What to Wear in the Workplace

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In recent years, I have noticed that the dress codes have relaxed a bit in the workplace. However, this doesn’t mean that it is acceptable for me to wear anything I feel like wearing to work. I can’t just wear an old pair of jeans and baggy sweatshirt even if I wanted to. For people to view me as a professional, I must dress as a professional.

It is a known fact that people form a first impression on others in the first 30 seconds they see them. I know that grooming, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language also contribute to what someone thinks of me, but what I wear has a lot to do with how a person perceives me, so it’s better to dress professionally and appropriately.

Appropriate is a relative term and will change according to where you work. Most people work in an office and that has a pretty standard dress code but for Casual Fridays which are obviously not as formal. In this instance if you wore what you wore the rest of the week, it wouldn’t be appropriate.

But if you didn’t work in an office you would have to adjust accordingly. For example if you wore in a construction site where modular buildings or some other form of structure was being built you wouldn’t be served by high heels.

Then if you work in a field that has a uniform such as a stewardess or nurse you are pretty set in what you can wear. The only room for individuality is your hair and accessories such as earrings.

I myself work in an office and try to find the best way to dress as comfortable as possible, but I put a nice hint of casualness in my clothing selections without appearing inappropriate. I always make sure that my clothing is clean, pressed and looking very neat. I never wear clothing that has missing buttons on it, tears on it or wear anything that is frayed. If the stitching comes out of a hem on slacks or a skirt, I stitch it back before I wear it.

I always check the company’s dress policy when I have a question about what to wear or not wear. If something I question is not in the guidelines, I stick to the cautious side of things and dress conservatively. For me, this means that I steer clear from revealing clothes such as tank tops, midriff-baring tops, mini-skirts and low-cut blouses. I would never consider wearing shorts, flip-flops, tracksuits or workout clothes to work.

When I shop for work clothes, I always buy top quality things. They tend to last a lot longer, look better and give me better value. I always steer clear of trendy clothes, which tend to go out of style quickly. I don’t ever wear clothes that I bought over fifteen years ago. These clothes make me look old and frumpy.

When I think of proper clothing for work, I consider the following to be on the list of acceptable things that are okay to wear:

  • Blouses
  • Skirts
  • Sweaters
  • Sports Jackets
  • Dresses
  • Suits
  • Shirt, tie and business pants
  • Khaki pants

What I consider to be inappropriate for work clothing is:

  • Halter tops or spaghetti strap tops
  • Sleeveless dresses (unless worn with jacket or sweater)
  • Spandex Pants
  • Leggings
  • Tube Tops
  • Tank Tops
  • Shorts

I always try to project a professional work image. I don’t want others to question my professionalism, so I dress on the conservative side at work.