How to Dress for Work

Work Attire Stylist Tips from you Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist

Many of my Indianapolis clients struggle to build a wardrobe for work. So many work places, even traditional settings such as law firms and insurance companies, have adopted a business casual or strictly casual dress code. My friend who works at a large Indianapolis company told me last year employees voted on the dress code and it because completely casual–meaning jeans all the time. I think that’s great that the company allowed employees to have a say about their work environment, but above and beyond that, employees need to think about what where they are going in their career and what are their goals. That may mean dressing up much more and wearing much more professional clothes, even if it seems too dressy and unnecessary in light of a more casual dress code.

What you wear to work is a statement that either helps or hurts you. Don’t adopt the attitude that you can “get away” with these clothes, so why not. If you are in a meeting with others–men and women, too–who are wearing suit jackets or at the very least a button down shirt or classic blouse, and you are dressed down much more, who do you think looks more professional? It’s not you. I advise you, even if you have a casual dress code, dress professionally . This especially important for those trying to advance in their careers and even those already in leadership roles–you are a role model for others.

There are many options out there for you. It would be wise, especially if you are called into meetings with upper management as I used to be, to have a neutral jacket hanging in your office that you can slip on at the last minute (a cream, grey, tan, black or navy blazer is a great idea). Then, you can be prepared.

If your office is changing your dress codes, consider it an opportunity to purchase more basic items — not necessarily more casual clothes that you can wear on the weekend. It’s not the time to think: I can now start wearing all the clothes I wear on the weekend to work. No, it’s not true. Buying many basic, neutral items you can mix and match will help you have many outfits to put together.

I am not saying you have to wear matched suits or boring ensembles, but I am saying look professional. For instance, that means…

  • Never showing any “flesh” at work or wearing super tight clothes (men as well as women). Men: don’t show a bunch of chest hair.
  • Never wearing festival wear or casual outfits such as shorts
  • Avoid wearing too many short-sleeved outfits (cover them with a jacket, especially in meetings) (men: short-sleeved shirts don’t belong in the workplace, including polos)
  • Don’t embrace huge, bold prints or colors so bright they make your eyes water
  • Avoid wearing too many maxi dresses to work
  • Don’t wear super tight jeans or yoga pants to work

So much more can said about this subject, but I encourage you to dress it up at work. It will help your career in the long run.

Keep it sassy, Indy.

Beth Divine, Indianapolis Wardrobe Stylist