Tips for Maintaining Proper Dress Code For An Office

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 21 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

New hires often wonder what is expected of their appearance in the new workplace. A dress code for an office makes it easy for them to decide what to wear to work. Knowing more about the common office dress codes can help you feel more confident when choosing an office dress. In this article, we outline the different types of office dress codes, discuss why dress codes are important and share a few tips on how to dress for work.

Why Maintaining A Proper Dress Code For An Office Is Important?

A dress code for an office is a set of guidelines that determine what employees can wear at the workplace. The dress code can vary depending on how employees represent the organisation. For example, employees who interact with different clients can look professional by wearing business formal or business professional attire. Some organisations may prefer you to abide by a casual dress code. They use this mechanism to empower the staff and test their critical skills. Here are some reasons why office dress codes are important:

Related: What Is a Code of Conduct? Importance and Examples

Helps create a long-lasting impression

Meeting new people is an opportunity for you to make a good impression on them. Your appearance is the first thing they notice about you. Dressing professionally at your office can help you bring a solid appearance among other professionals at work. Following the dress code also helps you make a positive impression during interviews and meetings.

Highlights your professionalism

Usually, a proper dress code represents the level of professionalism of a person. Dress codes always match the given industry of the company. For example, all employees at construction sites wear safety gear. Professionals in the business industry mostly dress in business formal or business professional wear. Creative professionals in marketing agencies can wear more business casual dress to express themselves in the little ways they can.

Enhances credibility

Professional clothing helps you create a positive impact on clients. Your professional appearance often gives a feeling of trust and makes people believe that you are trustworthy. This may result in more engagement with clients. Dressing more professionally than your coworkers can also show that you are more sincere and dedicated than others.

Boosts your confidence

Dressing according to your company's dress code can help boost your confidence in the workplace. This makes you feel empowered during working hours. When you feel more confident, you are more likely to take on new challenges and seize new opportunities at work.

Represents your organisation

Employees represent an organisation. Their appearance can say a lot about the company. When they have a set dress code, it shows that the company is serious about following systems and building a strong team spirit through visual uniformity. Dressing professionally can also help you represent a professional and positive image of your company to others. People may get an idea of what the company is about by looking at what you wear.

Improves productivity

Simple things like following a dress code can make you feel a part of the team. This can also help in working comfortably with other professionals. The feeling of belonging to the same team and work environment results in a very productive team.

4 Types Of Dress Codes For An Office

Here are four of the most common types of dress code for an office:

1. Business professional

Many offices prefer their employees to maintain a professional business look. Business professional dress codes are considered conservative and traditional. You can see more flexibility in colours and patterns in this dress code. Here are some examples of business professional dress for men:

  • suits

  • ties

  • dress shoes

  • button-down shirts

  • sweaters

  • cufflinks

  • belts

Some common types of business professional attire for women in the office include:

  • pantsuits

  • skirts

  • suits

  • dresses

  • button-down shirts

  • jackets

  • sweaters

  • dress shoes, flats or heels

2. Business formal

Business formal is the highest level of professional dress code at many offices. With this dress code, employees maintain a high standard and professionalism in their appearance. Here are some examples of business formal attire for men in the office:

  • tailored suits

  • ties

  • button-up collared shirts

Here are some common types of business formal attire for women in the office:

  • pantsuits

  • skirt suits

  • jackets

  • collared blouses

3. Business casual

Business casual dress code is more informal than business formal and business professional attire. Business casual attire allows professionals to be comfortable around the office. This type of dress code is also helpful for formal interviews. Each company has its own business casual dress code. This type of dress code is standard for most workplaces. Here are a few examples of business casual attire for men in the office:

  • button-down shirts

  • pants

  • blazers

  • sweaters

  • polo shirts

  • knit shirt with collars

  • nice belts

  • dress shoes or loafers

Some examples of business casual attire for women in the office include:

  • slacks

  • polo shirts

  • sweaters

  • pants

  • knee-length skirts

  • cardigans

  • hosiery

  • button-down shirts

  • blazers

  • simple shoes, flats or heels

  • belts

  • scarves

  • simple jewellery

Related: Business Casual Attire Tips for Indian Employees

4. Casual

The casual dress code is less formal than the business casual dress code. Employees can wear informal and relaxed clothing as casual attire in a professional way. Many organisations set specific guidelines for casual clothing in the dress code policy. Employees avoid any dirty, torn or revealing clothes at the workplace. Companies expect employees to follow the casual dress code and still maintain a level of professionalism. Casual attire for men in the office may include:

  • casual pants

  • slacks

  • crew-neck sweaters

  • collared polos

  • light jackets

The following items are considered acceptable for a casual dress code for women in an office:

  • skirts

  • slacks

  • tops

  • cardigans

  • blouses

Tips For Deciding What To Wear At The Office

Here are some tips to help you dress appropriately for work:

Review the dress code

Check if your company has a set dress code. Most companies share any such guidelines in the employee handbook. If you can find a dress code section in your employee handbook, consider following those guidelines to decide what to wear. You can also pay attention to what your fellow professionals are wearing. This can help you decide what type of clothing is suitable for the office. New employees can also consult the hiring manager about what their dress code policy is. Make sure you follow the basics and are always dressed appropriately in the office.

Choose dresses that are comfortable to wear

You want to choose an office dress that is professional looking yet comfortable to wear. By wearing a comfortable dress, you can focus more on your work. If your office lacks a dress code policy, you can keep certain standards in mind and dress accordingly. For example, jeans may be acceptable, but you may want to avoid ripped or frayed jeans. It is also important to determine your level of comfort. Consider the type of work you are doing and dress accordingly. For example, physical jobs require a more comfortable dress than a desk job.

Collaborate with coworkers

Speak with your coworkers about the nuances of different dress codes for company events, especially if they have longevity with the organisation. You can also observe what your seniors wear on workdays and learn from them. Also, notice what your managers and coworkers wear at office parties and model your wardrobe after what they are wearing.

Check company policies for tattoos

Tattoos and piercings usually affect the workplace culture unless you are working in a casual office. Except for piercings in women's ears, other facial piercings negatively affect your office dress. Talk to hiring managers about the policy on tattoos and piercings. You can conceal your tattoos by using the following tips:

  • Wear pants that can cover up your leg tattoos.

  • Wear a shirt that covers your hand tattoos.

  • Use accessories such as scarves for hiding neck tattoos.

Follow proper grooming and cleanliness methods

Maintaining cleanliness can keep you energised and help you focus on your work. Make sure the outfit you are picking is clean and free of wrinkles. You can wake up early and give yourself some extra time to groom properly every morning. This helps you to look clean and focused at work. Make sure you have enough time to brush your teeth, shower and comb your hair properly. You can avoid unwashed or wrinkly clothes to look more professional at your office. You can look more prepared and organised by following proper grooming methods like cutting your nails.

Iron your clothes properly

Ironing your clothes is another essential step to dress professionally. Iron your clothes each night before work or early in the morning to remove all noticeable wrinkles from your clothes. Make sure you hang your clothes in an area that is unreachable from pets to avoid any unwanted cat or dog hair. Wearing a wrinkle-free and clean dress at work shows that you have prepared well for your job.

  • What To Wear: The Best Job Interview Attire
  • A Complete Guide to Business Casual for Men (With Tips)
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