Formal Dress Guidelines
In a formal business environment, the standard of dressing for men and women is a suit, a jacket and pants or a skirt, or a dress paired with appropriate accessories. In our work environment, clothing should be pressed and never wrinkled. Torn, dirty, or frayed clothing is unacceptable. All seams must be finished. Any clothing that has words, terms, or pictures that may be offensive to other employees is unacceptable.
Formal Business Attire Recommendations
When shopping for your formal wear, bear in mind that everything depends on the dress code. In general, office wear usually falls on the formal end of the spectrum, if not completely dressy then at least polished and crisp. At a bare minimum, clothes should be pressed, ties should be worn, and shoes should be squeaky clean.
Given that professional wardrobes vary from office to office, there are still a few key pieces that tend to define the traditional work wardrobe. Here are the office clothing essentials you should own:
Suits, it goes without saying, are a must, whether or not you work in an office. They'll come in handy on many different occasions throughout your adult life, so it's good to have at least one or two crisp, single-breasted suits on hand. Look for styles with two buttons, and opt for colors that are classic - black is inherently timeless, while gray and navy also complete work wardrobes nicely.
Blazers, or at least one blazer, is good to own, even if you already have a couple of suits. You might need something different to pair with your khaki pants or a different colored dress shirt, so it presents you with extra options. As always, neutrals are the way to go, and avoid ostentatious fabrics (no velvet, please) that aren't suited to professional environments.
Trousers are a necessary part of the equation, even if you own a couple of suits. Use these to mix and match with various blazers and dress shirts. Opt for a couple of dark pairs - black or charcoal are great - and at least a pair of khakis for spring and summer wear.
Shirts are equally essential. You'll need one to wear with your suit, of course, but a basic dress shirt (or two) works in myriad other situations, too. Again, opt for neutrals - you can never go wrong with white or light blue. Faint pinstripes are also acceptable if you opt for a print.
Helpful Office Clothing Tips for Men
In addition to what you wear, it's also the little things that make a big difference in the impression you make. These helpful office clothing tips for men will ensure that you always look the professional part:
Avoid patterned and white socks. Stick with neutrals, like black or brown, and make sure that the color sock you wear matches your shoe.
Wear a white undershirt beneath your dress shirt.
Don't forget your belt. It should match the shoes in most cases, and should be minimal in appearance (this means avoiding oversize buckles and any other type of embellishments).
Ties offer you at least a bit more leeway than any other part of your outfit. Feel free to opt for a colorful, printed style that complements your suit, but steer clear of far-out, bold styles in traditional workplaces. If you work in a creative industry, you may be able to get away with something brighter.
Take your cue from employees who have been with the company for a considerable period of time.
Your dress sense should mirror theirs, as you want to blend in (the office is not the place to start making fashion statements).