With the return to in-person work, dressing professionally is on the mind of many. Are there new rules? How do I ensure I don’t dress too formally or too casually?
Here’s the thing:It doesn’t need to be difficult.
Whether you’re a young professional about to start a new job or an experienced woman going through a career change, our guide on professional women’s attire can help you simplify your work outfit.
What is Professional Women’s Attire?
Professional women’s attire is difficult to define without context. Depending on the environment and the dress code set forth by the business, the clothing considered “professional” may vary.
For example, there’s a difference between business casual attire and formal business attire.
Business casual attire tends to be a more relaxed dress code. As time goes on, we’re seeing more offices switch from traditional dress codes to business casual. This dress code gives women a little more freedom to wear comfortable clothing while doing their jobs. The massive upswing in work-from-home opportunities has increased this dramatically as well.
A formal business dress code is more conservative and sophisticated than business casual. While it’s true that many offices are moving away from restrictive dress codes, there’s always a time and place for formal professional women’s attire. For example, an important client meeting or presentation may warrant more conservative clothing.
Types of Professional Women’s Attire
Assembling an outfit with professional women’s attire means understanding the pieces at your disposal. Here are some of your options.
A great pair of dress pants is a staple of professional women’s attire. You can find women’s dress pants in a variety of fits ranging from bootcut styles to more slim-fitted pieces.
Formal business dress codes will likely call for more neutral and darker tones, such as black or navy. However, in business casual settings, you could potentially mix it up with brighter colors.
Jeans are typically seen as a casual wardrobe staple. While this is true in a formal business dress code, business casual will have some leeway and allow you to wear a pair of darker denim with no visible distressing.
Offices with formal business dress codes may also have “casual Fridays,” where a comfortable pair of jeans is deemed appropriate on the final day of your busy week.
Formal business attire normally starts with a classic button-up shirt. These shirts offer more variety than expected, with many colors and materials available. You can throw a classy blazer over the shirt to complete the perfect business look.
Business casual again gives you more options.A blouse might be the right choice for this environment, depending on the outfit.
For most women, sticking with a classic pair of heels works best in business environments. For example, a black pair of pumps should pair well with just about any professional women’s attire.
However, we know that heels aren’t the most comfortable pair of shoes. Good news for women who prefer to avoid heels: A classy pair of flats will work in both formal and casual business offices.
Accessorizing With Professional Women’s Attire
Don’t worry. If professional women’s attire sounds boring to you, we promise that it doesn’t have to be.
The question is: How do you add a bit of flair to your outfits while remaining professional-looking?
Accessories are your best friend.
The key here is to remain subtle with your accessory choices. You’ll want to save your bolder pieces for a night out with the girls.
Even still, you’ve got several options to choose from, including:
These options can help you stand out from other women while maintaining a professional look in both casual and formal settings. Experiment with some of your favorite pieces and create your new favorite look.
Professional Women’s Attire Doesn’t Need to Be Difficult
Whether you’re a woman entering the office for the first time or a veteran looking to change your outfit, our guide to professional women’s attire can help.
Depending on your office environment, you’ve got options. You can stick with a full suit that symbolizes power in your formal environment. Or, if you’ve got a business casual dress code, go with a simple blouse and a pair of classy, dark denim.