A Guide to Nailing Business Attire for Women


(Image credit: @natashandlovu)

Navigating the world of businesswear can sometimes prove to be quite tricky. Add in different office dress codes and, well, it becomes so confusing to know what's technically work appropriate and what's not. Of course, the first thing you should always do is take a look at the policies specific to your workplace to get the best idea of what you can wear. Some companies are laxer with their requirements (where jeans and casual Fridays are a common thing), while others are more business-oriented.

So it's no secret that business attire varies by industry. For example, in the world of fashion, there's a bit more freedom with one's outfits. But if you're working at a law firm, you likely want to stick with slightly dressier pieces. Though business attire does, in fact, differ across the board, we thought we'd put together an easy-to-follow guide of some things to keep in mind while getting ready for a workday, regardless of industry. Read on to see our tips, and then shop some great office staples.

Don't: Wear Anything That's Too Revealing 

Do: Stick With More Modest Necklines and Longer Hemlines

This one is obvious and so easy to follow. Try to avoid wearing pieces that are too revealing to the office (or something your mom wouldn't necessarily approve of).

Don't: Wear Leggings or Yoga Pants

Do: Wear Sleek Trousers (or, If Allowed, Dressy Jeans)

Reserve your leggings and yoga pants for a workout session at the gym or lounging at home. For work, opt for elegant trousers or jeans that feel slightly more dressier (that means no rips).

Don't: Go Overboard With Accessories

Do: Stick to a Few Classic Pieces

A pretty gold necklace, sleek pearl earrings, or classic hoops will never fail you when it comes to accessorizing your office outfit.

Don't: Go Overboard With Your Makeup

Do: Find a Soft, Understated Everyday Lipstick and Blush

You can't go wrong with a classic nude or soft, understated pink pout. A simple swipe of mascara and a bit of blush will do.

Don't: Go With Sheer Fabrics

Do: Pick Cotton, Silk, or Similiar Fabrics

Sheer fabrics are a no-go when it comes to the office. Instead, go for crisp, clean, medium-weight materials like cotton, silk, or a heavier linen blend.

Don't: Wear Flip-Flops or Sandals

Do: Pick Refined Heels or Sleek Flats

Skip the beach shoes and opt for something more classic and refined. Cool details like transparent block heels or mesh details are certainly encouraged.

Don't: Show Up in a Logo Tee

Do: Stick With a Simple Black, White, or Gray Tee

Save that band tee for your street style outfits. In the office, choose something sleek and simple, like a classic white T-shirt. Plus, the wardrobe staple pairs well with other workwear essentials, like trousers and blazers.

Next up, read our guide on the dos and don'ts of cocktail attire.

Eva Thomas