Appropriate Work Attire for Women

The clothing that you wear to work says a lot about you as a person. You want to project a positive professional image and avoid sending the wrong message.  Here are a few helpful hints on appropriate work attire for women.

Women’s Work Attire Tip #1 – Skirt Suits

Skirt suits are appropriate for any business function.  Darker colors are seen as a winner for interviews and business meetings while lighter colors can be worn by the brave to brighten a day. The recommended outfit for any occasion is a darker colored skirt suit with a white shirt. Colors like dark navy, charcoal grey, and black are among the most popular and well-received options.

Women’s Work Attire Tip #2 – Business Slacks

I highly suggest that every professional woman invest in pantsuits and business slacks.  They work well in both business professional and business casual environments like mine. Business slacks with the right shirt can project an image of style and professionalism in the workplace without breaking your budget.

I personally wear black or dark grey business slacks with brightly colored blouses so I can look crisp yet energetic at work.  It helps that slacks only cause me to spend $25-$30 a pair.  Plus, the bright colors in the shirts that pop against dark-colored slacks help me feel a little better about getting dressed in the morning.

Women’s Work Attire Tip #3 – Shift Dresses

Shift dresses are perfect for the business professional because their designs are elegant and professional at the same time. These dresses can be worn in the office and at working dinners as well. Shift dresses are growing in popularity among younger females who want to add a splash of their own style to their wardrobe.  I wouldn’t suggest them to anybody needing to hide a little of extra padding though – they make my tummy look pregnant.

Women’s Work Attire Tip #4 – Dress for the Job that You Want

I know it sounds cliché, but you really do need to dress for the job you want instead if settling into the more casual appearances of the jobs you may want to escape.  People really do make a bunch of work place judgments based on your business clothing choices.

A good place to start is to investigate the attire worn by people in the positions that you desire. Look at the daily dress of executives and top management personnel. Following their lead will help you present yourself as someone appropriate for that position.  I personally dislike the upper tiers of my company, so I avoid wearing suits like the plague.

Women’s Work Attire Tip #5 – Choose Wisely

Sweaters, cardigans, and dressy knit tops can spruce up any outfit.  Brighter colored tops can accentuate an outfit and demonstrate a youthful appeal. Low cut clothing, club type attire, and tight outfits are simply not appropriate outfits to wear to work. They scream “party” while you are hopefully trying to project complete control.  I’d also suggest avoiding heavy perfume since that is a silent annoyance for everyone in your vicinity.  I personally avoid the heavy perfumed individuals in our office as much as possible.

What other tips for women’s work attire have I missed?

Image Credit: Natalia Photos

Edwin C

Edwin is a marketer, social media influencer and head writer here at Money In The 20's. He manages a large network of high quality finance blogs and social media accounts. You can connect with him via email here.

6 thoughts on “Appropriate Work Attire for Women

  • May 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm
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    Great post Crystal! It looks like you covered most of the essentials. I would add that a benefit of owning a piece of clothing in the first 3 tips is that you can easily mix and match for new outfits each week. One thing you did forget… SHOES 🙂 I have an essential pair of black heels, brown heels and a fun pink and gray combo for gray outfits.

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  • May 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm
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    Good tips! Simple jewelry is good with not much glitz. Basic silver earrings go anywhere. As you say, it should not be something you would wear clubbing. Shoes should be good quality leather with closed-in toes. Black works well for many women. A good quality leather handbag in a basic style and color is also a must. As you say, take your cues from women in positions above you. Anything sexy is a no-no unless you are in the entertainment field. Save the red patent stilettos for the club!

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  • March 4, 2012 at 10:28 am
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    I have a question related to the dark slacks paired with bright tops. What would you suggest in the shoe color area? I like to neutralize the color of my shoes with my tops

    Reply

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