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  Power Dressing - office wear

For women to be taken seriously in the corporate world, it is critical for them to choose their clothes wisely. Anything too revealing or even too frumpy can earn them opposing but equally harmful reputations. In the cut-throat corporate world, packaging counts, so keep these tips in mind to package yourself right.

1. Treat your business clothing as an investment and choose wisely. Make sure you buy classic styles that suit your body shape, are comfortable, have quality workmanship and quality material. This is no time to try the latest fads. Take your time and shop around for the best price and the best service.

2. For business/corporate situations, match your handbag, shoes, and belt. While you can get creative with colors, try to keep your wild tastes a bit on the muted side when dressing for work. So, for instance, though red pumps with an all-black outfit can be chic, wearing the shoes with colored stockings and a printed shirt can draw attention for all the wrong reasons.

3. Avoid skirts that are too short and tops that are too low cut. While there is no harm in being feminine and dressing attractively, remember you need to be taken seriously in an office and admired for your work and not your mile-long legs.


Someone once said, “If you have more pairs of shoes than feet, it’s a complete waste!” In this day and age of power dressing, that someone would be downright wrong. Especially when it comes to the subject of corporate footwear. Here are a few tips that will help you go beyond that work footwear faux pas.

For Women:

  • Ladies who prefer skirt or pant suits should opt for closed toe shoes in a contrasting colour.
  • Stiletto heels give a more corporate look to your attire, but you could also experiment with kitten heels and the like.
  • Open toed stiletto heels with ankle straps are a strict no-no. Shoes like these fall under the ‘party wear’ category.
  • Black is the most preferred colour when it comes to women’s shoes, but ladies can also try and match their shoes with the colour of their pants/skirts. You can experiment with crèmes, beiges and browns.

    For Men:

  • Men should stick to the more traditional colours such as blacks and browns.
  • It is also advised that men generally try to match the colour of their shoes with their belt.
  • Dark coloured socks are generally the norm. Make sure that the elastic has not worn out to prevent them from gathering around your ankles.

    For both, men as well as women, the material of the shoes should generally be patent leather or suede.


    What Is Business Casuals?
    It is quite simply a dress code that enables employees to project a professional, business-like image while experiencing the comfort advantages of more casual and relaxed clothing.

    What Not To Wear
    Because all casual clothing is not suitable for the office, these guidelines will help you determine what is inappropriate to wear to work.
  • Clothing that reveals too much cleavage, your back, your chest, your feet, your stomach or your underwear is not appropriate for a place of business, even in a business casual setting.
  • Even in a business casual work environment, clothing should be pressed and never wrinkled. Torn, dirty, or frayed clothing is unacceptable.
  • Clothing that works well for the beach, yard work, dance clubs, exercise sessions, and sports contests may not be appropriate for a professional appearance at work.

    What Works For Work
    Here is a general overview of acceptable business casual attire.

  • Slacks that are made of cotton or synthetic material pants, wool pants, flannel pants, and nice looking dress synthetic pants are acceptable.
  • Casual dresses and skirts, and skirts that are split at or below the knee are acceptable. Dress and skirt length should be no shorter than four inches above the knee, or a length at which you can sit comfortably in public.
  • Casual shirts, golf shirts, dress shirts, sweaters, tops, and turtlenecks are acceptable. Most suit jackets or sport jackets are also acceptable attire for the office.
  • Loafers, boots, flats, clogs, conservative athletic shoes, sneakers, dress heels, and leather deck shoes are acceptable. Wearing no stockings is acceptable if the look is appropriate to the outfit.
  • Jewelry, makeup, perfume, and cologne should be in good taste. Avoid visible body piercing only pierced ears are acceptable.
  • Hats are not appropriate in the office. Head covers that are required for religious purposes or to honour cultural tradition are allowed.



    Are you undecided on how to get the suave, dapper look at your new job? Corporate dressing is not about large purchases but paying attention to details while operating on economical costs. Here are a few ways to get that chic, smart look with a shoe string budget (literally)!

    When in Rome…

    As far as possible design a wardrobe on similar lines that are being followed by co-workers and colleagues. If you are new to the organization it would stand you in good stead to follow precedence than set trends…just yet! Dress codes have started relaxing the world over and power dressing is as obsolete as Friday dressing, so do bear the general trend in mind too.

    Avoid Flamboyancy

    It is safer to opt for conservative styles instead of going in for flamboyant versions. Mixing and matching with a basic wardrobe will stand you in good stead.

    What you really need

    At least one business suit (if you can afford a second one, nothing like it). Greys and blues (the darker versions are the safest bets.
    Get at least two blazers preferably in light, non-wrinkle fabric that is easy to maintain.
    Try and include at least three sets of formal trousers in your corporate wardrobe.
    At least one white shirt is a de rigueur for a corporate wardrobe.
    Avoid flamboyant ties and those with large prints of cartoon characters.
    Solid ties are the best options.
    There is no replacing the charm and elegance of a fine pair of brown shoes.

    You may also be interested in reading tips on… Male Grooming, Etiquette, PC Bytes, Inspiration, GK

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