Dec 30, 2016 11:32 AM EST

Decoding Your Office’s Dress Code: Tips On How To Dress For Your Workplace

Cracking the professional dress code can be quite a challenge, as offices have different guidelines on the appropriate work attire. However, employees can certainly avoid making a fashion mistake in the workplace by taking the time to figure out the office dress code.

Here are the most common office dress codes and the things that people should wear in the workplace.

Business Formal

Those who work in law firms or hold high level positions are required to come in business formal attire. For men, this means wearing a suit in a solid color like black or grey, and neckties should complement one's button-up shirts. Men should also keep their hair short. For a business formal role model, think Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) in "Suits."

For women, a conservative skirt suit or pant suit in a neutral color is always appropriate. Accessories should be kept to a minimum, and the outfit should be paired with heeled pumps in a neutral color. For a style role model, take cues from Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) in "The Good Wife."

Business Casual

Many offices in the United States opt of the business casual attire, and this type of dress code is far more relaxed than business formal. This time around, men can wear collared, button-up shirts in solids or patterns, and one can even opt to go without a necktie for this dress code. Shoes can be leather loafers or lace-ups, but men should absolutely avoid wearing sneakers.

Women can get away with colored dresses or separates in conservative cuts, and larger jewelry can also be worn as part of business casual attire. Think Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) in "Supergirl," and you get an idea of the right and stylish way to wear this type of dress code.


This type of dress code is definitely the most comfortable among the three, but it is also the easiest to get wrong. Keep in mind that casual does not mean sloppy, so you still need to look put together and professional for work.

Men can wear collared polo shirts or short-sleeved shirts, but definitely no t-shirts unless with prior approval from human resources. Jeans also have to get the thumbs up from HR, so to be on the safe side, opt for trousers in a non-denim material.

Women can wear casual blouses, tops, skirts, and slacks, but these pieces shouldn't be too short, too tight, see-through, or low-cut. Remember that you still have to project a professional image at work, so it's better to be on the conservative side when choosing your work attire.

For more style tips, check out Jobs & Hire's list of the top 5 mistakes that office workers make when dressing for the office.

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