Rhett's Fashion Blog

Fashion Advice, Tips & News!

Request: Work Attire

When a company says to you that their dress code is business casual, what exactly does that mean? What about business casual for manufacturing, formal and casual? What is appropriate to wear to an interview? I am going to go over each of those areas and show you what is – and isn’t – acceptable for each category.

Interview:

They’ve looked over your resume and cover letter, and want to meet you in person. Even if the company you are interviewing with has a casual dress code, it is best to dress up. The exception would be if the person interviewing you tells you to come dressed casually. This can be a test – do you know how to follow directions? Did they tell you to come dressed causal but you came wearing a suit, skirt, or other dress attire? Example: When I’m not doing fashion, I work as a Private Investigator. When I was called for an interview, my boss, J., said to come dressed causally. I asked if that meant jeans, and he said yes. So, I wore jeans, a button down and a vest. I found out later that no one else came dressed as they were told. I got the job, partly because I dressed as they told me to. When wearing jeans to an interview, always dress them up with a nice shirt.

What do you wear to a business interview? What is too much or too little?

A  pencil skirt is the answer to those questions. You can wear just about anything with it. A work skirt should never rise more than two inches above the top of your knee. If it does, it can be considered showing too much skin. There have been stories of women who were charged with sexual harassment for showing too much skin at work.

Pencil skirts come in all colors and patterns. Any shiny or metallic material is something I would avoid at an interview. They are too risque, and seen more as sexual than professional.

Any top worn with a pencil skirt should be tucked in. Not tucking in a shirt can give the wrong impression to the interviewer, and your otherwise perfect outfit can look sloppy.

I recommend feminine tops for an interview. Floral, lace details, bows, and ruffles are fashionable and professional. If the top is sleeveless, wear a blazer or a cardigan over it, even if it’s the middle of summer.

Another thing I’d like to mention is that you should always wear a tank top under your shirts, even if they have high necks. I wear ribbed tanks every day under everything. They keep your bra hidden and are a safety net if you have on a loose shirt. I prefer ribbed tanks because they come up higher on the chest than cami’s, but a cami tank will work just as well. I get most of mine from Goodwill. They are always under $4. I also find them at American Eagle Outfitters on the clearance rack for around $3. I buy them whenever I find them and have several in each color so I always have one to wear.

Business Casual:

Everything listed above for an interview can be worn for business casual. I’m going to add shoes, dresses, pants and other skirts into this area. Remember, the hem of your skirt should go no higher than 2 inches above the top of your knee. Low cut dresses and shirts are not work appropriate.

Dresses: This would be my way to have fun at work. Dresses come in so many prints and patterns, and many businesses don’t mind if you wear colors to work. Here are some examples:

 

 

Skirts are the same as dresses. Match your shirt to a color in the skirt, and your accessories to a different color in the skirt for a fun look.

Pants:

Business casual means no jeans or denim of any type. Business casual pants are black, brown, khaki, grey, white, navy or olive green. Some places will allow you to wear colored pants, but it’s best to ask before you do. If you wear white or khaki pants, be sure to wear nude panties. If you aren’t a thong person, wear seamless so you don’t have panty lines, which is another office don’t. The hem of your pants should never touch the ground. It should hover two to three inches about the ground. Pants should never be skin tight; there should be room in the thigh area.

 

 

Shoes: A lot of businesses don’t allow open toed shoes beyond peep-toe’s. It’s best to ask before wearing a completely open toed shoe. Heels should be no higher than 3 inches. A staple in your wardrobe should be a pair of black pumps. They go with nearly everything and are the best shoe for work. Brown, nude, grey, and different colors are also great for work. I would avoid bright, neon colors and stick with jewel tones. Flats are great for the office, especially if you aren’t a heel person.

 

Business Casual Manufacturing:

This setting is a bit more laid back than business casual. Jeans, t-shirts, and polos are acceptable. Everything must be neat and clean, and pressed.

 

Formal:

This is the most dressed up category. Suits, polished shoes, and pearls fall into this category. Open-toed shoes are not acceptable. Nylons must also be worn. Black, grey, brown, navy and pinstripes are acceptable; colors are not.

 

Casual:

This means you can wear jeans. Businesses that allow casual expect you to look put together, even if you are wearing jeans. Jeans should be well tailored, have no holes, and be hemmed properly. Shirts should still be nice. You can usually wear tennis shoes in this setting, and flip flops, but it’s best to make sure ahead of time.

 

What Not To Wear To Work:

Destroyed denim. As much as you love it, it needs to be for outside of work.

Shirts with sayings on them. People get offended by words, and it’s not professional unless it’s the company’s logo.

Alcohol shirts. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who think this is okay.

Short shorts. These are for outside of work, period.

Mini skirts. Do I need to elaborate on this?

Club dresses. If you wear it out to a bar to attract men, it’s not meant for work.

Super dirty shoes. Clean them.

Extremely low cut shirts. Cleavage should not be seen.

Anything that shows a bra or panties. You aren’t at work to advertise what you have.

Dirty clothes. Wash them.

Wrinkled clothes. Iron them.

If you are questioning something, it’s best not to wear it. Or, of course, ask Rhett. I’d be more than happy to help you decide if an item or outfit is work appropriate.

I hope this helps you in your journey for the right work attire. If you have anything that should be added, please let me know. If you have questions or need help, I would be happy to help.

 

Stay Sweet,

Rhett

 

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July 18, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Thank you for this article! You would not believe the number of people who need wardrobe requirements drawn out specifically to their situations, which you have covered beautifully. Also (and I really don’t mean this to sound condescending in any way) thank you for your immaculate grammar. So many people with blogs think that it’s okay to just spell, punctuate, and type things willy-nilly and honestly it’s a huge turn-off. I’ve honestly stopped looking at blogs because, like untucked shirts, it seems sloppy and like you don’t give a care. So thank you Rhett for both your advice and your ability to write quality content well, it is much appreciated.

    Comment by Jackie | July 19, 2011 | Reply

    • You’re welcome, Jackie! I’m glad you liked it. So many people have no idea what all those categories mean. I used to have a hard time dressing for work too! Grammar and punctuation are huge for me. I can’t read things that aren’t punctuated right or have the right grammar either. I want my readers to be able to breeze though a blog and not have to re-read something because it made no sense grammar or punctuation wise. I’m glad you are a fan, I appreciate it so much!

      Stay Sweet,
      Rhett

      Comment by rhett19 | July 19, 2011 | Reply


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