The Complete Guide to Office Attire Etiquette

Happy Monday!! Or, whatever you consider Monday's to be.

Via Google Images

Via Google Images

I know Monday's aren't generally the most fun ever... but today we're kicking off a pretty interesting week of posts! We're somewhat sticking with an "etiquette" theme throughout the week and I really can't wait to read Nicole's post on Wedding Etiquette, especially because I know it will be chock-full of amusing personal stories. Hashtag Wedding Planning Chaos.

But today isn't about Wedding Etiquette, oh no. Today is about Office Attire. How to look the part, how to afford to look the part, and most importantly how NOT to be the only person in the office wearing short shorts on casual Friday. Don't be that person!


How to look the part

It's important to know your company's dress code. I say this because every company is different and some companies dress code even varies greatly from office to office depending on location. For example, Seattle is one of the most casual cities in the US according to a Rowenta Survey, this means our business casual is very different than say New York's. Thanks to Stitch Fix I don't commit any of these fallacies when it comes to attire! 

It's also very important to know that not all your usual business attire may be appropriate for every work event. For example, in Seattle jeans are very acceptable in most offices (albeit not ripped up jeans!), but I would never wear jeans to a meeting with a client. I may not have to put my absolute best foot forward on a daily basis in the office, but I most certainly do put the extra effort in when I have big meetings or meetings with clients. 

And with that all said, my company is particularly casual, we drink beer at our desks... but you still won't find me in yoga pants at my desk. Just because it wouldn't get me written up doesn't mean it's appropriate. 

Some ideas of acceptable work attire:

Dress from Stitch Fix

Dress from Stitch Fix

Skirt from The Limited, sweater BP

Skirt from The Limited, sweater BP


How to afford to look the part

First things first, find a store or a brand that fits you well, know your size and order from them continuously. I can't stress this enough. Other than Stitch Fix almost all of my work clothes come from one of two stores, Banana Republic (on the pricey side) or Ann Taylor which has killer deals nearly every day of the week. These brands fit me well, they're great quality and if I pay attention I can catch amazing sales.

Sign up for the dang email list. Just do it. I know it's a major pain in the you know what to get an email every day from a store that you shop at maybe once every two months, but it's also a pain to go to said store and buy everything full price. BOO that. With Ann Taylor I'm able to set my preferences to receive one email a week with all the weeks promotions. Ann Taylor regularly has 50% off sale items, 60% off pants or blouses or dresses, FREE SHIPPING promos. Regularly. And since I know it fits me, I can order online and not worry about it. The only way I know about these sales is to get the emails. With signing up for the email list you also often get coupons for your purchases "thanks for signing up for our email, here's a code for 50% off your entire next order" - yes please! 

Pants Ann Taylor Factory Store on clearance, blouse Nordstrom Rack on sale

Pants Ann Taylor Factory Store on clearance, blouse Nordstrom Rack on sale


4 Casual Friday No-No's

I don't care who you are, what you weigh, how good you look in that mini dress you wear to the club... wear it to the club and the club only. 

Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, I don't often see people (even in Seattle) in clubbing attire at the office. HOWEVER, I do see people in 1. dresses with hems that barely reach their fingertips - I know major Catholic School Uniform flash back for some of you. 2. I DO see guys in cargo shorts. 3. I do see girls in tops that show more cleavage than I'm comfortable showing on a date night with Justin. And lastly 4. I definitely see people in ripped up, torn up, faded down and wrinkly shirts, jeans, jackets, you name it. Don't be that person. You're not homeless.

Here are some of my casual Friday outfits:

Blouse The Loft for $14, jeans Stitch Fix, boots Sam Edelmen from Nordy's

Blouse The Loft for $14, jeans Stitch Fix, boots Sam Edelmen from Nordy's

Sweater Ann Taylor online, jeans Stitch Fix, heels Jessica Simpson (Oliver needed some attention)

Sweater Ann Taylor online, jeans Stitch Fix, heels Jessica Simpson (Oliver needed some attention)

So, in conclusion: it is important to look the part. You want to dress for the job you want and not the job you have right now. That saying is true but it basically means, don't be the worst dressed in the office. Don't allow your boss and other people who have influence over your promotions look at you and feel embarrassed for you. One major misconception is that looking stylish (and I don't claim to be particularly stylish) has to be expensive. That wearing slacks or nice pencil skirts or dresses must break the bank. These things just aren't true. There are items I splurge on, but blouses certainly aren't one of them. Quality is important which is why you should buy nice brands but when the items you want are on sale!

Do you live in a pretty casual city and wear jeans and blouses to work or does your company have a much stricter dress code? Do you commit any of these Casual Friday No-No's? Please tell me you don't! And also, tell me all about the tragic office attire etiquette fails you see at work!