Many offices have relaxed their policies on dress code over the years, and with good reason; research indicates that strict dress codes can actually drive away talent. One UK style website found that dress codes can have a negative effect on the work culture and even lower an employee’s productivity.
But if you’re hoping to get ahead in your career, what you wear to work still matters. Your outfit is a reflection of your professionalism. Overly unprofessional clothing can end up sabotaging your career, especially if you commit one of the following office-wear blunders:
Flip Flops or Beachwear
In the warmer months, it’s natural to opt for more airy footwear in lieu of closed-toed shoes. But if you want senior management to take you seriously, leave your flip flops at home and save them for your trips to the pool. Instead, pick stylish summer sandals. Other alternatives for women could include ballerina flats, or open-toe mules.
Anything else you would normally wear to the beach should also be off limits. This includes cutoffs, tube tops, tank tops, halters, sunglasses, or anything showing your midriff.
No bra straps or any other undergarments should be visible beneath your work wear. If you’re wearing a sleeveless top, opt for a racerback bra underneath so that the straps don’t show. Underwear should never peak above the waistband, so save your low-rise pants for the weekends.
Heavily Layered Jewelry
Jewelry is perfectly fashionable for the workplace. But if you’re jingling as you walk, it’s too much. Instead of layering your necklaces or wearing an army of bangles, pare it down to a simple statement necklace a pair earrings.
Offensive or Controversial T-shirts
Tees with graphics or prints are fun to wear and can be okay to wear in a casual workplace, just keep it free of offensive language or imagery. Offices often contain a wide range of personalities, and what is funny to you could be construed as insensitive or offensive to your colleagues.
This one’s for the gentlemen. While your shirts don’t need to be buttoned right up to the neck, stop a button or two short of any chest-hair peeking out.
Jeans, slacks, and khakis are okay in a casual office, but draw the line at yoga pants. They are great for the gym, but aren’t tailored enough to make the grade at the office. This goes for leggings too, unless you are pairing them with a long tunic or dress.
You can still portray your invdividuality and keep a casual style without compromising your professionalism. If you’re not sure if an outfit is right for the office, ask yourself this question: If you had a surprise meeting with a VIP client or the CEO of the company, are these the clothes you’d want to be wearing? Dress for success with well-coordinated, casual office wear.