Dress In Business Attire

Before beginning, please note that the ideas provided below are meant to serve as a general reference. It’s best to know the company and the company’s culture when making your decision on how to dress for work. There is a reference image at the bottom of this page to help you visualize what each category is describing. 


Prior to your employment start date, your company may tell you what style of clothing you should wear; however, you should generally ask about this upon accepting your job offer. Once you know what style of clothing is appropriate, you can plan how you will dress.


Dressing appropriately for work is important for numerous reasons. Here are a few of those reasons:

  • Shows that you take your job seriously.
  • Displays respect for your coworkers, supervisors, job, and company.
  • Can help you fit in at work.
  • Can increase your self-confidence.
  • Can help you feel more comfortable.
  • Can help you succeed at work.
  • Can help you stay employed!


Each company has a different culture and different expectations for employee dress. For example, a government entity may require it’s Information Technology (IT) employees to dress in business casual, while a modern marketing firm may allow its IT employees to work in casual clothing.

Regardless of whether or not the office environment is casual, you may want to still dress nicely and professionally for your interview. You’ll probably want to find a balance between showing the company that you are a good fit with their company culture and still representing yourself as a professional.

Once hired, if you’re not sure exactly how you should dress for work, you may want to play it safe and dress nicer until you’ve been around the office for a few weeks and have had an opportunity to see how your coworkers are dressing. It’s usually better to dress nicer earlier on and make a good impression than it would be to make a bad impression by dressing poorly.


Your employer may request that you dress in one of several ways. While you should strive to adhere to company policy, here are some general guidelines:

Traditional Business Attire (Formal)


  • Business Suit; Dark.
  • Sports Jacket; High-End.
  • Business Shirt.
  • Tie; Conservative.
  • Shoes; Dark, Leather.
  • Dress Socks; Dark.
  • Accessories; Leather, Subtle.
  • Cologne; Subtle.



  • Business Suits; Skirt Or Pant.
  • Business Dress.
  • Business Dress With Jacket; Suit Jacket Or Nice Blazer.
  • Business Top/Blouse.
  • Stockings/Pantyhose.
  • Shoes; Leather, Close-Toed, Often With Appropriate Heel.
  • Accessories; Subtle, Elegant.
  • Makeup And Perfume; Subtle.


Smart Casual Business Attire


  • Sports Jacket.
  • Shirt; Button Down Or Traditional Business Shirt.
  • Tie; Conservative.
  • Shoes And Accessories; Same As Traditional.



  • Nice Jacket.
  • Nice Dress.
  • Blouse Or Nice Top.
  • Nice Dress.
  • Dress Pants.
  • Dress Skirt.
  • Stockings/Pantyhose.
  • Shoes And Accessories; Same As Traditional.


Business Casual Attire

*Companies may differ on options for business casual, so a moderate variety of attire is provided below.


  • Seasonal Sport Coat Or Blazer.
  • Dress Shirt or Button Down.
  • Sweaters. 
  • Collared Shirts (Polo, Golf-Type).
  • Nice Shirt With No Collar.
  • Vests.
  • Dress Pants.
  • Khakis.
  • Tie; Optional. Less Conservative Generally Okay.
  • Shoes; Nice, Leather Or Loafer-Type.



  • Blouse.
  • Nice Top.
  • Nice Pants.
  • Nice Skirt.
  • Khakis.
  • Shoes; More Casual, Still Nice-Looking. Open-Toe May Be Acceptable.
  • Avoid Thin Strapped-Tank Tops/Spaghetti Straps.



*As previously stated, while companies do differ, casual dress code generally does not mean that you should wear clothes that you’d wear to the gym, to a club, or hanging out at home. You should still dress appropriately for your workplace.

What To Avoid:

  • Ripped Or Frayed Denim.
  • Low-Rise Bottoms.
  • Revealing Tops.
  • Inappropriately Tight Clothing.
  • Clothing That Reveals Large Areas Of Your Back, Chest or Cleavage.                 



  • Casual Button-Down Shirt.
  • Polo.
  • Casual Shirt, No Collar.
  • Khakis.
  • Jeans.
  • Shorts (Bermuda).
  • Shoes; Loafers, Sneakers, or Sandals.
  • Generally No Sport Coats.
  • Generally No Ties.



  • Casual Skirts And Dresses.
  • Sundresses.
  • Polo.
  • Casual Shirt, No Collar.
  • Khakis.
  • Jeans.
  • Shorts (Bermuda).
  • Shoes; Sneakers, Sandals.


Extra Tips:

  • Remember that you are still representing your company when traveling.
  • Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
    • This means, if you want to promote to manager, and managers dress more business formal while the non-supervisory employees dress more business casual, you may want to dress more formally.
  • Look at what your boss wears.
  • Examine how successful employees at the company dress.


Please keep in mind that these examples are meant to serve as general references. One company that requires business casual may require employees to wear more professionally-styled clothing, while another with the same requirement may allow for more fashionably-styled clothing. It’s best to understand the company and what the company expects.


Do your own research! No Longer Silenced Movement encourages you to do your own research about topics of your interest in order to formulate your own educated opinion.

The image above may be downloaded to allow for more detailed viewing.