One would think that the following information would be so common sense – however I have found that common sense ain’t always that common. So here are a few questions with answers to address this topic of what NOT to wear to the office… as if you wouldn’t know already!
Q + A’s
Q1 What are your top 3 banned items of clothing for office wear?
Because this relates specifically to items of clothing – it is not possible to generalise on this question. I will give you three items for women, and three for men.
(1) any item that exposes too much flesh ie midriff tops, low cut blouses/shirts, very short skirts, and anything that exposes bum-crack when seated.
(2) flip-flops and insignificant strappy sandles.
(3) very casual apparel ie jeans/cargos, tank tops, and anything that would easily fit in with relaxed weekend activities. For some unknown reason – there are women who don’t know this, or just don’t care enough about their positions at work to care. They are either not conventionally ambitious, or ignorant of the opportunities they’ve lost for their career development. They don’t last long in an organisation where visual communication is as important as other mediums of communication.
(1) An obvious casual shirt worn with a suit and tie
(2) too casual a shoe ie boat shoes/or relaxed loafers
(3) silly ‘party/cartoon’ ties and socks
Q.2 What mistakes do people often make when dressing for work?
(1) Over-exposure – too much flesh showing.
(2) As above for women.
(1) Short sleaved shirts &/or shirts not long enough (resulting in the hanging-out look)
(2) Pants worn half-mast (somebody die?)
(3) Open neck shirts especially when undone past the first 2 buttons….. hmmmm
(4) Wearing ‘down-market’ clothes. This certainly won’t communicate to those with plenty of ‘clout’ in the organisation that they are ambitious and want to be taken seriously.
(5) Poor grooming e.g. the daily ‘bad-hair day’ syndrome; clothing that needs attention &/or cleaning; unpolished shoes and poorly groomed nails (Women: include nasty chipped polish).
Basically not enough attention to detail – which tells those decision-makers that this person could cut corners in other areas as well.
(6) Men: Obvious gold neck chains, bracelets and even facial piercings are not seen as particularly pleasing in most professional organisations. A person can limit their career opportunities with superfluous adornment such as these.
Q.3 What clothing advice can you offer someone who wants to make a good impression at the office?
Whatever a person wears – or carries in business, must be appropriate for their role and industry. Business apparel should also reflect current trends.
Note: Trends when introduced stay current over a 4-5 year time-frame. Fashion by contrast is an ‘in this year – out the next’ situation and these fashion items are useful to add ‘life’ and interest to the basic wardrobe items.