Office Style: 4 Ways to Dress for Any Job
Until you become your own boss, every gig has a minimum expectation for the dress code. It can get complicated — rules have loosened and jobs have become even more casual. To navigate today's not-so-obvious style rules for the workplace, we'll take you through how to dress for a variety of work environments.
Style 1: the all business Gig
Situation: Suits are the norm. Plan: “Invest in a good tailored suit if you can afford it or go to a retailer like J.Crew,” says Yang. “Paired with a simple white shirt, and a pair of wingtips, you can't go wrong.” Go with navy, gray, or tan when picking up your collection of suits, and mix up the separate pieces. Navy looks great with every color. Or pair gray with tan. Planning on wearing a pocket square? Keep it a simple square fold, and avoid matching the square exactly to your tie — match the piping at most.
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“If dressing well is important to your boss, then stepping up your fashion game will be a great in with the higher ups,” Yang says. “Reflecting a sharp image will definitely give the perception of professionalism.” Your boss leads by example, and although you shouldn’t be a carbon copy of them — take some cues. Your casual Friday should replicate how they dress on that day. If they wear a casual sport coat, try a pair of cognac leather cap-toes and a knit tie. For jeans, wear a dark pair of denim and a khaki blazer.
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Style 4: No dress code style3: Part time casual
When you freelance, you may have to dress up your everyday look in a hurry. “Throw on a great sports coat and swap in a penny loafer,” Yang says. “And you will have the professional touch, but maintain your style.” Keep the jacket in your bag and wrinkle free by folding it the
right way. And no matter how casual, it’s best to leave the shorts and sandals at home. In hot weather, if it feels right, try a double-cuffed chino and a sleek pair of durable espadrilles in canvas, suede, or leather.
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Style 4: No dress code style
Sometimes there clearly isn’t a dress code. “Purchase a few pairs of simple slim trousers like [from] Bonobos,” Yang says. “They offer every color and flattering cut.” Top off the look with a pair of cap-toes or derby shoes. During the week, alternate your collared shirts, crew neck sweaters, cardigans, and polo shirts. To achieve a more casual appearance, try a neutral fine-knit tee tucked in your trousers with a braided belt and leather band watch for a sophisticated, relaxed look. Just be sure your tee doesn’t have holes in it and is wrinkle free. (We suggest skipping the iron.)