When I first bought the shirt in the photo at the bottom of this post, I thought I’d never be able to wear it to work. It was one of those purchases I didn’t think about until I’d already swiped my credit card and left with the clothing in a shopping bag. I loved the shirt, but I didn’t consider how work-appropriate it would be.
The legal industry is known for being more traditional when it comes to clothing. In the minds of many, attorney = person in a suit. Thankfully, times are a-changing and, although I wouldn’t dream of wearing this shirt to court, it will work just fine for a regular day in the office when I don’t have to worry about standing in front of a judge or representing a client.
Even though some items of clothing are appropriate for special events or office days (read: Casual Friday), other items should be avoided at all costs. Every workplace is different, but, generally, none of the items below should be worn in a business setting. Ever. This list assumes that you work in a corporate office with a dress code or someplace where there is an expectation that you’ll dress professionally.
1) Flip flops or Birkenstocks.
Please, no…. unless you work for Birkenstock…..and actually, even then, still no.
2) Leggings as pants.
If you need me to explain this, we have a real problem.
3) Clothing that doesn’t fit.
Too tight is inappropriate, too loose may be perceived as sloppy. Think: fitted, not tight. Blouse-y, not baggy. More on proper tailoring in articles to come. Stay tuned!
4) Graphic tees.
Never wear to work. . . well, generally. Even on Casual Friday. Don’t use Casual Friday as a license to wear what you would wear to the club or to a picnic. You’re going to work. Friday (if your office allows Casual Friday) simply means that you don’t have to wear a stuffy suit or an itchy pencil skirt. Again, more on this soon.
5) Sheer clothing.
No ma’am. It’s like a pet peeve of mine.
6) Anything that bares your stomach.
Not even a little bit. Save it for the weekend.
7) Any clothing that is wrinkled, stained, or tattered (even intentionally tattered… I’m looking at you, Kanye).
Take a critical look at your clothes and throw out anything that you wouldn’t buy from a store today. You can read more about purging your closet here. Aside from avoiding clothes that are ready to be put out to pasture, please don’t forgo using your iron/steamer and don’t wear stained clothes.To be fair, we all have an off day, but avoid this if you can.
8) Loud jewelry.
Funny enough, I actually mean “loud” in a literal sense. Admittedly, this is a personal pet peeve of mine. I am not fond of people wearing jewelry that is so large, busy, and intricate that I can hear it jingling while the wearer walks around the office. I just think it’s distracting. No need for Jingle Bells in February.
9) Platform heels.
I have heard many say that an appropriate heel for the office is two or three inches tall. Honestly, though, I don’t own kitten heels and I refuse to wear them. I just don’t like the look on me. All of my work heels are three or four inches tall. I personally think as long as your heels aren’t too strappy, gaudy, or otherwise club-like and you can walk in them, go for it. I have a whole list of Dos and Don’ts of Heels in the Office that you can check out for more.
On the other hand, platform heels aren’t appropriate. By platform heels, I mean there is a platform underneath the ball of your foot in the shoes. Like these. They’re clunky and don’t belong in an office setting. No, not even for Casual Friday.
10) Distracting makeup
When it comes to eyeliner, I love a good cat-eye. I like experimenting with burgundy lipstick. If contouring was an Olympic sport, I’d have more gold medals than Phelps and Bolt (kidding lol but it’s pretty fun to do). Also, I’m pretty proud that I’ve finally figured out the coveted smokey eye. Despite my love for MAC and Sephora, I don’t take my makeup talents to the workplace. Colorful lipstick (I’m talking purple, blue, and the like. Not red), dramatic eyeliner, and other distracting makeup simply isn’t appropriate for work. Instead, opt for a more natural look.
Think I missed any items you should never wear to work? Contact me and let me know!