Office Attire Decoded

Woman wearing stylish office clothes

Dressing for work day in day out can be a bit commonplace when it comes to the standard in commonly accepted office dress. There is always one person at work who somehow manages to safely push the limits of passable style protocol, and you may have, at times, even yourself silently dreamed of showing up with your “other “wardrobe items that truly reflect the “you” that you were probably not hired for. Dressing “safe” for work is the traditional form of job security that is prevalently practiced in office settings, everywhere, and yet when it comes down to the “bare basics,” just what are the office dress requisites, and especially when none are included in the employee handbook, how can anyone safely navigate these tricky waters that run between self-expression and fitting in?

Trends Come and Go
Sometimes a certain trend might stand out as being a lot more appealing than the rest, and after finding it, your next step is to tell yourself that you would have to change jobs in order to wear such fashion flair to the job you currently are depending on, and holding onto with your whole life.

Where Are the Rules?
Understanding how to determine official employee dress code allowances is truly tricky, especially as a lot of the existing policies were formed so long ago that there were probably directions even included for proper securing of employee horses while at work, and so forth. A certain level of individuality needs to be tolerated, otherwise, why not just institute uniforms for everyone, and therein end the vagueness altogether? Obviously, uniforms will never make their way to the white collar workforce, so it totally depends on which company you work for. The scope of acceptable dress–from the most astute attire for the most critical transactions, to “casual Fridays,” varies widely, from company to company. It is not easy, Friend.

Everyone Must Cooperate
While there is much to be said about being known for producing great work, unless you have a “set in stone” presence that raises the company you work for to inclusion within the Fortune 500, you are just going to have to adhere to some semblance of allowable self-expression within the corporate code of uniformity/ conformity, or whatever you might call it. Unfortunately, when employees are tightly restricted in dress, it affects every other element of productivity, creativity and employee vitality, as well. And always, first and foremost, you must protect your career. The ideal solution would be a dress style that could portray your dedication to the business at hand, while exuding your individual aesthetic flair.

A Winning Presence
First, revert to your company’s dress code and do your best to comply. Usually, the mandates have to do with wearing stockings, shirts and ties and other stipulations that still leave room for self-expression. Let your company know you desire to represent them well, and wholly. And from that point, begin observing how your colleagues, boss and your boss’s boss dress for work. Watch over a span of a month. This will become your best information on how to dress.

The Ultimate Logic
Bottom line, always dress in a way that you represent the goals and ideals of your company–even if you are planning a move sometime soon. Then, after observance, dress in accordance with each occasion, and you can add in bits of flair, but keep them subtle. Especially in a severely restricted workspace, any difference will be notable. Instead, try to use your skills in furthering your company to set you apart and distinguish you. Personality goes a lot further than attire.

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