Determine the Level of Formality of Your Workplace
Always dress to match the workplace setting. Some workplaces will provide a written dress code outlining specifically what is appropriate and what is not. For others, you may have to judge based on what others there are wearing.
- Formal Business attire is typically the dress code used for high-profile jobs: government officials, managing workers, lawyers, and so on. It is also for businesses which cultivate formality, such as credit unions. Be aware some businesses dress formally most days, but have “casual Friday” or will otherwise relax the rules for certain reasons or occasions (such as a walk-a-thon, fundraiser, or if the air conditioning breaks down).
- “Business casual” is the term often used for less formal (but not informal) office environments. (See below for a more in-depth discussion on what “business casual” means) .Be aware that this varies by culture, region, and profession. Sometimes “business casual” offices will become “business formal” for important occasions, such as a press conference, a high-profile visitor arriving, or an important seminar.
- “Black tie” is typically only used only for very specific and special events, (such as awards dinners, formal banquets, or galas.) These typically require a tuxedo for men and an evening gown for women.
- Typically, the higher paying the position, the higher your rank, the more professionally your office clothing should be. (However, note this is not universal–the CEO of a software company may dress far less formally than an intern at a law firm!)
- Some jobs have a specific uniform. For instance, a chef, nurse, life guard, judge, or police officer. This is a professional dress code, but usually this needs very little