Dressing for the office can be intimidating for some women and boring for others. For many, it’s hard to tell when you’re crossing the boundary between what’s acceptable for the office and what’s not.
Experimenting with style is a big part of what makes fashion fun and exciting. But, unfortunately, that can be hard when dressing to fit into a conservative environment like the office.
While it’s a little easier for women who work in less formal business settings, every professional can benefit from fresh ideas about making dressing for the office fun and fashionable.
The Four Types of Office Dress Codes
Arming yourself with knowledge about how to dress for your work environment can make it much more fun. When we feel confident and know what we’re doing, we feel more relaxed and enjoy ourselves.
Learn the basics of how to dress at the office by studying the different types of office dress codes. Then, when you doubt what’s acceptable office wear, avoid fashion faux pas by choosing modest women’s clothing and opting for a conservative style.
Business professional– suits, pants suits, and knee-length skirts.
Business formal– suits and dress shirts with dress shoes, whether pants suits or skirt suits, and minimalistic jewelry.
Business casual– blazers, sweaters, slacks, khakis, and pencil skirts.
Casual– blouses, t-shirts, and denim are all okay, but stay away from ripped or torn clothing.
Use Color in Your Office Wardrobe
If you’re tired of the sea of navy blue, black, and brown in your work wardrobe, you’re ready to experiment with color.
The Rules: Stay away from anything flashy or overwhelming, and use the rule of three colors when adding hues to your office ensembles. This rule applies to all colors on your body, including lipstick and shoes.
Make it Fun and Fashionable: Choose a solid maxi skirt with a neutral sweater. You can also choose pantsuits in bright colors.
If you don’t feel comfortable with adding bright colors to your office attire, consider purchasing a colorful trench coat that you can wear into the office.
Choose Fashionable Footwear
While following some basic guidelines about office footwear is essential, you can still play around with your shoe choices.
Wear close-toed shoes like oxfords or loafers at the office. Your shoes will complete an outfit and help create the final impression. You should avoid heels that are too high for professional dress codes, but you can wear clean white sneakers for casual attire.
Make it Fun and Fashionable
Amp up your footwear fashion by choosing styles with pointed toes and brighter colors. For example, ankle boots come in various styles with heel choices that are okay for any office dress code.
Depending on your office environment, you might be able to get away with pairing brightly colored ballet flats with a black-and-white outfit. As long as you don’t go overboard with the color, you should be able to add a pop here and there.
Dare to Be Unique
Men tend to dress more conservatively in professional business settings. However, if you work with many men, dig up some courage and dare to be unique to stand out from the crowd.
Being unique might require you to push on some office fashion boundaries that have been in place for decades, but if you experiment with small changes, you can see what works and what doesn’t.
Stay within the rules of your office dress code, but be prepared to have some courage and push the style envelope a little more than some people dare. Don’t be crushed when someone comments about your bright shirts, but be sensitive to how others feel about your clothing choices and make adjustments if necessary.
Make it Fun and Fashionable
Be bold and try adding a highly visual piece to your ensemble. Choose different patterns and textures and play with shapes and sizes. If you have to wear blazers, try wearing an oversized blazer, for example.
Choose a unique accessory to add to your wardrobe. It might be a chunky necklace, a scarf, or a bracelet. Let it make a statement about who you are.
Align Your Work Wardrobe With Your Personal Style
You don’t have to have a separate closet for your work clothes if you align your personal style with your office attire.
You can integrate some of your personal choices into your office outfits, and if you’re careful and take it slow, you can carve out a fashion niche for yourself, no matter how conservative your office is.
Be prepared to be bold, daring, and unique. Of course, you have to be a little extravagant with your clothing choices if you want to have fun dressing for the office.