What to Wear to Work in an Office Setting

When you were making career plans, did you think about your wardrobe? If you haven't, now is a great time to put some thought into your closet.

What you wear to an interview can say a lot about you. Even if you are apply for an entry-level position, you should still show your enthusiasm and respect for the job by dressing appropriately.

Professional Attire Doesn't Just Apply to Interviews

Dressing professionally means you have the right wardrobe on a daily basis, not just for your interview. From office to office and across the different industries, style expectations can vary. If you are unsure what the dress code is for your new workplace, be sure to ask someone from the Human Resources department.

Here are a few guidelines to help you dress professionally:

For Women

  • Keep colours subtle and opt to use colour in your accessories to make a bold statement
  • Jewelry should be simple 
  • Keep footwear conservative. Heels should not be too high - 2 - 3 inches is acceptable (provided you can walk comfortably and confidently in them!)
  • Look for tailored pants, dresses or skirts (not more than an inch or two above the knee). Blazers and sweaters can help you keep warm in the winter months. 
  • Keep your hair simple and out of your face
  • Make sure your make up is simple and minimal

For Men

  • Look for dress pants and collared shirts as your staples - bonus if they can be wrinkle free! If not, make sure your clothes are ironed before wearing
  • Blazers, sports jackets, tailored sweaters and leather dress shoes can add some variety to your wardrobe
  • Depending on your workplace, a tie can be a nice touch
  • Wear neutral-coloured pants - black, khaki, navy or grey
  • Clean grooming is always on trend - if you have facial hair, make sure it is groomed and tidy. 

On your first day, dress more formally and observe what your boss and others at the office wear. This can help you figure out the dress code at your workplace. As the saying goes, "Dress for the job you want, not for the job that you have." If the dress code is more on the casual side, it might show ambition to dress up a bit!

If you are putting together your first professional closet, don't hesitate to contact the Employment Specialists and Career Services at your campus. They have many years of experience in the field and can help you with any questions you have in putting together a professional closet.