Getting Work Dress Code Right

December 11, 2017

Most corporate firms have a rather strict dress code this days. Mostly it is to ensure an united and professional appearance of the firm towards customers.


It appears that back in the days it used to be a rather personal decision to wanting to look your best at all time. People used to wear a lot more formal wear, nobody would consider going to church in everyday clothing, there are dinner jackets for a reason and lots of different suits to cover for every occasion. I was mentioning church and dinner, because dressing up is a sign of respect. Whether it is for god, for a special invite or the sole purpose of appreciating goods or people, it is a sign of respect.


There is another huge part to dress codes. It does provide safety. The safety to know exactly how to dress prevents the unsureness whether you have dressed appropriated this morning and makes it easy to throw on an outfit in the morning as well. Therefore, dress codes should be seen as a gift, not as a burden.


Especially younger generations tend to have mixed feelings about their company’s guidelines. Many men tell me, they don’t feel comfortable or like they dressed up in a costume without a personal touch to it while wearing suit at work.


You reflect your feelings towards your appearance over the way you express yourself and body language. Therefore, it is very important to feel comfortable in your skin as your opposite will be able to tell that you feel insecure.


First step is a good fit of your suit. It is not necessary to own a ton of suits. Few good fitting ones will do in the beginning. After a while you will get in the hang of owning nice suits and you will want to own more and more of them. A good suit is very durable and you will have your very own large suit collection over the years.


Take extra attention to the jacket as a poor fitting jacket makes you whole stature look off. Even the nicest suit will need some tailoring and it is not worth it to save some money with this point. Rather take a cheaper garment then not having it adjusted to your personal needs. Ensure, that the sleeves are the perfect length and that the shoulders are not too wide or too narrow without massive shoulder patches. You should be able to move freely in your suit, although you do not want a baggy look either. Personally, I really like fitted trousers. This is a personal choice but this alters your whole appearance. Ever heard the term “looking like a confirmand’s suit”? Usually this is the first time in a boy’s life to wear a suit. Since you are not fully grown at that age the suit will look baggy and off most times. Don’t be that guy!


It is always good advice to stick to neutral colours like blue, grey and black. For most people, black is a too dark colour, so I recommend sticking to a dark blue or grey for daily suits. Of course, there are occasions you must wear black, so have a black one handy, too. I do not recommend brown as this looks old fashioned easily, although there is great styling potential to brown colours. You want to leave this matter to the pros though. After owning the neutral classics, you can think about a fancier garment as stripes, check or light colours as well. Although you should check with your company’s policy and co-worker’s style as these never the less stylish and nice suits might be too informal. Very light colours are reserved for summer (parties). Check is generally hard to pull off as it gets overwhelming easily and check is definitely not a classic as a dark blue. Although you will look absolutely stunning and stylish if put together properly.  


After you managed to buy a nicely fitted and tailored suit here comes the hard part: how to combine it? There seems to be endless options for shirts, ties and other accessories.

In case you are not sure about an occasion, stick to a white shirt. This is so classy and you can do no wrong. Light colours and small patterns will work for daily matters, too. Please do not try to spice up your otherwise boring suit with a bright coloured shirt or massive patterns with lots of colours in it. Make sure your shirt has a decent quality, stick to cotton only as this will feel much nicer throughout the day climate wise. Check how see-through your shirt is and always wear a T-Shirt underneath.  There are truly a lot of options for shirts out there. Besides the colour, have a look on the details: Stitching, buttons and different patterns are possible and will make your shirt look extra nicely.


Another frequently asked question: tie or bowtie? Generally, you are always safe with a tie as a bowtie is something for private festivities than work, although younger people can pull off more looks. Whether you must wear a tie or not depends on your workplace, although it makes the outfit. Ties come in all colours and patterns and you can have a lot of fun with ties as there are not as strict rules. Pick a colour that suits you and if you are unsure whether that is an appropriate look for work, stick to neutral colours that fit with your suit and shirt. As a general rule, the tie should not have more than three colours. Ties come in different sizes as well. Best stick to a medium sized one, as very slim ties are reserved for a “cool, but not trying hard” look which is not appropriate for work. Same for very broad ties, they are not appropriate for work as they are too much of a statement. I recon, we all remember Trump’s red tie on his inauguration.

Another thing is the breast-pocket handkerchief. It can be a fun tool to play around with your look, sometimes it is a necessity written down in the dress code, although there is no need for it in daily business encounters.


The clothes department is covered, next on we are talking about shoes. In business you always wear dress shoes. A good pair of shoes is an investment. They carry you throughout the day and nobody wants hurting feet. Good fitting dress shoes are super comfortable, too. You won’t miss your sneakers after you found your perfect fitting pair of dress shoes. They come with winter soles as well. Black neutral ones are always classy. You can combine them with basically every suit, except light colours. With a lighter suit like a blue or grey, you can wear brown shoes as well. Although, brown shoes are not acceptable for an evening attire. There are beautiful shoes with lots of decoration out there. These are very tempting but have a classic one on hand before you think about buying a fancier shoe, as you cannot always wear them. Make sure the shoes look good on you as small differences making appear your foot in a different light. Stick to pointy shoes as they will always look the best.


Last but not least, socks are a big topic, too. A few years ago, people would have told you to wear socks according to your shoes. Most business people still stick to black socks as you can (almost) do no wrong with it, anyways as long as company policy does not forbid colourful socks. They come in all colours and patterns which is great to show a little personality. Again, stick to cotton only as your feet will be thankful at the end of the day. Even though you hardly see them, you do see them and people do take notice. This is a good tip for every little detail. People will see them and they will take notice about them. It is always nice to see someone caring about their appearance, so keep that in mind.


Now you got an idea on how to dress appropriately at work. It always helps to have a look at pictures of your work sphere beforehand and to pay attention on your coworkers outfits as every company has different dress codes and implementation of them. This article gives you an overview of the possibilities to dress up and to still give it a personal note. Keep in mind that you should always feel comfortable in your skin as this makes you confident.


I hope this was useful and If you have anything to add, make sure you leave a comment :)




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