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Dress Codes for the Modern Office

Navigating this area of work can be a nightmare. When is it ok to show a little individuality and flair? When is it appropriate to conform and adopt a more traditional approach? The answer is it depends. (Not very helpful – we know!) Many workplaces are throwing out the rulebooks and allowing employees the freedom to be themselves at work, embracing diversity and potentially unlocking a more comfortable and more creative workforce.

In the first instance it is best to approach HR and ask for your workplace’s policy on dress and grooming. Then you will (hopefully) have a clear set of guidelines. In lieu of anything concrete, or if your workplace is modernising and has gotten rid of a dress code altogether then following these tips should balance your personal style with office appropriate attire.

1.       Dress for your job type

You may have all the flair and colour of a peacock in full display mode but if you are a lawyer it probably wouldn’t be appropriate to turn up to court in your boldest and brightest. Think about first impressions. People will judge a person’s professional ability in part based on their looks and whether they appear to fit the part. If you turned up for surgery and your Doctor was wearing thongs and boardies you might be a little confused. Think about the type of job you have. Imagine how you would view someone in your position dressed in a certain way.

2.       Dress for confidence and success

Has your office has gone “casual Friday” all week now? Is it acceptable to come to work in jeans? Well, times are changing. One thing that hasn’t changed however is dressing for success. If you want your colleagues and your bosses to know that you mean business and are interested in climbing the ranks and portraying proficiency then you need to look the part.

To appear casual as well as exude competence you need to keep it on the business side. Image matters, and you want to portray the right one.

3.       Keep it classy

If you don’t have to, and choose not to wear a formal suit to work then make sure that what you wear is clean, well put together and polished. Putting a personal touch on your outfit will showcase your style. A watch, bracelet or ring and a portfolio or purse are a nice touch and can help your style stand out.

Although the new domain of modern office dress codes can seem like a minefield, if you follow these three tips you will be skipping through it like a pro!

Do you have any tips on dressing for the modern office? We would love to hear them! Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.