When interviewing or starting new employment in a professional field, it’s important to make those lasting first impressions by knowing what’s appropriate office attire. Every organization is different and some dress codes may be more relaxed than others. Here are some basic tips for all seasons that are great starting points to build off of for either more formal or more casual.
Fall and Winter
Men: Dress pants with a button-up shirt and suit jacket. It’s a good idea to wear a tie during meeting and interviews. Black or brown dress shoes. For casual Fridays where jeans are allowed, dark wash jeans with a button-up shirt or layer it with a sweater or vest.
Even if your employer allows jeans on Friday, avoid lighter wash/ faded jeans or any distressed styles with holes. T-shirts are usually too casual unless for more casual days underneath a blazer, sweater or jacket but opt for solid colors instead of graphic styles. It’s a good idea to still wear dress shoes even on casual days instead of tennis shoes.
Women: Dress pants with professional top. Make it more business formal and add a suit jacket or blazer. Wear comfortable closed-toed dress shoes or flats. Avoid any heeled shoes that are too high and uncomfortable to walk in. If casual Fridays are allowed, opt for darker wash jeans and a professional top and shoes such as flats. Avoid wearing tennis shoes or T-shirts, unless it’s a solid color and paired with a cardigan or suit jacket. If your employer allows leggings in the office, make sure your blouse length is long enough to cover thighs.
Spring and Summer
For everybody, spring and summer are the time for brighter colors and lighter fabrics such as cotton or linens. Instead of black or dark grey dress pants think of cream or khaki instead.
Men: Still wear long pants but in lighter fabric and colors. Polo shirts are usually a good compromise in warmer weather instead of T-shirts. Even in warm weather, it’s still more professional to not wear open-toed shoes even on casual Fridays.
Women: Capris, skirts or dresses that aren’t shorter than knee length. Wear comfortable open-toed shoes that aren’t flip flops are heels that are too high and are uncomfortable to walk in. Professional sleeveless tops look great but keep a short-sleeved cardigan on hand for meeting and make sure the neckline isn’t too plunging. Avoid dresses and tops that are strapless or spaghetti strapped. Also, make sure the fabric isn’t too see-through.
This is just a basic guideline and some companies may be more strict and require business formal every day or more laid back and allow jeans all week. Check the guidelines and if you are unsure, just ask.
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