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How to Dress For Work

The Essential Rules For 9-to-5 Attire

Whatever your profession, whatever your position, it won't hurt to follow a few essential guidelines for your office wardrobe. It isn't always easy to know what's appropriate for every office, but we're tackling the tricky dos and don'ts of work wear with these six simple tips. Regularly find yourself standing in front of your closet, struggling to decide what looks professional? Follow these rules to further your career style.

  • Always aim for a polished, professional look. Regardless of your position or industry, keep things neat, clean, and work-appropriate. Whether you're the intern or the CEO, it's important to present yourself in a sophisticated way. Translation: don't let your bra straps show, keep clothes wrinkle-free, and steer clear of any footwear that's too casual.
  • Invest in a tailor. Wearing clothes that fit makes a huge difference not only in how you feel about yourself, but also in how you're perceived. A perfectly tailored skirt or blazer makes you look sharp and put together, while an ill-fitting blouse or unhemmed pants can come across as apathetic. Show that you care about yourself and your job by getting your go-to items tailored.
  • Narrow down the dress code rules. The definition of "casual" or "business casual" can vary from office to office, so before you show up in your Sunday sweats, ask around to find out what people usually wear. If you find that you're veering toward too-casual territory, remember that a structured jacket, jewelry, and nice shoes can help you dress up an otherwise relaxed outfit.
  • Feel comfortable with casual Fridays. A casual end-of-the-week dress code is fairly standard, so don't hesitate to take advantage of the easygoing policy. Not sure how you feel about it? See what your manager wears on Fridays and use her outfits as a guideline.
  • Be prepared for a variety of situations. You never know when an emergency event or an unplanned meeting might pop up, so keep a few items at the office to help your clothes shift from simple to sharp. Leave an eye-catching necklace, a pair of heels, and a classy bag in your desk just in case.
  • Look for inspiration on the street. As you walk to work or grab your morning coffee, take note of what other professional women are wearing. Look around while you're on the bus, riding the elevator, or at lunch to see what works and what doesn't.

Do you have any work-wear guidelines? Share them in the comments below!

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