Looking Sharp: A Guide to Office Work Attire

office work attire

source: @CargoCrew

Uniforms are a natural extension to certain professions. Waiters, policemen, doctors, firefighters – all of these important people have a recognizable uniform. But what about office workers? Can someone in the corporate world benefit from a uniform?

casual office outfits

source: @CargoCrew

Even if you spend your time in an office and don’t deal with clients face-to-face most of the time, having a sort of corporate uniform can have great benefits. After all, looking nice and professional can give you a huge confidence boost which can translate into better performance. Plus, dressing in a polished manner can impact the way your colleagues and boss perceive you, and perhaps give you the guts to ask for that pay raise  (finally!).

And then, there’s also the fact that having a pre-assembled set of outfits to wear to work can save precious brainpower. Yes, figuring out what to wear every morning is a decision-making process that can drain you mentally. So, it makes sense to preserve more mental energy which you can then use on more important, business-related decisions. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world have a “uniform” that they wear each day so they don’t have to bother with deciding what to wear. If they can do it, it may be a smart idea for you to try this too.

But, coming up with a set of “uniforms” will require some effort. To help you assemble a smart and stylish collection of office work attire, here are some great tips.

Pick the Right Tops

mens uniform shirts

source: @CargoCrew

When it comes to work tops for men, it’s recommended to stick to button-downs and polo shirts. If you have an important meeting and want to leave a good impression, you can up your game with a collared, long-sleeved shirt for a more presentable look. Having around 5 work shirts will allow you to keep rotation without having to wash them every day. When the weather is colder, you can throw on fine-knit sweater or a sweater-vest.

womens blouse

source: @CargoCrew

When it comes to work tops for women, it’s often easier to talk about what doesn’t go instead of what does. Off the shoulder tops, cold shoulder tops, spaghetti strap shirts, and tank-tops are definitely a big no-no. The same goes for V-necklines that are too revealing. In other words, cross off anything that shows your shoulders, is backless, has too much cleavage or exposes your midriff.

Instead, opt for a simple long-sleeved, quarter-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt. If you go for a cotton shirt, make sure it has a simple design and is free of any details such as graphic prints, rips, sequins or other shiny embellishments that can make you look less serious around the office. Just like for men, a button-down shirt is usually the best choice. Make sure that your tops are fitted, not too tight and not too flowy either. You can accessorise any top with a classic blazer, which gives any outfit a professional vibe.

And Appropriate Bottoms

casual work clothes

source: @CargoCrew

Generally, guys can get away with jeans if they’re a darker wash, free from details and have a relaxed fit. Skinny jeans have no place in the office. At least, not worn by men. On the other hand, slacks and khakis are always a safe choice for the office. Khakis are especially versatile since they look good both when combined with polo shirts and more formal shirts.

man and woman wearing office outfit

source: @CargoCrew

Women, on the other hand, have greater freedom of choice when it comes to bottoms. Not only can they wear skinny jeans (as long as they’re a darker wash), but they can choose from a range of skirts. A-line skirts are a great option when you want to look professional yet feminine. Just make sure that they are knee-length. You can also wear a pencil skirt when you want to give your outfit an extra dose of seriousness, again, make sure that it’s knee-length. If your work environment frowns upon jeans, you can always wear dress pants, chinos or wide-leg pants.

What About Colours?

capsule office work attire

source: @CargoCrew

The aim is to create a capsule office work attire with pieces that can be easily matched with each other. That being said, you may want to make sure that neutral tones dominate in your wardrobe. Black, white, brown, grey and navy should make up most of your work palette. This way, you can get away with more outfit repeats. Of course, you’re free to add some variety with a shirt in a bolder colour, such as burgundy or dark green. Pastels are also a great option for the summer. Just make sure you use bold colours only in one element of your outfit – whether that is the top, bottom or an accessory such as a tie, neckerchief or hairband.