Dressing appropriately for work

What should be worn for work? This is a subject of intense misperception and bewilderment. Your working clothing is contingent on the area and its weather conditions; type of industry; indoor or outdoor nature of work; and the organization itself But surely you need to dress smartly.

women office dress

Today, companies that do not have a uniform stipulation for its employees generally subscribe to the ‘business professional’ or `business casual’ dress codes. What are they for men and women? While you may feel that your personal dressing style may get dampened, the fact is investing in appropriate attire for work helps you identify and gel with everybody. You also get to develop camaraderie.

You must try to fit in to your company customs. If you do not, you will be conspicuous and that too in an awkward manner. But when you go to work dressed in consonance with company culture, it indicates that you are a team player and have deep regard for your and your organizational impression. It is essential that familiarize yourself with your company’s dress code. In most organizations, a copy of the same is issued to the employees or appropriate briefing conducted on it during the induction stage. When it comes to equipping your wardrobe with ‘business professional’ attire, you need to focus on quality rather than numbers. Good quality fabric and good tailoring should be your rule. Your initial investment may be a bit more, but in the long run, it will prove to be cost effective. It is also essential that you take good care of your clothes. An expensive dress can appear to be appalling if it is unclean or ill-fitting.

In respect of men, ‘business professional’ attire means a lounge suit. Of late, wearing a neck-tie seems to have become obsolete, ostensibly because of the inconvenience or discomfort due to our country’s climatic conditions. Nevertheless, on real formal occasions, you simply cannot dispense with it. The colours that men ought to wear should be dark or neutral with matching accessories. As far as women are concerned, the rules that are relevant while going for a formal interview apply to ‘business professional’ attire too. Wearing a saree or a western dress is acceptable. However, it should be made certain that tight, revealing and trendy clothing are not worn at work. The fabrics should be multipurpose and of dark or neutral shades. It is always advisable to stick to clothes that are not very eye-catching. Women should pay particular attention to their accessories in that excessively showy or ostentatious jewellery, gaudy makeup and strong perfumes are avoided.

Today, the concept of formal attire at workplace is gradually giving way to ‘business casuals’. What are ‘business casuals’? Well, it is rather difficult to define or explain what they comprise. There are as many interpretations as there are organizations with each having its own set of rules. However, the guiding factor is to knock off any strict or stiff image that can be generated by business professional attire. Obviously, this has been prompted by an appreciation that an absence of conventionalism at the workplace tends to boost productivity. But dressing casually does not mean dressing shoddily. Whatever is worn ought to be clean, well ironed and in present able state. Special attention needs to be paid to footwear by both men and women. While sport shoes should not be worn by them, men should avoid wearing sandals and boots should be avoided. Likewise, women too should avoid trendy footwear like platform-heels. In case of any doubt, it is always best to be following a traditional path. Remember that you will never be regarded as a professional unless you look like one.


In the context of ‘business casual’ attire for men, the rules may vary greatly from company to company. Jeans and cargo trousers should not be worn. It is best to stick to full-sleeved pinstriped shirts, though you may go in for polo shirts, if conventionally permitted. Under no circumstances, should gaudy and bold print shirts be worn. Even shirts that have business logos of companies and which were perhaps distributed free as a promotional activity should be avoided. It should be remembered that gentlemen always tuck in their shirts. For women, business casuals can prove to be delicately intricate because they have a plethora of choices for both clothing and accessories. To be on the safe side, women should look at what others wear before buying clothes. As a rule, wearing very loose or very tight clothes should be avoided. Ensuring that not too much of leg or mid-rib is seen is what needs to be invariably done. An extreme wearing of accessories should be avoided too. Women tend to be judged by their clothes more severely than their male counterparts. Therefore, they should always have second thoughts about it. However, it should be remembered that both men and women will have no difficulty in moving from a conventional appearance to an informal one. But the opposite could be a monumental problem. In the light of the foregoing, you should be observant to discern what is more suitable. And last but not the least, you must watch out how your boss dresses – taking a leaf out of his book will always stand you in good stead.


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