Etiquette Rules for Dress in a Business Environment

There is value in knowing how to be dress appropriately for any occasion, especially in the workplace. The way you dress at work is one of the key components of shaping your professional image, and whether you like it or not, you are judged by your appearance. Your attire should reflect your environment and position. If you work in a business environment, follow some general clothing etiquette rules for dress to project a professional image.

Business Etiquette Dress Code

Dress codes vary from one company to the next, depending on the industry, culture and environment. Business dress at a bank may look different from business dress at a call center, for example. If you are unsure of your company’s dress code, refer to its code of conduct manual and ask your supervisor or human resources department for clarification, if necessary. Typically, dress in a business environment includes wearing conservative suits in black, gray, navy, brown, taupe, beige and white, according to the University of North Carolina Wilmington, or UNCW. Look polished by putting on pressed and well-tailored pieces.

Men's Clothing Etiquette

Wear long-sleeved, collared shirts with your suits and basic ties that reach your waistline. Select dark-colored shoes that match your suit with matching socks and a belt. Socks should match your shoes, slacks or entire suit and must be long enough to extend above your pant cuff when seated so as not to reveal the skin on your legs. Refrain from wearing jewelry, unless it’s a watch, wedding ring or fraternity ring.

Women's Clothing Etiquette

Women have more choices when it comes to outfit variety since they can also wear skirts, however skirts should be approximately knee-length or longer. Mix and match pieces to create the illusion of a larger wardrobe by buying the same three-piece suit – skirt, slack and jacket – in multiple colors. Your clothing should not be too short, tight or revealing. When it comes to accessories, less is more. Avoid over-accessorizing and ensure your jewelry or scarves match your outfit and are not too flashy. Choose simple earrings and bracelets that are not noisy and distracting, should you desire to wear any. Wear closed-toe, closed-heel shoes such as a basic dark-colored pump.

Gender-Neutral Clothing Etiquette

Nonbinary clothing etiquette for the workplace vary according to the formality of the setting or occasion. Indeed Career Guide suggests mixing casual pieces with more formal articles of clothing for business settings. For example, slacks or pants can be paired with a many different styles of tops, sweaters, vests and blazers. The right footwear and accessories can give the outfit a casual or more formal look.

Casual Day Dress Etiquette

Dress code etiquette for causual Friday, for example, calls for clothing that is a little less dressy than normal. What you wear on casual days at work says more about you than a business suit because people pay even more attention to what you wear. Be careful not to dress in an over-casual manner or add too much flair to your outfits.

Do not wear jeans, athletic shoes, sandals or T-shirts unless the department is having a special “jeans day” or some other themed day. Men should wear neat pants with a buttoned shirt, while women can wear tailored skirts or pants with a suitable top or blouse.