Your guide to work place styles. As most of us are either getting ready for back to work/school or even starting a new job soon, I thought I’d explain some workplace styles today so you are confident on the dress code and look the part at work! Here is your one stop source and guide to workplace styles.

What is the difference between business casual vs smart casual? Or business formal vs semi formal? These are the questions I get asked often when it comes to workplace styles. There is often so much confusion around this topic. So let’s talk about the many workplace styles today, shall we?

Now it is important to understand that every workplace has their own dress code and work appropriate attire. Also, your dress code also changes depending on your job role or your day-to-day roles like interviews, client meetings etc. Remember, first impression really do matter.  Generally, there are 4 different types of business/office work wear styles and although they are often mixed up for another, here is your guide to the most common work styles:

Business Formal:

This is your most traditional work style and it is the standard full suit and tie look. Think the Royal family or Jessica Pearson from Suits for reference.

For women, this means traditional suits or typically, a skirt hemmed just around the knee-length. A simple yet important rule to remember about business formal skirts is that it should not be too tight or too short.

Both skirt and pantsuit are suitable for most women’s businesses formal wear codes. The key to a suitable pant/skirt suit is fit, fabric, and comfort. A good suit will not only fit you well and look great, but it will also be comfortable to wear. If you need to wear business formals on a regular basis, invest in a good tailor because nothing says a professional than a well fitted suits. When choosing the fabric, choose according to the season and climate you are living in; if it’s warm out, choose linen or cotton. If it’s colder out, choose wool (among other fabrics). How is that for your guide to work place styles?

Examples of business formal include: dark/neutral coloured suit, collared shirt or blouse, knee length skirts, tights, black or neutral close toed smart shoes.

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Semi-formal attire is slightly less formal but still requires you to look professionally presentable and wear well-tailored clothing like button-down collared shirts and a blazer or jacket. But you can also wear brighter colours and bolder clothing.

Examples of semi-formal include: blouse with more brighter colours and patterns, cardigan, slightly casual blazer/sports coat,  trousers or skirts in various colour combinations, dresses at knee length, close or open toed smart shoes.

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Smart Casual

Although the term casual dress code gives you free reign to show up to work wearing your favourite hoodie and sweatpants, it’s still important to look professional with neat jeans and clean shirts or jumpers. Smart casual is slightly more relaxed yet professional wear. Always ensure your work attire looks tidy, clean and professional no matter the style.

Stick to tidy t-shirts, jumpers or blouses and dark denim or a well-fitted dress, mid- length skirts, dark denim jeans (no holes) and tasteful sneakers and/or sandals.

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This is as simple as the term appears. Casual attire includes all jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sneakers etc. Anything casual but I would highly suggest keeping it classy and clean.

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Well there you have it, your guide to work place styles. The important thing to remember is always pay attention to what everyone around you is wearing at work and elevate your outfit up a notch to look professional, classy and leave a lasting first impression.

Does that help? Let me know what you think about the different work place styles mentioned above!

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