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(How to dress for work!)

Knowing what to wear to work can feel quite stressful, especially if you are new to an organisation. The reality is that as long as what you are wearing is similar to what your colleagues wear, then you will be dressed appropriately. Different businesses will have different standards of dress code and formality can vary enormously from one organisation to another. Some organisations will have a uniform or a dress code policy. Make sure you to have a look at what people in the organisation are wearing when you go along for your interview.

Generally speaking you should dress business formal if you work with customers in a professional setting, such as a bank or office. Business formal usually includes a suit, tie, shirt and smart shoes for men and a trouser, skirt or dress suit with smart shoes for women. Business casual can vary enormously but should always look smart. For men think blazers, chinos, v necks, preppy shirts, loafers, dark wash denim (for some inspiration visit the Slaters casual dress blog post ). Have a look at this Pinterest board for some business casual inspiration for women.

Our top tips below will help you to understand the rules of business casual.


Wear clothes that fit you as anything too tight or too loose will look unprofessional. Spending a bit more to get your outfit tailored can result in a much more professional look. Remember to iron your clothes (or at least dry them flat!)

Make sure that skirts and dresses are long enough (your skirt should fully cover your thighs when you are seated), and that tops are high enough and your shoulders are covered. Also make sure nothing is see-through! Backless, sleeveless and spaghetti straps on tops and dresses are all out.


If you are building up a work wardrobe it is always good to have a neutral colour base to work with. Black, grey and navy are good colours for trousers, skirts, jackets and shoes. White and pastel colours are good for men’s shirts and smart tops for women. You can always brighten these up with accessories such as ties, jewellery, and handbags. In some workplaces wearing loud colours or patterns will be very acceptable but not so much in others. Again look to what your colleagues are wearing. Remember that dark shoes=dark socks!


These are occasionally acceptable but never wear them without checking first. Make sure they are dark jeans and plain rather than ripped or embellished. Also be careful with the fit- you don’t want anything too baggy or too tight! You can wear them with a fitted T-shirt for a relaxed, casual look or dress them up with a shirt/smart top and smart jacket for a business-casual style. Avoid denim skirts though as these are too casual for the office.


Generally trainers are taking business casual too far but for some workplaces they will be fine. Again never wear them without checking first. Make sure your shoes are clean and polished (if necessary). Heels or flats are both acceptable for women although generally closed toe is best. The general rule is to make sure you can walk in them and make sure they look smart!


Generally try to avoid logos on clothes, especially if these could cause offence.

Tattoos and body piercings

Employers might ask you to remove piercings or cover these at work. If they are going to do this they should give good reason and it should be written down in a dress code policy.

Religious dress

Wearing items of religious dress is generally fine as long as it does not conflict with company image or health and safety.


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