Schedule Free Consultation

Christine Vartanian sitting in a clear chair in front of a white wall wearing a black shirt and hot pink blazer, holding a laptop in her left hand and wearing 3 layers of eyeglasses stacked up her face

What Not to Wear at Work

What not to wear to work is dictated by each individual work environment.  Nowadays, we have so many categories of office dress code and what is appropriate can be confusing. From business formal, business casual, causal to fashion forward, the range is broad. 

Offices in the legal, finance or banking worlds continue to stick to the traditional business formal attire. On the other hand, if you work in a trendy environment, being fashion forward is completely acceptable and may even be expected. However, there still are unspoken guidelines for how to show up at the office.

First impressions are a powerful tool in business. It’s important to dress the part in the workplace to give an “I mean business” impression.  Think about it this way. Your attire and accessories should not take over and distract from your genius. Make sense?

Here are the top 10 faux pas when stepping into the boardroom:

01. Jingling Jewelry

Want to express yourself with glitzy jewelry? Think again. Make sure the jewels you wear aren’t loud and reflective.  Big bangles that clack when you are taking notes on the boardroom table, or jingle when you walk into a meeting are very distracting.  You want your colleagues to notice your work, not your jewels.

02. Bra straps or underwear that shows

Bra straps are never meant to be seen – not even in the era of clear straps.  There is nothing about those that worked. Never was, never will be.

03. See through or sheer clothes

Sheer pieces may be interesting when you are on a date, but there is no place for them in the office. They are fun and sexy, but there is no reason to highlight sexy at work.

04. skintight clothes

Tight clothes tend to show off the figure. Here again sexy is not the impression you want to give at the office.  Remember, we want them to notice the person not the sexy clothes.

05. Too much make up

How much is too much? Go easy on the eyeshadow, neutral on the lip and avoid nails that are overly embellished. Keep it natural and you are good to go.

06. wrinkled clothes

A good impression cannot be made with an outfit that looks like you pulled it out of the hamper.  Make sure you look sharp by having pressed clothes on. Besides, showing up with wrinkled clothes can give the impression that you are sloppy – not good when trying to impress a boss or colleague.

07. Too much perfume

The problem with fragrance or too much of it is that many people are allergic to scents. In the workplace there is no escaping a strong odor, albeit pleasant.

08. shoes that are too loud

Last thing you want is to announce yourself in every corner of the office, because your heels clunk as you walk down the hall to your boss’ office. Sometimes adding felt strips can help but do consider your shoes before stepping out to work.

09. jewelry that sinks right into the cleavage 

You want to avoid the “X marks the spot” effect.  With jewelry that falls right into the cleavage, the eye is drawn right to that spot.

10. off the shoulder tops

Work clothes should not be too revealing. Off the shoulder tops show too much skin and are not the best fit for work.

You are smart, gifted and you are a go getter. You are certainly entitled to staying true to your style, just make sure you keep your peers and superiors focused on your talent!