On most occasions, your office dress code speaks a lot. People normally judge you first through your appearance & sometimes the way you’re dressed at work is used to gauge your level of competence or how seriously you take your career.
That is why dressing appropriately for a job interview, a networking event, or the first day in a new position is an important part of making a good impression and coming off as professional as possible.
Dressing professionally often refers to a more formal workplace dress code and is most often seen and required in more traditional organizations. When it comes to job interviews, professional dress is the standard no matter what the company’s overall dress code maybe
With more workplaces now allowing their employees to wear casually, dressing to work at times can get a little tasking.
Fortunately, following a few guidelines as you dress for work each day will help ensure you always look sharp and professional, and you can add your own personal touches to make your look your own.
We partnered with Wamuhu Njuguna, a Kenyan Stylist and we have compiled a number of professional outfits that you can pull and still keep your professional look.
Keep in mind, however, that every industry and company has its own guidelines, so if you’re not sure what to wear, ask your coworkers, boss, or HR representative.
So first on our list is the business formal outfit. This is the easiest work outfit to pull especially if you are from the traditional 9-5 type of job.
The dressed-up version of business professional is business formal, a dress code generally reserved for events such as awards ceremonies and benefit dinners.
For this one, wear a bright or a dark-colored suit or skirt suit, a dress shirt, and formal shoes(mostly leather shoes or pumps, heels). You can always add in a brooches attached to your blouse or coat.
Finish your look with a minimalist belt(if you have to) and simple jewelry or cufflinks.
Business casual doesn’t necessarily mean casual what it actually means is that you don’t have to wear a suit and tie. Business casual workwear usually includes a collared shirt (button-up or polo shirt) or sweater on top, with slacks, khakis, chinos, or a pencil skirt on the bottom.
To ensure you always look professional, your skirt should at least reach your knees when you’re standing, and it should skim over your body rather than hugging it closely. Neutral colors like navy, black, gray, brown, and khaki typically look the most professional. However, in many settings, you may be able to wear bolder colors as well, especially if the rest of your outfit is toned down.[
You may also wish to add a blazer or sport coat, but you don’t necessarily need a custom-tailored suit jacket. Shoes should be closed-toe and professional, whether you choose boots, heels, flats, loafers, mules, or oxfords.
Tip: Business casual is a good way to dress if you’re unsure of what kind of environment you’re walking into since it falls somewhere between business professional and casual.
A casual office dress code is less restrictive than business casual, but that doesn’t mean you should dress as casually as you would outside of work.
This type of work attire is common in creative industries and on casual Fridays at more formal workplaces.
To maintain a professional look while wearing casual clothing, look for button-downs, blouses, and T-shirts in solid colors and dark-wash or black denim free from rips and holes.
Although clean sneakers may be okay, stick to closed-toe shoes, and always avoid flip-flops.
Smart-casual office dress codes is an upgraded version of casualwear, generally more suited to job interviews, client meetings, and events at casual workplaces.
For a smart-casual dress code, break out trendier pieces, like a work-appropriate jumpsuit, a blazer, and higher-end footwear.
Being Africans, a touch of an Ankara brightens your look! You can opt to have an Ankara pencil skirt and pair it up with a plain blouse or add in a plain coat. Do not overdo it though, make it subtle.
Opt for conservative but tasteful accessories. It’s normal to want to show off a nice watch or an eye-catching necklace, but be judicial in what you wear to work. A few well-chosen accessories can actually make you look more professional and put-together.
Try opting for classic pieces that showcase your style without detracting from your professional appearance.
Wear your hair neat and opt for minimal makeup, if you wear any. Each day, take some time to style your hair in a way that looks neat and flattering. If you have facial hair, be sure that you are well-groomed every day. In addition, wearing some make-up can help you look more polished, but wearing too much can make you look unprofessional
Choose a conservative watch. In a professional setting, your watch shouldn’t be flashy, but it shouldn’t be the cheapest plastic watch you can find, either. opt for a nice watch with a metal or leather band, with an easy-to-read dial or display, in a style that suits your personal taste.