What To Wear To Work

Heading back into the office and finding yourself wondering what you should wear when. Better to wear a skirt or a pair of pants? Kurta or dress? Flats or heels? Hitting the right balance between professionalism and fashionable can be tricky. Fortunately, we’re here to guide you! The four workwear dress codes that we hear the most about are business formal, business casual, business professional, and casual. Not sure what these really mean? Keep reading for our tips and tricks to ensure you dress to impress all week long.  

Business Formal

Within the workwear dress code, business formal is always considered to be the one that projects the most authority. If you interact with executives often, work in law, or have a prominent status, mastering this code becomes necessary. A jacket with a matching skirt or pants is a traditional business formal dress. If Indian is more your style, opt for the classic Indian kurta style with cigarette/structured pants. When it comes to business formal, several women opt for a saree to convey the most professional image ever.

It’s all about the color scheme you pick to master this look. Your appearance will be more professional if you wear darker colours. Black, blue, and brown are all tried-and-tested colors – burgundy is also seen occasionally in some cases. Keep it simple and elegant with dark and neutral colors and minimalistic jewellery.

Three-quarter sleeve jackets and cropped trousers are appropriate depending on the season. Dresses and skirts should be worn at or just slightly above the knee – keep in mind that certain styles will ride further up when sitting down.

Accessories and Footwear

Closed footwear and conservative jewellery complete your business formal look. Save your flashy jewellery and sandals for your day off. Stilettos and flats are both excellent alternatives for achieving a polished appearance with your workwear. To add the finishing touches to your look, all you need are subtle stud earrings and minimal design necklaces. 

Business Casual

Business casual is the most common form of the women’s work wear attire. This type of attire is commonly seen in FMCG companies, classrooms, and several office settings. In this type of work environment, you can also expect to see more color, prints and accessories. 

The idea is to preserve a professional image without sacrificing comfort and individuality. Remember that this dress code might have a different meaning in different companies. If you are questioning what you can do, you can always ask with your Human Resources department or have a look around at what your coworkers are wearing.

If you’re wondering if jeans are OK for business casual – the answer is yes, but keep damaged denim and lighter washes for your day off. When going to the office, opt for dark indigo colors or basic black designs. Take cues from popular trouser styles like bootcut or straight-fit. Of course, classic slim jeans with a cream coloured blazer can liven up your workwear. Long kurtas over palazzos are also an interesting option to try.

Business Professional

The business professional outfit is slightly less formal than the business formal. It is also regarded as conservative and conventional work style for women. This type of attire may be required while delivering keynote speeches or working in finance or government. There is more freedom with color and design, and an opportunity to inject your personality into your nine to five work-wear.

Your business professional outfit should be well-fitted and tailored to your body shape. A preppy plaid blazer layered with a white button-down is an office-friendly pairing. A structured full-length pair of pants updates your look without sacrificing your comfort. To finish off this classy look, slip your silk shirt into a sleek pair of black wide-leg pants. When it comes to an Indian look, you can always add a printed dupatta or printed contrast blouse to your saree.

As Karl Lagerfeld once said, “one is never overdressed or underdressed with a little black dress.” Your best bets are sheath and fitted styles with three-quarter sleeves. Add some edge to the ensemble with a pair of snake-print heels. Wearing an emerald tote bag will allow your personality to shine through. Avoid dresses that are too tight or short, and always wear a blazer or jacket over a sleeveless dress.

Casual

Casual is the most relaxed style of all office wear and this style has become more popular after the pandemic. This less constricting women’s workwear has always been popular in creative professions, tech startups and on casual Fridays in more formal organisations. However now this style is being seen in more and more companies. If you’re fortunate enough to work in a casual environment, the key is to avoid appearing too relaxed.

To maintain an elevated appearance while wearing casual clothing, fill your closet with fundamental basics. Button-down blouses, knit shirts, and rip-free jeans are excellent core pieces for casual wear. While fresh sneakers can be worn in certain situations, flats are usually a safe option. Grab a trendy pair of straight-cut jeans in a dark blue wash and pair them with a bright white T-shirt. Classy meets casual—it doesn’t get much better than that.

Regardless of the workwear code in your office, make absolutely sure that you always look good in what you are wearing and are comfortable being in the outfit.

Expert Style Tip: If you commute to work via public transit, you probably walk a lot. For your commute, wear comfortable shoes and keep your valuables in a safe place.

Now that you’re an expert on all types of business attire, your new-age work wardrobe is simply waiting to be discovered. Take the style quiz at StyleNook and get a stylist to put together those killer work looks just for you!

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