There are many answers to this question; depending on your profession, the image you want to project at work, your company's dress code, or whether or not you want to promote into your company, the type of outfits and style will be completely different.
A dress code is a set of rules for what you can or not wear to different events or places. Companies use these dress codes to define the image they want their company to convey.
Even though dress codes are intended to facilitate what to wear and avoid misunderstandings, not everyone knows how to interpret them. In this post, I will explain each type of dress code that we can find and some examples of each of them.
4 Types of dress codes for the workplace
Business formal: This is the most professional and traditional attire of all the dress codes. You should wear tailored suits and ties for men and suits or tailored dresses for women; the length of the skirt must be below the knee. Moreover, colours must be neutral (black, navy, grey), avoiding prints on shirts or ties and bold jewellery.
Business professional: This is a very formal dress code that is still significantly conservative and traditional, but you can play more with colours or patterns. In addition, for this occasion, you can introduce some jewellery.
Business casual: This is a more relaxed look in which you do not need to wear a suit, but you need to look professional. You can wear trousers pair them with a shirt or jumper plus a jacket. I recommend for this dress code to keep an eye on accessories since it is what will make the difference. Add a belt or a pair of good shoes, and you will nail it.
Casual: this is the most informal dress code, but I always like to say that an office is a professional space of work, and even if it is a casual environment, you should look presentable. Even if your boss wears shorts in summer, I do not recommend you do it.
What to wear on your first day at work?
If you start working in a new company and have not been given a dress code, I suggest researching the company. If you can't find any information about the dress code, search how people usually dress in that sector. Or, if it's something you don't want to go wrong with, ask HR about the company's dress code.
When you start working in a company, I advise you to look at how your boss dresses; In general, it will give you indications about the type of outfit that fits better in the office. Also, your colleagues will be a good reference point since they have been working there longer and know what is or is not allowed.
During the pandemic years, the dress code of the companies has indeed been relaxed, and now that we are returning to the offices, we are benefiting from the more relaxed style that has marked these years. Still, it would be best not to lose sight of professionalism when presenting yourself again in your offices.
If you think all this is too complicated and you want the process of knowing what to wear to work to be stress-free, I have the Corporative and Executive Styling experience dedicated to this kind of problem, get in touch and let's have a chat!
How many outfits do you need for work?
There are jobs where the clothes you wear to the office are the same clothes you wear in your free time. If this is your case, you are in luck because you will be able to make the most of the clothes you have in your wardrobe, and you will have a lot of different options and outfits.
I recommend you create your own capsule wardrobe, prioritise investing in good quality pieces that will last a long time, and you won't have to renew them constantly. Make sure you take care of them following the recommendations that you will find on the labels to keep them in good shape for longer.
If, on the other hand, your work and free time clothes are different, you will have to be very clear about the message you want to transmit in the office. This will help you choose a capsule wardrobe with five to ten outfits that make you feel authentic and empowered.
It is essential that "you wear the clothes" and not "the clothes wear you" at work. With that sentence, I want you to understand that it is crucial to feel comfortable in your workwear and not have to adjust them constantly.
But this doesn't mean that your work outfits have to be boring and impersonal, you can look for stylish and comfortable outfits, as you will be wearing your clothes for long hours.
I also recommend you invest in good quality clothes, believe it or not, this kind of clothes have a design made with patterns with much more detail and less generic than the ones you can find in high street.
Furthermore, the materials will influence your comfort and make you look polished; pick natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool or cashmere and avoid polyester. This will not let your body breathe, and you will sweat easily.
If you are about to go back to the office or you have already done it, and you need inspiration urgently, there are celebrities you can take inspiration from. They have an unmistakable style, so copying some of their outfits will help you get cool work outfits with which never fail. Just don't forget to adapt them to your tastes and needs.
Be stylish at work
Here are 5 looks to wear from Monday to Friday from the best-dressed women of today's scene.
Kate Middleton: dressing head to toe in blue, this combination visually elongates her figure and makes her look taller. She combined the look with flared trousers that are so popular this season and that are super comfortable to sit in the office without having tight legs.
Holly Willoughby: She is wearing a leather skirt and a jumper in the same tone, a conservative look, elegant but with a powerful touch given by the leather.
Olivia Palermo: no matter what she wears, she's always elegant. In this photo, she is wearing a pair of flare jeans with a white shirt that we all have in our wardrobe and a blazer with a lot of character. A great example of a comfortable smart-casual outfit.
Meghan Markle: dressed with a shirt dress, the perfect spring outfit to wear with a trench coat and that you can take to the office as well as to your summer holidays.
Victoria Beckham: this is the perfect outfit for casual Fridays, tailored trousers with an oversized warm jumper, we know that in offices it's usually a bit cold, you can wear it with smart trainers or loafers if you want to look a bit smarter.
If you still need some help on how to dress for work I would be delighted to hear from you. Let's have a chat and let me help you find the authentic and stylish image you need!