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Appropriate Attire for the Office – What Not to Wear

An example of appropriate office attire.

by Jenna Ghosheh

I have worked with many women across all industries, and there are some basic fundamentals of office attire that women frequently have questions about. Here are 5 basic tips of what not to wear to the office.

Keep in mind that you should dress for the position desired, not the position you have, always.

What Not to Wear

1.  Cleavage
Never appropriate.  There are ways to look feminine and stylish without showing cleavage.  First impressions are formed within a matter of seconds, and skimpy outfits automatically send a message of “I got this job because of my looks, not my ability”.  It’s unfortunate, but true.

2.  Skirt Length
This can vary across different industries and someone’s height.   For the most part, under the knee, at the knee, above the knee, or ⅓ above the knee are all options.  Taller women have to be careful because ⅓ above the knee could look quite scandalous.

3. Shoes
No running shoes, clear platform heels, or Teva sandals!  Running shoes are absolutely grotesque for the workplace.  There are plenty of shoe brands that offer comfort with office appropriateness.  That doesn’t mean you have to wear heels everyday, either.  Simple flats or wedges suffice. For those of you who like height, tasteful platform pumps are fine to wear at most office environments.  You can also have fun with color.

4.  Shorts
Never an option.  I wouldn’t even recommend them for a company BBQ.

5.  Size
The way how clothing fits is especially important.  For example, wearing an outfit that is 2 sizes too small or 2 sizes too big.  If it’s too small, it will look ridiculous, and you will be the talk of the office and not in a good way.  If it’s too big, it will give off a “lazy” and “sloppy” look.

Some might think these tips are common sense, but all of us know of that one or two people who don’t follow the rules.  What is the general impression of that person in your office?  I’m sure it is not a positive one.  If you have have strong ideas about a person in your office, what must they think of you?  The good news is that you are in control of your personal and professional image.

More examples of appropriate attire in addition to the article’s featured image.  Notice that professional wear doesn't mean boxy, ugly, and unfashionable. 

About Jenna Ghosheh

Jenna Ghosheh is the Founder and Lead Image Consultant of Status Image Consulting headquartered in San Jose, CA.  She is a Bay Area native with a keen eye for both success and style. After graduating from Cornell University’s prestigious Hotel School, Jenna went on to manage both small and large hotels, including a 3,000 room property in Las Vegas. With her innate sense of fashion, Jenna soon became the “go-to” for style advice among friends and coworkers. Having a passion for the subject, Jenna was more than happy to help. Seeing what a difference her advice made in their personal and professional lives, Jenna decided to follow her talent and further her education in Textiles & Design. It was then that Status Image Consulting was born! Jenna now works with individuals and corporations on the art of the first impression and bringing out their absolute best.

www.statusimageconsulting.com

Photo credits:

1, 3, 4 - Anntaylor.com

2 - ArdenB.com

5 - Talbots.com

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