These days, there are no hard and fast rules for choosing office wear. There was a time when women had to wear stockings, even in the height of summer, with no bare legs. It used to be mandatory for men to wear a jacket whenever they left the office building for lunch.
However, what you wear still holds a lot of importance, despite the fact that business attire has become much more relaxed over time. Whether you are going for an interview or are already an employee somewhere, you have to pay attention to what you are wearing. Observing the correct professional dress code during an interview is the first step but after then, adhering to the organizational dress culture afterwards will help you be successful in your career in the longer term.
So what should you choose?
For an interview
First, find out what the dress code is. Now make an effort to look even better. But make sure you don’t over-dress so that you feel uncomfortable or awkward. If you arrive over-dressed in a casual environment then could jeopardise you chances of selection. In this case, wear something smart; e.g. men should go for a decent pair of trousers and open neck shirt. Ladies should choosefor a nice skirt and top. It’s always better to avoid denim and t-shirts.
For the office
A wardrobe full of expensive clothes is not always possible to begin with. If you have just entered the corporate world, start from scratch and build up your wardrobe gradually , choosing good quality basics and classic attire. If you have limited funds or time, start with a small, capsule wardrobe instead.
- Do not pick clothes solely on the basis of fashion – select classic that will last.
- Look out for bargains. There are many shops which offer great clothes at lower prices. Do your research before shopping and always check the good brands, since they often hold sales. Also, read instructions for washing before buying to make sure they are not too costly to maintain.
- Girls may smarten up with scarves, a little bit of jewellery and an embellished top. Men can achieve a professional look for less by wearing good quailty ties with less expensive shirts.
- If your clothes do not fit properly, they can look cheap. So always invest in alterations.
- Go for natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, linen and silk and not man-made fabrics. Avoid polyester.
- Choose dresses which can be worn in different seasons.
You need to put effort in other things as well as good clothing. Women should choose ‘moderate’ shoes without overly-long, spiky heels. Jewellery should not be over the top. Hair should be neat and tidy and you should never look as if you are on your way to a party. Wear make-up and perfume but keep it restrained and always have manicured nails.
Men should go for dark socks, decent, polished shoes, a well-groomed hairstyle, mild aftershave and clean, trimmed nails.