Make us your home page
Instagram
Working | Attire

Dress appropriately on the job

Recently, I attended a business-related workshop where the dress code was listed as "nice business casual." I saw everything from formal business attire (suits) to jeans, cutoffs and T-shirts. I heard several people commenting about how confusing today's dress code has gotten. I had to agree with this; it seems we are seeing all kinds of dress (or undress) at work these days. • Even if the standards have gotten more relaxed over the years, people still think a person's clothes send a signal about his or her professionalism, which impacts the reputation of the company. • In general, clothes should be clean, unwrinkled and look professional. Your clothes should have a good fit and anything too revealing is definitely inappropriate. Err on the side of being more conservative. Joyce E.A. Russell, special to the Washington Post

Hats: Usually hats and ball caps are seen as inappropriate in the office. This doesn't include head covers worn for religious purposes.

Footwear: Dress heels, deck-type shoes, loafers, flats, dress boots and walking shoes are usually considered appropriate. What are often inappropriate are flip-flops, slippers, hiking boots, sneakers and overly flashy athletic shoes. Key to remember: Shoes should be clean and polished (not scuffed).

Slacks, pants and suit pants: Generally those slacks that are wool, flannel, corduroy, linen, cotton (such as khakis) or nice-looking capris (for women) are acceptable. Inappropriate: jeans, sweat pants, leather pants, cargo pants, short shorts, leggings, biking shorts, exercise pants and overalls.

Skirts, dresses and skirted suits: Casual dresses and skirts of a length that let you sit comfortably in public are fine (usually skirts should fall to the knee). Short, tight skirts, miniskirts, beach or sun dresses and spaghetti-strap dresses are inappropriate for the office.

Shirts, tops, jackets and blouses: Usually casual button-down oxford shirts, dress shirts, sweaters or golf shirts are seen as acceptable at work. Inappropriate tops: tank tops, midriff tops, halter tops or shirts with offensive graphics (logos, pictures, slogans) or sweat shirts. Basic white and chambray are good colors. For women, sweater sets are also fine.

Accessories (jewelry, makeup, perfume or cologne, scarves, belts): Accessories should be conservative and in good taste. Wear perfume and cologne sparingly since some people are allergic.

Joyce E.A. Russell is the director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist and has more than 25 years of experience coaching executives and consulting on leadership, negotiations and career management.

Dress appropriately on the job 11/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, special to the Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact Florida: How would Florida fare in Graham-Cassidy health care bill?

    National

    Following a sharp rebuke by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., hit the airwaves to defend his bill that would undo much of the Affordable Care Act.

    Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
  2. What ever happened to the Zika epidemic?

    Health

    Remember Zika?

    The last time Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians about the potential threat of the mosquito-borne virus was in July, when he urged residents to still be vigilant against bug bites and standing water. At the time, doctors and researchers were bracing for what was supposed to be another active summer …

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting Zika. Cases of the virus are down dramatically in Florida.
  3. Pinellas licensing board needs cash. Will the county give it any?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– The grand jury that said Pinellas County should not take over the troubled construction licensing board also said the county should bail out the agency before it goes broke in 2018.

    Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long isn't keen on the idea of the county loaning money to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board afloat. The county has no say over the independent agency, which could run out of funding in 2018. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  4. Is the Bundt cake back? How retro baked goods are becoming trendy again

    Cooking

    Once there were grunts and slumps, buckles and brown betties. Oh, and pandowdies and sonkers. In the olden days, people routinely made angel food cakes, tomato soup cakes and hummingbird cakes. These were not Duncan Hines mixes, but rather confections made from scratch following yellowed and stained recipes in your …

    Nothing Bundt Cakes in Tampa offers a variety of options, from tiny “bundtinis” and 10-inch cakes that serve 18 to 20 people. Core flavors include lemon, marble, red velvet and chocolate-chocolate chip, with featured flavors like confetti.
  5. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]