We’ve all seen those women (and men) wearing not so appropriate attire going to work and thinking to ourselves, What “office” does she (he) work at dressed like that? As a Senior Manager at a large Canadian bank, I strongly believe that you dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Sure, if you do a good job and you don’t dress particularly sharp, you’ll keep your job. But if you have any ambitions to move up the chain, take a look at your bosses and see how they’re dressed – that should be an indication of what success looks like. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 10 Corporate Fashion Do’s and Don’ts.
Please note, this is a general guideline and there are always exceptions for every industry. However, following these for a corporate environment will definitely not lead you astray.
1) Do invest in a good suit
As a hiring manager, nothing leaves a worse first impression than seeing a candidate in an interview without a suit jacket. That is why investing in a good suit is of utmost importance. Maybe you can’t afford multiple good suits, but make sure you have at least one that fits you well and has a quality thread count.
2) Don’t wear 6 inch heels
There is such thing as too high when it comes to heels in the office. I don’t recommend going higher than 4 inches. Six inch heels especially, have a platform in the front and can give off the wrong impression. Sure they can be pretty, but save them for a night out.
3) Do ensure you iron your clothes
How you present yourself is an indication of how you handle your work. Wrinkled clothing looks messy, sloppy and careless – which is never a good thing if people are assuming that’s how your work will translate to.
4) Don’t do heavy make up
I love getting dolled up, a heavy smokey eye and falsies, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Keep your make up more soft and stick to neutrals.
5) Do Mix Highs and Lows
What I mean by this is, if you’re going to wear a short skirt, pair it with opaque tights and a long sleeve blouse. If you’re going to wear a sleeveless blouse, tone it down with a midi skirt or a pair of pants.
6) Don’t mistake Jeans Fridays for Casual Sundays
Just because your office allows you to wear jeans on Fridays, doesn’t mean that all of a sudden a sweatshirt and runners are appropriate. Pair your jeans with a professional blouse, a blazer and cute flats. Be mindful that you’re still at the office and jeans can still look professional.
7) Don’t wear corduroy pants – ever!
There’s a reason that corduroy pants were in style in the 90s and never made a comeback, because they’re ugly and unflattering. If you’re still holding onto them hoping they’ll come back into style, or worse, wearing them thinking they’re still in style – do yourself a favour and burn them or cut it up and make a quilt out of it. They’re inappropriate, because simply put – they don’t flatter anyone, EVER!
8) Don’t wear long sun dresses
Sure they’re long, so they are work appropriate, right? WRONG! They’re made for weekend brunches and vacations, not for the office. Dresses for the office should be more structured and made of less flimsy fabrics.
9) Don’t wear Flip Flops
If you wear them over for your commute, that’s fine. But make sure you leave a pair of appropriate work shoes (see appropriate heel above) in the office so that you can change into them as soon as you arrive.
10) Do Accessorize
The easiest way to spruce up a work outfit is to accessorize. Bold necklaces and earrings can add a bit of flair and show off your sense of style.
I know there are more don’ts than there are do’s, but that doesn’t mean corporate style still can’t be fun and fashionable. I teamed up with RW&Co to share 4 corporate fashion do’s, proving that office wear and style can go hand in hand.