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How to dress for the office and still be stylish.

– guest post – 

In this day and age, office attire seems to be predominantly casual, or at least business casual. Of course, this varies from coast to coast, with those on the East Coast tending to dress up a bit more, while the West Coast is often known for its slouchy chic attire. Either way, though—are your clothes sending a message to your coworkers? To your boss? And, if so, what is that message? It’s time to take a look at what your office wear says about your work ethic. We teach our kids from a young age to take pride in what they wear, so we probably shouldn’t let this go by the wayside as we get older.

Don’t Stray from the Code

First and foremost, you have to abide by the rules or you’re out of a job, no? Whether it’s a staunch clothing policy or as “loosey goosey” as they come, you should still try to stick by the standard. And, if there are no rules, per se, you might still consider sticking with the crowd. That doesn’t mean you have to conform and be boring! But you probably don’t want to be the one who rolls in after surfing in your beach gear when your manager’s wearing the latest from Nordstrom’s Savvy department.

Photo: Andicsinger.

Photo: @Andicsinger.

Work Hard (Duh)

If you like to push the boundaries with your attire at work, let your work speak for itself. Work your buns off. Meet and/or exceed your deadlines and goals. Be early or on time. Work late when necessary. Put your nose to the proverbial grindstone. Trust us—if you do these things, you can wear a garbage bag to work and still get great reviews from your boss. That might be a slight exaggeration but you get the picture. Remember the golden rule: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Photo: Asos.

Photo: Asos.

Let Your Clothes Reflect Your Personality

Okay, okay, so we covered that part about the rules but we still think there is room to let your clothes reflect your personality. Allow your clothes show your coworkers who you are. If you’re a Chicago Cubs fan who works in a casual dress environment, sport your pride in a tee. If you prefer that your feet do the talking, consider a pair of unique socks from Stance.com. Both of these things are conversation-starters and, if you’ve ever worked in an office where you could hear a pin drop, you know this is crucial. So-called “crazy” or wild clothes don’t have to affect your work ethic. Chances are; if this is the way you like to dress in your free time, it will only improve your productivity at work.

Photo: @tashoakley

Photo: @tashoakley

Consider the Customers

If you work in an office that rarely sees customer or clients, you likely have a pretty lax dress code. If you do get clients in the office—either regularly or at least on occasion—be smart and dress accordingly. Wearing that stained “Come at Me, Bro” tee with holey jeans is probably not going to land you that big account. So just be smart about it and dress to impress when clients are coming to the office.

If you’re the type who feels like she needs to shop for special occasions, however, remember this isn’t always the case. The truth is, you can often find a “new” outfit right in your closet simply by changing up accessories. This is particularly helpful if you’re on a budget but still want to make the right impression.

Check In With the Head Honcho

We all want to be in our boss’ good graces but we’re often convinced she has a closed-door policy. Effective communication with your manager is crucial, especially if you have plans to climb the corporate ladder. If you’re worried that your clothes are sending the wrong message in regards to your work ethic, ask her. Chances are, she’ll think your results are enough to stand on their own, but the conversation could still be quite enlightening.

What your office wear says about your work ethic is certainly subjective but, if you like your job, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution.

Photo: Asos.

Photo: Asos.

Author: Kate Anderson
I’m Kate, an organization expert, and I would love to help you live your best, and most organized life. When I first became interested in organization I never could have imagined  all the ways it would improve my life and I want you to have that experience too. I started my website, Kate’s Organized Life, and began writing to share my tips on decluttering, organizing, and planning to help other people tackle the task of organizing their lives and setting themselves up for success.


Disclosure: The above links are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something that I feature, I’ll get a small commission. Not enough to buy a pony, but this is one of the ways that I can continue to #findit for you! 

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