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Dressing for work

Lots of people have the same problems every day – what to wear for their job. Here are universal basic advices how to dress properly.

Dress codes depend on a company's industry and culture. Some work environments have a dress code that all who works there must follow. It will be not necessary written, if in doubt about company rules, ask HR or your supervisor or simply just look around you what your co-workers are wearing.

Fundamentals

Even if your company don’t have a dressing code it doesn’t mean that anything goes. No matter where are you working and what do you wear keep your clothes neat and clean in every circumstance. Your shoes should be always in good condition – clear and polished every day even if wearing for your job is casual.

Formal attire

Even if you aren’t banker or manager, you need sometimes to wear formal attire – for job interview, meeting with your customer or business contact or to make your company presentation. Even if fashion changes, basic rules in formal wearing stays.

Businessmen

For formal meeting men should wear full solid colour two-piece matched suit (navy, dark grey or even charcoal). Your suit should be wool or gabardine; your pants will be long enough to touch the front of the shoe. Avoid double-breasted jackets.

Long sleeve shirt cotton buttoned up shirt should be white, light blue or ecru. Sleeve should beyond jacket sleeves by ½ inch. Avoid shirts with insignias. Wear white or pale blue dress shirt. Take a silk tie in conservative pattern or in solid colours darker than your shirt.

Take coordinated leather belt and leather shoes with laces – black or brown. Belt and shoes should match together. Take blue or black socks that matched with your suit. They should be pulled up over your calves so no skin will be seen even if you sit down.

Do not take too much jewellery – ring, watch, glasses and tiepin are enough. Only silver or gold is allowed. If you have earring put them out. Also avoid bracelets and necklaces. Your hair should be short, clean and neatly groomed, not touching the collar of your shirt. Facial hair should be neatly trimmed. Use your perfume and cologne very light or not any.

Businesswomen

Women should take skirt or pant suit in solid colour (grey, black, brown, beige or navy) with buttoned up shirt. Your skirt should be conservative with no high slits. Use neutral stockings, which match with your skin and leather closed toes pumps or sling backs. Shoes should be darker colour than your suit.

Take light coloured silk or cotton blouse and make sure you don’t have big cut-out and you don’t have any gaps between buttonholes – there is no place for sexuality. Keep jackets buttoned. Don’t wear blouse with too many buttons, camisole or see through blouse. All your clothes should fit but be free of visible panty lines.

Your jewellery should be gold or silver and you can take broaches, necklace, ring, small earrings and glasses. Don’t take bangle bracelets or else anything noisy.

Make your make up subtle and neutral. Nail polish and lip colour should not be too trendy or bright. If you have long or wavy hair pull them back – don’t leave them fall in your face or obscures your eyebrows. If you have any visible piercing (on face or your ears) put them out.

Business casual attire

Business-casual clothing is an opportunity to work in a more relaxed but still professional and neat, type of clothing.

Casual for women

Business casual dress for women means a business pants or skirts which neither should be tight. Colours should be solid – black, grey, navy, brown or khaki. Wear leather or fabric/microfiber shoes with a low or flat heal - athletic shoes or extremely dressy sandals are inappropriate. A nice open-toed shoe should be appropriate in the summer.

If you’re wearing skirt it would be at least at your knees while you are standing. Pantyhose aren’t always necessary but take them if you wear shorter skirt. Wear conservative, tailored blouses, shirts and sweaters, which should not be too tight. Don’t expose too much skin. Blazer or vest is appropriate.

Leave piercing at home; wear just earrings, conservative watch, rings and glasses. Belt, scarf, and accessories should remain understated. Your make-up should be natural and conservative and your perfume will be used very lightly.

Unacceptable are halter-tops, flip-flops or any kind of beachwear as same as miniskirts, shorts and baseball caps. Even blue jeans are not mostly a good choice.

Casual for men

Man should wear solid colour trousers (black, grey, khaki and so on) and long-sleeve white or blue shirt (it’s better than short-sleeve even in hot summer). Business or sports jacket is appropriate. Tie is not necessary but if you want take a conservative one (but do not use it if you are wearing shot-sleeve shirt!).

Anyway you don’t have to stay within this uniform – try to wear polo shirt, sport shirts with jacket or cardigans. Even cotton jacket with informal shirt is ok – it’s comfortable and looks simple and polished.

Your belt and shoes should be leather – athletic shoes or sandals are inappropriate even in summer. Wear dark socks pulled up over the calf. Jewellery should be minimal - a conservative watch and wedding rings are okay. Although more men are wearing earrings these days, remove them and any other piercing.

Back bags and slouchy handbags look sloppy. Take care about details – check if no buttons are missing, remove all external tags and stitches from new clothes. Have your clean and neatly pressed, nails groomed and clean, your shoes polished.

Observe!

Most important at the end - If you aren't sure what is more appropriate, keep in mind it is better to overdress than underdressed. Observe other people in your industry to see what is acceptable. If you still can’t decide look what is your boss dressing and you can’t make a mistake.

As we said dress codes are different in each company and each country. Try to adapt yourself to your environment.

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