It can be incredibly challenging for a woman to know what she should or shouldn't wear in the office.
Some women dress a little too provocatively, possibly making their male coworkers uncomfortable or, even worse, making their coworkers or bosses view them as “unprofessional.”
Some women may also be afraid of not being taken seriously and dress too conservatively. Ideally, women should aim for a happy medium — not inappropriate, but also not frumpy.
Rules to Dressing Fashionably and Appropriately
Among the things to keep in mind before you dress for the work day:
Know what fits you. Squeezing into size-four slacks that are clearly too small isn't doing anyone any favors. Sure, we all wish we were the same size as we were in college, but the reality is only a few women can fit into those same clothes a decade later. Getting married, having kids, and having a metabolism slow way down are all contributing factors to gaining weight. Buy clothes that fit you now, not clothes you wish fit you or clothes that will fit you sometime in the future.
Don't be afraid of color. Dressing conservatively while still being fashionable is made easy by adding color to your wardrobe. Don't be afraid of that bright yellow blazer or blue-fitted sweater. If you're not quite ready to add bright colors to your working wardrobe, try adding bold accessories or heels.
The dress makes the woman. Or is it, “the woman makes the dress”? Either way, be willing to wear dresses to the office. They're feminine, dainty, and perfect for spring. A few rules to go by: make sure the length is no shorter than an inch above the knee, don't wear revealing necklines, and avoid dresses that are too casual, unless you plan on pairing them with a blazer or sweater.
Wear heels. Heels are a way to convey power and professionalism without looking too sexy. They're best worn with slacks, skirts, and knee-length dresses. Some offices require closed-toed heels, whereas other offices may let you get by with some straps or a peep-toe shoe. As with color, be willing to wear brighter-colored shoes to express your personality and liven up your outfit.
Tip: If you're not quite sure if your skirt or dress is long enough, always wear flats.
Add prints. It's no longer a fashion faux pas to mix prints with colors. Consider wearing a striped black-and-white blouse with pink flats, or a sequined top underneath a fitted black blazer. Bright florals are in for spring, along with hints of lace. If you do decide to wear prints, keep the rest of the outfit low-key with minimal accessories.
Determining whether or not an outfit is too sexy for the workplace is simple.
After getting dressed, ask yourself if you think the outfit is too provocative. If you have even the slightest feeling that it might be, than it probably is.
Make it less provocative by adding a button-up sweater, changing into pants, or wearing flats instead of three-inch heels.
At the end of the day, simple changes go a long way in terms of clothing.
Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ with her husband and two daughters. She's passionate about writing, traveling, cooking and spending time with her family. Her writing topics include food and nutrition, travel, personal finance and small business. Sites she writes for include ripoffreport.com and those discussing college degrees.