the trendy professional’s guide to office wear

While many offices have become more casual in their dress codes over the years, most offices probably still retain an unwritten dress code that can sometimes be hard to define. For employees, it is usually safer to dress in a more conservative style. However, doing so does not mean you need to compromise on your personal sense of style. Here are some guidelines and ideas for dressing stylishly for the office.

Things to avoid when dressing for the office

Wearing casual clothes to the office should generally be avoided unless you’re dressing for a casual Friday. It is probably a good idea to leave items such as tight leggings, distressed denim, and shorts for weekends.


Showing too much skin, cleavage, or the midriff is also best omitted in professional situations. Bra straps should be out of sight, and anything even vaguely see-through should be worn with a slip or undergarment.

Hemlines are a common dilemma when it comes to dressing for the office. As a general rule of thumb, skirts should be no shorter than a few inches above the knee.

Anything too tight should be avoided, along with flip-flops and open-toed shoes. Comfortable yet office-appropriate items such as flats can be worn for commutes.

Staying stylish for the office

It is possible to dress stylishly for the office and still express your personality through your choice of outfits. The creative-professional style is a great example of office-appropriate wear that integrates individuality and style. Include at least one business-like item in every outfit. Incorporate items such as white jeans or colourful pencil skirts for a smart yet dressy look that is suitable for the office.

Creative professionals, such as those working in entertainment, advertising or fashion, offer some interesting ideas for dressing with flair for the office. For example, match tailored blazers and slim-fit pants with a print blouse, finish the look off with some pointy heels and use statement jewelry for extra flair.

According to stylist Lauren Messiah, the secret is to wear at least one piece that is business-like, whether that is a blouse, a suit jacket or blazer, or a suit skirt. Shoes should always be close toed and polished. Jewelry, such as gold bangles or a statement necklace, is where the wearer can express their individuality. Neutral colours are excellent options when you choose to wear something that is usually not worn to the workplace.

The colourful pencil skirt can be a safe, office-appropriate way to rescue a monotonous office outfit. A favourite of the celebrity and designer Victoria Beckham, the colourful pencil skirt can be used to inject a solid block of colour into an otherwise bland outfit.

Dark orange, yellow, navy, pastel blue, or even black are some colours to consider when choosing a pencil skirt for the office. Combine these bold colours with muted tones for the rest of the outfit.

Other than the pencil skirt, try stylish basics such as tailored white jeans for a summery outfit. White jeans go well with just about any colour and design, and they are easily dressed up with heels and accessories.

Creative professionals – inspiration from a stylist
Victoria Beckham inspired trend
The general fashion code for the office