Last Updated: 6th April 2020
Here is my ultimate cheat sheet on business wear. This is for the ladies in the corporate world, who want to look dignified and command respect without intimidating others.
The key is to look appropriate.
When you’re climbing the corporate ladder, you want people to respect you. This means presenting yourself in a professional manner.
My business wear Cheatsheet:
(1) Keep your neck area covered.
Don’t show even a hint of cleavage. Check yourself on the mirror thoroughly. A good way to avoid low-cut necklines is to pile up your business wear clothes in one side of your wardrobe, and your casual clothes on the other.
(2) Well-fitting trousers are good.
If you do have to wear denim, try dark shades. Darker the shades, more authority they carry. Just make sure your jeans are not too tight fitting, or else you will feel self-conscious every time you meet someone.
(3) Minimal makeup.
A clear gloss or lip balm is fine. But definitely avoid the smokey-eye look. Or any other “heavy” looks. Also, absolutely no perfume. Maybe a teeny tiny splash of body spray.
(4) No heels.
Slight heeled shoes are fine, but maybe not stilettos. But some women tend to feel more powerful wearing high-heels, so if it helps your self-confidence, go for heels. Just keep a pair of backup shoes, in case your feet start to hurt.
(5) Minimal exposed skin.
Avoid sleeveless tops that tend to show flesh, though you can definitely layer on a jacket with a sleeveless top. You also have to take care of not exposing your midriff.
I remember one of my coworkers in Fisher-Price asked my supervisor to tell me to wear longer tops because he saw my midriff once. Thankfully my supervisor, Beth, realised that I hadn’t exposed my midriff intentionally. I had bent down from my chair to retrieve my stapler and in due process, my midriff got exposed. I didn’t think anyone saw it. But apparently that particular co-worker did. That too from the other room. Beth just told me to be more mindful about such things. And I was. Still am.
(6) Keep your bra lines and panty lines in check.
Wear the correct sizes in lingerie to avoid lines on your outfit. Again, check yourself thoroughly in front of your mirror before you step out of your house.
(7) No T-Shirts.
Stay away from t-shirts, even on casual office days. They just don’t spell office wear.
(8) Limit Accessories.
Don’t get overboard with accessories. Avoid too chunky, too bright, too noisy accessories.
(9) Keep a check on your panty hose.
Store an extra pair in your office in case of emergencies. Or better yet, wear tights.
(10) Concentrate on your top half
Wear a well-ironed blouse or shirt – this is where people are concentrating when they talk with you.
Over to you..
A good idea when planning your business wear is to plan ahead with a cool head. If you are rushing to work and don’t have time to calmly consider what to wear, chances are you might end up wearing something that does not suit your own personal style at all. Worst is when you discover you are wearing something totally unsuitable for your workplace. I did that quite often at my first job. Once I got the hang of things, I was much better at planning my business wear.
If you have your own little gems of knowledge to share on this particular issue of business wear, let us know in the comments below.
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3 thoughts on “Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Business Wear”
This is great! I especially agree with the perfume tip! When I worked for the CDC, we had notices in all the ladies rooms for the employees not to wear strong perfume, but no one seemed to pay attention. I get headaches around strong smells, so it was annoying to me.
Any tips of hair?
Hi Naomi, great to see you back on my website. Glad you liked this article. And as far as tips on hair is concerned, I would say keep it simple. No poofy hair or overloaded with hair accessories. In fact, best to stay away from “blingy” type of hair accessories. Keep hair clean and tidy. Roll it in a bun or swing into a low ponytail. What do you think?