Not all workplaces require you to wear a suit and tie or a dress and panythose every day. Maybe you work at a startup where it’s perfectly acceptable to wear jeans and a sweater. Or maybe your more traditional company lets employees loosen up for Casual Friday every week. Your professional style will vary depending on your work environment, but no matter where you work, there are a few items of clothing that are never appropriate to wear to the office.
The Do-Not-Wear List for Better Professional Presence
1. Workout clothes
Tracksuits are great for lounging at home in front of the TV and yoga pants are perfect for your afternoon class, but exercise clothes have no place at work (even at the most laidback office). It is impossible to look put together and professional when you appear as though you just rolled out of bed. As a general rule, leave running shoes and anything made of spandex at the gym.
2. Novelty T-shirts
You may love your vintage AC/DC 1980 concert tour shirt or your “I’m the Princess” tee, but save them for the weekend barbecue. T-shirts with graphics or messages detract from your professional presence and may make you appear more immature than you are.
There’s no question that your beloved Reef or Rainbow sandals are the most comfortable pair of shoes you own. And on warm days during the summer, it can be tempting to forego socks and shoes for an airy pair of flip-flops. Resist temptation, however; beach footwear is too casual for the office.
4. Leggings as pants
Leggings and tights are great additions to a winter wardrobe, adding warmth and professional style to dresses and skirts. They are not, however, a replacement for slacks! Make sure you are wearing leggings to complement a complete outfit.
5. Clothes showing too much skin
Short shorts, midriff tops, muscle tees and cleavage-baring blouses should all be banned from your work wardrobe. Wearing revealing clothing at the office can make others feel uncomfortable and distract from your work knowledge and abilities.