropriate business casual dress typically includes:
- Dress shirt with collar
- Optional tie or seasonal sport coat
- Dress or skirt at knee-length or below
- Tailored blazer
Casual attire is reserved for the most casual work environments, including working remotely. In some offices, it’s only allowed on Fridays. It’s also important to dress appropriately for virtual meetings. If your workplace allows you to dress casually, avoid wearing jogging suits, T-shirts, sandals, or revealing clothing.
Appropriate casual dress typically includes:
- Jeans, slacks, and in some instances, appropriate shorts
- T-shirts, button-up shirts, blouses
- Shoes you can walk comfortably and safely in (closed-toe is still best)
Light industrial or blue-collar work environments have similar dress codes to casual attire.
Did you know that some companies don’t require a dress code at all? That could be a good thing because you could easily pull what you already have out of your closet to wear. Even if you don’t have any written rules for how to dress and don’t need to buy an entirely new wardrobe, take the time to be responsible for what you wear to make a good impression.
If you’re new to work and aren’t sure what to wear, request a copy of the employee handbook from your HR department or your supervisor or manager, which should cover your attire. You can also gain hints by looking at what others, particularly those in leadership positions, wear to work.
What dress code does your workplace require?
Let us know in the comments section below!