Manchester PR Blog

Dress For Success: Fashion in the Corporate World

June 29th, 2011 · No Comments · Fashion Tips, Interviews

Congratulations! Your hard work in college has paid off, and you’ve landed a great job in the corporate world. The business world is fast-paced, and you’ll have to learn more than just what you studied to earn your administration degree. You’ll have to assimilate into company culture, excel at your current position, and chart your path to a promotion. Along everything you’ll need to learn at the start of your job, another important lesson is what to wear to the office.



It might sound a little odd that so much of your future could ride on a pair of pumps or a skirt hemline. But presentation is significant in any career for both men and women, and how you look can be just as important as the work you produce. Paying attention to just a few simple workplace fashion rules can guide you toward dressing for success.

Let’s start with a few good fashion habits: consider solid colors for your suits, dresses and skirts. The boring business suit has been a boardroom staple for decades because it doesn’t distract attention from the man or woman wearing it. This doesn’t mean you have to abandon patterns or bright colors—just use them as outfit accents instead.

Jewelry and accessories are great ways to add flair, but for the office, accessorizing conservatively is key. Small earrings or studs, delicate necklaces, and sensible scarves and belts work best. Take extra care with bracelets, however, since wearing more than one on an arm can result in annoying clicking noises every time you move your arms.

Now, this might be a tough one: invest in high quality hosiery. Yes, hose are becoming old-fashioned and, depending on your office dress code, you may not have to wear them all the time. But the right pair of hose or opaque tights can give your outfit a polished look. They can even serve as an accessory and give an outfit a bit of flair!

There are plenty of fashion habits to stay away from, but heavy makeup is an absolute “don’t”. Think of makeup as another accessory—and, just like jewelry, conservative makeup is always a safe bet. A sheer lip gloss, neutral eye makeup and light face powder should be all you need. If you use powder or foundation to cover blemishes, be sure to blend well.

The right pair of shoes can make or break an outfit, but save the stilettos for a night out. Pumps with a moderate heel are better suited for the office, and lower heels will save your legs if you do a lot of walking on the job. You don’t have to go conservative with colors and patterns, though, so feel free satisfy your shoe fix with a few pairs of flats or kitten heels.

Finally, mind your hemlines. Short skirts and dresses are a definite “no” for the corporate workplace. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about length, but a dress or skirt that falls to mid-thigh might be too short for work. Of course, hemlines rise and fall every season, but using your own discretion when choosing the appropriate length is essential.

Perfecting your office wardrobe will take some trial and error, so don’t feel pressured to make over your closet immediately. Use these rules to find a few new pieces and accessories, and you’ll be on your way to workplace chic. Besides, it gives you an excuse to shop!

Photo Credit: Jeremy Lim

Sally is an avid blogger and loves to travel. She lives outside Chicago where she teaches at an elementary school. She is also eagerly awaiting the arrival of her first child.

Feel free to contact Sally at or follow her on twitter: @eatbreatheb.


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