Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
INTERVIEWS / APR. 16, 2014
version 4, draft 4

Dress to Impress, Not Digress!

office outfit

Men have it easy – and not in a general sense –when it comes to office dressing. Pants, shirt and if necessary a tie and a blazer. So yes, sometimes men do tend to wear eye-blinding combinations or ties that deserve the boot – but that’s about it. Other than a zipper accident, they’re safe. Women are not! So here are five points to ponder about when shopping for a work wardrobe.


Face it, we women dress to impress and the same holds true even at work. One has to look official and business-like and yet the best that you can. A skirt or a dress is indeed the epitome of femininity and not something men can copy. While a well-fitted ankle or calf-length skirt or dress is good, the issue rises with the hem. How much, or rather how little is too much! The hem length need not be conservatively below the knee, above the knee is fine too – it just has to be kept in mind that sitting on that office chair, kneeling to get that file out of the cabinet or bending to retrieve that pencil can and will raise the hemline considerably. Wear something that keeps your essentials covered, at all times and yes, investing in good tights is a great idea. Thinner or fitter women can pull off shorter lengths better so yet one more reason to hit the gym.

Feminine, but Bossy

The shape of a dress or skirt is another essential when it comes to dressing right for the office. Frills, layers, fold-overs, flared sundresses are pretty but are usually considered casual wear. A little trim or lace works too – but anything too floozy is out. Slimmer body types can choose sheaths, tunics, shirtwaists and princess shape dresses while curvier women should go for A-line, fit-and-flare, blouson, empire waistline and wraparounds. Skirts wise, opt for pencils or pleated skirts as they project a sleeker contour and a businesslike outlook.

Dress Your Feet

Being dressed for office doesn’t mean you have down-dress your feet. Boots and shoes are for men – women can choose to go pretty when it comes to footwear. The thumb rule to wearing heels in office – buy footwear that is at least one-inch less than your normal evening wear heels to give your feet some much needed TLC. Wedges are great office wear – they give you that required elevation and yet don’t tire feet as much as a towering stiletto. Invest in sleek ballerinas in staple shades of nude, black and a blue or red. Plain strappy flats also look great as do kitten heels and do remember to get a pair of plain black pumps accessorize that office suit.

Too Little, is too Much

This applies for two things: make-up and accessories. The office is not the right place to show off your flashy jewellery or that fantastic shade of fuchsia lipstick. Keep office make-up and accessories subtle – use them to enhance your looks and femininity but not your sexiness! Long earrings, clangy bracelets or bangles, a tinkling anklet or even shiny oversized rings are out. Wear simple studs and a chain with a pendant if you like. Keep your nails trimmed and neatly painted in subtle shades or clear polish and dress your hands with a good watch and a simple ring. You can choose to go darker with your toenail polish but refrain from teensy-bopper neon shades. Keep your make-up refined and work it for you to look like a lady – you can work in an occasional bright lipstick but overall keep it toned.

The Intimates

Perhaps one of the most important, and yet one of the most overlooked aspect of dressing for work, is what you wear underneath it all. Wearing the right intimates that give you good support, the right comfort and the perfect shape is what can make or break what you wear. Always match your intimates to your outfit colour – a white bra underneath a white shirt and a black bottom underneath a black skirt or pants. Avoid anything too sheer or too lacy as they can play peek-a-boo with your silhouette. Do buy seamless underwear and bras for those clingy outfits. If you like wearing pantyhose, wear good quality subtle ones – fishnets and other such patterned stocking are for casual days.

See also: 5 Ways to Avoid Clothes Related Embarrassment

A little care paid to your work wardrobe could make all the difference at work – your confidence levels, how you are thought of by your colleagues and sometimes, even that promotion!

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