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Five Office Wear Rules

Back in the day when everyone was expected to wear a suit or blazer to the office, dressing for work was a lot more clear cut. But as the way we work changes, so does what we wear to the office. While every job may have different rules, here are a few common office wear blunders – and how you can avoid them.

Uncomfortable Clothing

Sure, we like to dress to impress and the office is often no different. But believe me, those pants that are ‘just a little tight’ but still look amazing won’t feel so amazing after a few hours sitting at your desk or in meetings. Uncomfortable clothing has a way of growing more uncomfortable throughout the day and can often hinder performance as well. It’s a lot easier to focus on your work and put your best foot forward when your clothing isn’t riding up or digging into you.

Taking a Casual Work Environment Too Literally

A more casual work environment is a growing trend thanks to the rise of startup culture. It’s even started to rub off on some corporate workplaces. But just because wearing flip-flops isn’t against the dress code doesn’t mean you should do it. In most cases, dressing too casually runs the risk of your coming across as though you don’t take your work seriously – or even worse, that you don’t take yourself seriously. An easy remedy is to take a quick scan around the office and make sure your workwear lands somewhere in the middle as far as casualness goes.

Clothing is a way of expressing yourself and as long as it’s done professionally, it can help people see you in your best light.

High Maintenance Items

Speaking of dress to impress, another big distractor is clothing that errs on the side of high maintenance. This can include everything from semi-nonfunctional trendy styles like off-the-shoulder tops (good luck reaching for anything above shoulder level), sweaters that shed, more revealing pieces that need constant watch, items with wandering straps, ultra high heels, or anything that needs adjusting throughout the day. While these items may make the look, they’re guaranteed to interrupt your workflow and can also make you come across as distracted – or as high maintenance yourself. A quick rule of thumb I often tell my clients is to test drive a new clothing item on an errands run. If you can handle Costco, the dry cleaners and the line at the DMV, you’re probably good to go for the office. Another trick is to opt for similar pieces that aren’t quite as high maintenance. So for instance if you love to wear heels, swap your stiletto with a shorter heel and an ankle strap for stability.

Boring Duds

The workplace is where you want to be taken seriously – but that doesn’t mean you have to be a shrinking violet! Clothing is a way of expressing yourself and as long as it’s done professionally, it can help people see you in your best light. A pair of black trousers and a matching blazer are definitely staples, but a well-tailored pair of mustard trousers and an oversized blazer take the look to a new level.

Ill-Fitting Items

So you score a designer dress that’s perfect to wear to the office. How exciting! Except for the fact that it’s slightly too big in certain areas – but no one will notice, right? Sure, maybe no one will pinpoint exactly why or where the dress doesn’t fit perfectly, but that doesn’t mean they won’t notice that something’s not quite right. One of the easiest ways to come across as pulled together before you even open your mouth is to have clothing that’s tailored to your body. In fact, if you don’t feel like dropping a paycheck on designer clothing, a great trick is to find a few more affordable basics and have them tailored. You’ll feel more confident, comfortable, and like you’re headed for the top.

Tienlyn Jacobson

Tienlyn Jacobson writes, shoots, produces and styles, and works as an on-air fashion and beauty expert. She also writes a blog dedicated to exploring and sharing the things she loves within the frame of a more thoughtful perspective called Thoughtful Misfit.