Business professional attire

Dressing appropriately in the workplace may mean different things depending on what type of attire is required. Some workplaces may have their own dress code, which outlines the type of attire they want you to wear. This may be more of an exception to the rule since many businesses don’t specify a dress code. They just expect you to know the appropriate way to dress. What should you do in this instance? You’re always safe when dressed in business professional attire.

What does business professional attire mean, and what does it look like exactly? That’s an important question to answer. You may even be told that you are supposed to dress in business professional attire, but if you’re unsure about what that means, it’s helpful to have a guide.

What is business professional attire?

In its simplest definition, business professional attire is the clothing you wear in a professional setting. In some instances, this type of attire can have a range to reflect the company’s setting, environment, and culture.

The range of attire may change if you are moving from one position to another position, as well. A director of a department would dress slightly differently from the individuals on their team. However, it all falls under the umbrella of business professional attire.

Business professional attire generally indicates a more professional look. For men, this may include a two-piece suit with a conservative tie, and a woman may opt for a feminine-cut suit with a button-down blouse. These are just two options in the list of choices. The main point is that you don’t want to show up in your jeans and T-shirt.

A couple of ways of better understanding a company’s business professional attire is to look at what the other people are wearing or to ask the manager what they expect.

Why is business professional attire important in the workplace?

Having a professional business dress code is important for companies that want to maintain a professional image. It can boost their brand image and deliver a more polished look overall. When customers and others interact with employees from the company, they will always see the business professional attire, which also helps create continuity.

Developing a dress code, such as business professional attire, helps the employees better understand what is expected of them. Management is less likely to have people dressing outside of the scope of what they expect. It also provides guidance for the employees.

Examples of business professional attire

Here are a few examples of men’s business professional attire choices:

  • Suit, tie, and business shirt
  • Dress pants, sports jacket, tie, and business shirt
  • Dress shoes
  • Other accessories should be conservative (i.e., briefcase, belt, portfolio)

In addition, the man’s hair should be neatly cut and combed, and the fingernails trimmed.

Women’s business professional attire can include any of the following:

  • Tailored dress or 2-piece suit with a skirt or dress slacks
  • Dressy bottoms with a button-down blouse and optional blazer or sweater
  • Close-toed dress shoes
  • Conservative accessories

Women always have it tougher in this area and should consider how women’s business casual attire can be perceived.

The above business professional attire for men and women are merely suggestions. There are several combinations of items you can put together to create a great outfit. The main thing you want to avoid is major blunders and mistakes with your outfit. Let’s look at tips for dressing appropriately.

Business professional attire tips for the workplace

The following business professional dress attire tips can help you stay on track for dressing appropriately:

Look at your surroundings

If you work in an office, check out how the other people around you are dressing. Are the men usually wearing a suit jacket versus a sports jacket? Do the women tend to wear business suits or dress bottoms with a button-down blouse? These are subtle differences, but they can give you an idea of where your workplace is on the business professional attire spectrum.

In some work settings, the dress code may be more professional due to the job. For example, attorneys will always dress more formally than you might find in other positions. Also, people who are in leadership positions will want to step it up when it comes to their dress code. By looking at those who are in a similar position as you, you will be able to fit in with office dress attire.

Check for clues before an interview

When it comes to interviews, you may need to follow some different requirements. You can check the company’s website and view the “About Us” page. Often, there will be pictures of the workers there. You can gauge what type of work environment they have by looking at these pictures.

If you don’t see any pictures on the “About Us” page, check the company’s social media profiles for clues about the workplace culture.

Finally, you could talk to the recruiter or someone else in the company if you’re unsure about how to dress for the interview. It’s always safe to dress in business professional attire. However, if the person interviewing you is dressed much more casually than you, it may seem awkward. So, finding out first will be helpful.

Speak up

It never hurts to ask if you’re not sure what you’re expected to wear. Often, you will find this information in an employee handbook, but if not, talk to your supervisor or co-workers about the appropriate dress attire.

Things to avoid

In most work settings, there will be some things you’ll want to avoid. For example:

  • Faded or worn clothing
  • Jeans or T-shirts
  • Gaudy clothing, accessories, hairstyles, or make-up
  • Heels four inches or higher
  • Clothing with writing that could be considered offensive

You can dress for success by knowing what is expected of you and understanding the nuances of business attire. Business professional attire is a common type of attire that is acceptable in most work settings. Now that you have a better understanding of what that consists of, you can fit your wardrobe accordingly.