What Not to Wear to Work


You are a professional woman now.  

You just got a new job doing exactly what you went to college for, how exciting!  Or, you are just not that savvy when it comes to appropriate office attire.  This is an issue that plagues many women.  What NOT to wear to work!?  Did you know that studies show that women who dress in seemingly sexy attire are seen as less competent?  You could be the very best at what you do, yet sabotage yourself repeatedly by showing too much cleavage, and too much leg.  It is true that many of these sexy dressing professional women get overlooked when its time for promotion simply because no one ever pointed out to them that they should tone down their appearance.  Save the low-cut tops for Saturday night.


Opt for more conservative look during working hours.  It will pay off, literally!   Now, we are not suggesting that you wear clothes that are too big or ill-fitting just to “cover up”.  There are ways to be stylish, on trend, and professional at the same time.  Consider revamping your look to appeal to your work environment.  Look around your office, what are the female VPs wearing?  Don’t attempt to be a clone, rather take cues from top-level females as a compass that will inspire you to rethink some of your less appropriate wardrobe pieces.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when rethinking your professional dress code:

  • Dress to  look and feel like yourself, not someone else

While it may be helpful to be inspired by upper level executives at your work, it is important that you wear the appropriate clothes that suit YOU.  Nothing undermines your professionalism like a lack of confidence.  If you do not feel that you look good, it will translate into everything that you do.  No sense in revamping your look if it makes you feel terrible.

  • Dressing professional does not mean dressing dowdy, or dressing in more expensive clothing

Simply put, dressing professionally means dressing to do your job in the least distracting way.  Be well groomed.  Be pleasing to the eyes.  Don’t be over done and inappropriate.  Save the loud bangles for happy hour!

  • Do not try to rebuild your wardrobe all at once 

Gradually redirecting your purchase choices when it comes to work attire is best.  Start with slacks that are less tight.  A pair of nice yet practical shoes.  A blouse, and perhaps a blazer if the environment calls for it. Don’t go into debt for something that can be fixed with a wardrobe audit and a stylist.

  • No club clothes

This is a huge no no.  If you wear it to the club, do not even think of wearing it to work. Showing up in a reveling thigh-high dress just because you got mad compliments about it and you think you look cute.  Women being taken seriously in the workplace is still a hot-button. We still have a long way to go and as it still remains we aren’t equal in the workplace to this day!


By now you should have a better idea of what is more appropriate for the work place.  If you are still in doubt, think simple and create a “uniform” of sorts.  If you’d prefer to wear skirts at the office, focus your work style on skirts,  and blouses.  Maybe you like wide legged pants with a feminine button down.

The idea is to find a “uniform” style that works for you, and stick to it.  This way of thinking takes the guess work out of finding clothes, and it is usually cost effective.  Mostly, have fun when choosing appropriate clothes for work.  Be confident in your choices, and let nothing or no one stand between you and your goals!

Feel free to contact imagecoach@refined-culture.com / shopenvoi@refined-culture.com  if you have any specific questions about dressing for the workplace and personal professional about styling.

Wardrobe audits can be particularly helpful in finding new outfit ideas and forgotten discoveries of purchases you made previously.

Is dressing appropriately at work an issue for you or someone you know? Please share this post as well, and leave comments or questions below…

You never know what conversations can start with What Not to Wear at Work!

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