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7 Things You Should Never Wear in the Workplace

They say that appearance isn’t everything, and that statement is true – to some degree. Appearance does play an important role when it comes to making a first impression, even more so in the corporate world. As a business professional, you want to put your best foot forward, and what you wear will largely affect the opinion others form about you. To make sure that opinion is a positive one, here are seven things you should never wear in the workplace.

Wrinkled or dirty clothes 

This one goes without saying – wearing dirty or wrinkly clothes and looking unkempt isn’t going to impress anybody. In fact, it’ll make you appear careless and as if you’re unwilling to put in the effort. Making yourself appear neat and clean is essential in the workplace, even more so if you’re going for a job interview and want to leave a great first impression. Also, avoid wearing clothes you wore the day before. Not only does this say “I’m hungover” or “I didn’t sleep last night”, but it also makes you look sloppy. And yes, people will notice whether you had a change of clothes.

Hawes & Curtis
Hawes & Curtis

Sloppy clothes 

There are things many of us love to wear when we’re at home like oversized tees, Crocs, and pyjamas. They may be comfortable, but they also make us look sloppy and like we just rolled out of bed. That said, there are sleepwear brands like Not Just Pajama  or Piglet that look so good they can easily be worn outside. With some styling tricks, the pyjama trend is something anyone can master, making it suitable even in a professional setting. It’s all about picking the right fabrics (e.g. silk), adding elegant layers, and wearing sharp components like elegant blazers and classic shoes. All these will help elevate the look and make the entire ensemble workplace-appropriate. 

Workout gear 

Just like pyjamas and oversized T-shirts, workout gear can be quite comfortable. However, sporting gym attire consisting of yoga pants, leggings, or tracksuits isn’t really going to help you look professional. These pieces make you look like you’ve just finished a Zumba class or like you’re headed to a sports game. The same could be said for sneakers. Although some workplaces don’t have a problem with employees wearing sneakers, they’re still frowned upon. That said, you can look for work-approved models and get away with it.

Slater Menswear
Slater Menswear

Things that don't fit 

Tight and short clothes may look appealing on your body, while baggy clothes may be quite comfortable. The thing is, neither of these types of clothes belong in the corporate setting. This includes everything from short shorts to sportswear to items that are two sizes too big. Some of these items may make you look distracting. Others may make you look like you barely put an effort into your outfits. When unsure, take a look at what those above you in the hierarchy are wearing, and either dress similarly or slightly more formal. 

Anything that’s too casual 

Different workplaces will have different notions of what type of clothing is considered casual. Some workplaces may allow black or dark blue denim, but tees and shorts are most often not on the list. The same goes for sandals, flip-flops, see-through pieces, graphic tees, and ripped jeans. Going too far in the other direction and wearing clothes that make it difficult to work isn’t recommended either. Think about it this way – if it’s something you’d wear on a night out and can’t be made more work-appropriate by adding a blazer or a scarf, you’re better off saving it for the weekend.

Tailor Made London
Tailor Made London

Anything not in line with the dress code 

There is a time and place for expressing our individuality, but the workplace is not one of those places. Dress codes exist for a reason – they are there to keep everyone looking professional and on an equal footing. Although some may interpret these codes as cruel or oppressive, your uniform doesn’t and shouldn’t change who you are. You are yourself in your uniform just as much as you are yourself in your gym clothes or everyday wear. Whatever your personal style may be, make an effort to adjust to the rules – it’s essential in the corporate world. 

Too much fragrance 

Your clothes aren’t the only thing you can go wrong with when it comes to dressing for work appropriately. The aftershave you use and, more importantly, the amount you use, will also speak volumes. Sometimes, going overboard with fragrances can be just as off-putting as a bad body odour. As a general rule, you should keep your scent on the minimal side when in a work environment. That’s not to say you have to refrain from wearing a fragrance completely. However, when you do decide to wear one, go light and use just a hint.

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