A group of coworkers talk over coffee

Office Fashion Rules to Live By

The office should be a place where you can express your creativity and style, but there are a few guidelines you should always follow to keep your ensembles professional. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with current trends; you can find many polished, modern pieces in stores (or probably in your own closet) that will help you stay true to your style while keeping it professional. When shopping or going through your clothes, keep these rules in mind so you won’t ever have to worry about office fashion faux pas.

Your neckline should never be deeper than four inches below your collarbone.

A too-low neckline on a shirt or dress can be incredibly distracting and looks unprofessional to your boss, co-workers, and clients. Since you want the people in your professional sphere to take notice of you for your work ethic, avoid those shirts that plunge too low. You don’t have to wear turtlenecks, but make sure your neckline is tasteful and modest.

If you wear something sheer, be sure to wear a camisole under it and possibly a blazer over it.

Most people wouldn’t even consider wearing something sheer to the office, but it’s not an absolute no-no. If you’re going to don a sheer shirt, at least wear a modest camisole underneath it. If the shirt is a tank top, it’s probably a good idea to wear a blazer over it as well. The best part is, when you are off work, you can take off the blazer and you’ll already be in a more casual, happy hour-ready look.

Your hemline should never be shorter than a few inches above your knee.

Mini skirts and shorts will never have a place in the office environment; they’re simply too casual and too short. Buy yourself a couple of office-ready staples, like a black pencil skirt and charcoal gray pants. You can even go a little more bold by buying some patterned pieces, such as herringbone or pinstripes.

If you must wear denim, pair it with classier pieces.

Depending on your office, denim jeans may be an appropriate article of clothing. However, wearing denim with other casual pieces will make you look like you are running to Walmart instead of running an office project. If you go for denim, opt for a classy dark wash and pair it with pumps, a silk blouse, and a statement necklace.

Press your clothes and avoid fabrics that wrinkle easily.

Even if you pick out the most professional-looking outfits, their level of class will be greatly diminished if they are wrinkled. Iron all of your pieces and as a rule, avoid those fabrics that crease easily. One of the most notoriously wrinkly fabrics is rayon, so you should completely eliminate it from your office wardrobe because even if you iron it, it will be creased almost as soon as you sit down at your desk.

Last Updated: April 15, 2015