Looking Stylish at the Office

by April Reinhardt
(last updated April 11, 2013)

What is the dress code in your office? The owners of our business dictated a business-casual dress code, yet sometimes they allow us to wear jeans on certain Fridays. A few months ago, we all received an email that we could wear jeans on Friday. When Friday came, quite a few people wore jeans, but they violated the dress code by pairing the jeans with worn tee shirts and baggy flannel shirts. All personnel were penalized for that infraction, and we didn't receive a jeans day for another month. When an email arrived last week stating that we could wear jeans on Friday, the managing director stated clearly that they were to be worn with appropriate attire. The lesson learned? We can still wear jeans and look professional and stylish at the office.

There are three categories of office dress codes. Let's take a look at each:

  1. Formal business wear, also called traditional power business, has men dressed in dark suits, dress shirts with ties, and hard-soled shoes with dark socks. Women wear dark suits with skirt or pants, conservative blouse, close-toed heels with hosiery, and minimal jewelry and makeup.
  2. General business attire finds women wearing pantsuits, dressy coordinates to include a tailored jacket, skirts or pants, and close-toed shoes with hosiery. Men wear dress shirts with ties, sport coats, and dress slacks. No khaki pants or jeans.
  3. Business casual dictates that both men and women wear tailored, professional looking separates. Men do not wear coats or ties. No jeans, tee shirts, collar-less shirts, or open-toed sandals or shoes.

If you're thinking that you can't look stylish at the office as well as adhere to the dress code, then you're wrong. Even those who have to wear formal business wear to the office can look professional, as well as stylish, and never boring. Here are some great tips for looking stylish at the office:

  • Although formal business wear means that you're in a suit all day, and unless your firm is ultra-conservative, you can add a splash of color and mix clothing textures to be more stylish. Men can add a red- or plum-colored silk handkerchief to the breast pocket, to coordinate with a silk tie. Ladies can add a pop of color with a bright handbag or scarf, and add a conservative solid metal pin to the suit lapel.
  • General business attire provides opportunity to mix suit coats with separate pants. Men can look professional in black dress slacks paired with a tan sport coat. Women can wear a conservative pencil skirt with a print blouse and crop jacket, and coordinating pumps.
  • Business casual attire gives more leeway to employees in that they can wear brightly colored separates, with more latitude for jewelry and other accessories. Find outfits that combine differing material textures and colors to spice up your professional wardrobe.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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