Updated: Nov 29, 2020
Business wear is not that straight-forward, especially if you are at the beginning of your professional career. What should you wear? How? On which occasion?
This article will give you some advice to be the smartest and most elegant within your business environment. And remember: you can never be overdressed at work. Even if you are young and not (yet) earning a fortune, a well-chosen business outfit will help you get the respect of your clients, your managers and your colleagues. Because, yes, appearance do matter. Companies usually even have policies that describe how you must dress. Moreover, everyone knows that first impressions are significant and you want yours to be memorable by sending a positive predictive message of employee excellence.
Here are a few tricks to understand business wear, enabling you to crack its codes.
Business attire ranges from traditional and formal to smart casual and business casual.
Traditional Business Wear - Most Formal
Gentlemen: wear a formal suit with a necktie and business shirt. A formal suit is composed of matching pants and jacket in sober colours like blue, grey and black. Then, upscale the outfit with leather-looking dress shoes, appropriate conservative leather-looking accessories such as briefcases, portfolios, and diaries. It is of better taste to keep accessories like watches and cologne subtle.
Ladies: wear a skirt or pant suit with a formal business blouse or top. An alternative to a suit is a smart dress. Jumpsuits can also be selected. They are often very elegant. A scarf is always a plus to a business outfit. It allows you to distinguish yourself. Complement the outfit with stockings, closed-toe leather shoes, conservative business accessories such as a briefcase or a leather-looking folder for pads of paper. It is better to be light on jewelry, makeup, and perfume.
If you follow traditional business wear within your professional environment, you can never be mistaken. Yet, not all companies require that level of formality. Thus, you might also wish to dress-up a bit less formally, for example in smart casual business wear.
Smart Casual Business Wear - A Step-down from Formality
Gentleman: you can wear sports jacket with a tie, dress pants, button-down or traditional business shirt or nice turtleneck, dress shoes, and attractive accessories as described in traditional business wear.
Ladies: you can select a jacket or dressy sweater and match it with dress pants or skirt, blouse, shirt, top or turtleneck, hose. An alternative is a also a dress or a jumpsuit. Then, come dress shoes, and accessories as described in traditional business attire.
Business Casual - Best for Casual Fridays
Business Casual is slightly more casual than smart casual and permits more comfortable cuts and fabrics. Again, ensure your company policy allows it. It is best suited for casual Fridays.
Gentlemen: you outfit would consist of khakis or dress pants, shirts with collars or golf or polo shirts, sweaters and vests. Occasionally, it can consist of an informal jacket and tie. Finally, add attractive leather-like shoes and accessories.
Ladies: you can choose between nice pants or skirt, various dresses and jumpsuits, blouse, top, or sweater. You can add a vest or an informal jacket. Finally, attractive shoes and accessories.
As mentioned previously, wearing business traditional is the safe choice. Cultivating your image can help you show-up in the best light, and wearing the appropriate business wear is part of that image and the message you want to send to others.