First impressions count when it comes to applying and working for any company. For interviews, we make a huge effort; we don a suit, a blouse or shirt, polished shoes and do our hair the best we can. When it comes to actually working somewhere, there are dress code guidelines in the office handbooks. But who reads those? Do, or don’t, with many offices having a casual dress code, standards tend to slip. It is inevitable when we spend so much time in one place and, let’s be honest, we’re not always going to look (or feel) 100%. Whatever your office policy, stipulated or not, there are some things that should never make it into your workwear wardrobe. These are just some of them.

Short skirts

What happens to our skin as we age?
Think conservative when it comes to dress and skirt length. Always play it safe.

Even if you think it is conservative, it’s not. It takes just one stretch or bend and you could be flashing your underwear to the entire office. Additionally, think about the consequence of sitting down; skirts tend to rise and you’ll be flashing way more of your legs than you intend.

Your skirt should be at least knee length when standing to give you flexibility. Wearing tights with your skirt is best too, especially if you’re not sure.

Low cut, vest or midriff tops

Anything that shows off your boobs, tummy or back should not be worn in the office. You may get away with a high neck vest top on really hot days but you are probably best to stick to a t-shirt and a desk fan.


It’s pretty much covered under the short skirt rule; you’ll be showing way too much skin.

Offensive imagery or wording

Anything that reflects bad on the company, including the clothes you wear, is a major no-no. Anything that could be deemed offensive, sexist, racist has no place in the office and could end up in a written warning (and even a sackable offence, yes, seriously!). Generally speaking, we’d recommend sticking to block colours and safe patterns and we’d advise against any obvious branding too when a client or customer is on site.

Sheer fabrics

It’s not appropriate. Let’s face it, sheer fabrics are pretty sexy, even if you don’t think they are. It’ll be pretty distracting and in poor taste. Best to keep these kind of fabrics for nights out.

Yoga pants

She’s horrified because she realised she’d worn leggings to work!

Even if they are dressy, it doesn’t exactly say ‘professional’. Yoga pants are designed to be worn when working out, not to the office (thought athleisure has come some way!). Additionally, leggings shouldn’t be worn as a stand-alone item- to supplement a dress, maybe, but never as trousers.

Flip flops

You can get some pretty dressy flip flops, so it’s not necessarily down to the appearance that’s the issue. The reason you shouldn’t wear flip flops at work is simply because they are hazardous; you could easily slip or trip or drop something on your foot and that can cause huge issues for your company and colleagues.

Ripped denim

Although we want to appear trendy at work (we do want our colleagues to like and admire our fashion choices) but you’ll not win friends with ripped jeans. Though some can look tidy, they are not appropriate workwear.

Nothing over the top

This would be a bit much for a day at the office!

As you get older, there are fewer excuses to get dressed up, we get it. But the office, is certainly not the place to do it. Don’t wear anything overly sparkly, skimpy, lacy, or velvety to the office. Well, except for the office party (though even then, don’t wear anything skimpy or too revealing).

Do you have any other tips on what isn’t appropriate workwear? Let us know in the comments below!

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