Business attire is generally the most formal day-to-day attire found in most offices (although some law offices adhere to a suits-only policy, which would be much more restricting). Business attire for men is pretty simple: suit and tie. Fortunately for women, the formula is much more lax, and can take various forms.
Some basic aspects of business attire for women:
- Tops: Button-up shirts can be the norm, but other embellished blouses will also work in a business outfit, especially under a suit jacket. Sleeveless tops may or may not be acceptable in a business office, but even if they are, stick to a wide-strap shell. A cardigan
- Pants: Stick to full-length trousers in various colors, fits, and fabrics. Cropped pants should be reserved for casual Fridays.
- Skirts and dresses: Pencil-shaped skirts and dresses in structured and tailored fabrics look more professional than flirty A-lines or flowy chiffon. Keep the length around the knee (give or take an inch or two). To mix things up, try a colorful graphic print or accessorize with a belt.
- Blazers: While not required, blazers are an easy way to dress up any outfit for a business environment. Try a fun pattern or color to pair with classic trousers for a fun variation on suit separates.
- Suits: Still a staple of a business wardrobe, suits today are more fun than ever. Add a skirt suit with a ruffled hem and a pants suit with a three-quarter sleeve blazer for a change of pace from the basic black suit. A dress + jacket suit looks eternally chic.
- Shoes: Some business offices do insist on closed-toed shoes; peep-toes are about as racy as you'll get here. Keep the heel moderate (less than 3"), and have some fun with colors, fabrics, and embellishments (can anyone say d'orsay?).
- Accessories: Chunky jewelry and flirty flowers may not be appropriate here. Infuse your personality subtly, with a colorful belt, layered necklaces, or an embellished watch.
Here are some professionally styled business looks that I love:
Cap-sleeve sheath dress. Calvin Klein makes the best.
Pencil skirt + top + cardigan. Note the low heels.
Classic black suit.
Sheath dress + embellished blazer
Does your office require business attire? What other tips do you have?