Style in the Workplace: The Office

ss6We recently discussed casual work attire, and some general tips to keep in mind. Now we’re going to cover office wear.

The Office

If you’re searching for or already have a job which requires a more “professional” look, there are several basic pieces you should include in your wardrobe. Remember to be conscious of modesty issues with whatever you buy for the workplace. Although some work places don’t have rules about modesty, choose to dress with care, and choose to stand out for having good morals. Let’s get started!

Dark suit––The suit doesn’t need to be black, but if you are working in a more “professional” environment, you will probably be required to have a suit, at least for certain occasions, such as meetings with clients. Dark solids, such as black, navy, or gray, will give you the most versatility and should last for years since they are classics. Although a simple pinstripe is fine, I would not recommend getting any suit that is too trendy or has too many distractions (such as hardware, large buttons, bold patterns, etc.). The pants should not be skin tight, and they should have a straight or slightly boot cut leg. Although flare legs or ultra-wide leg may be “in,” they are styles that may not be as versatile or stand the test of ever-changing trends.

Pants––If you’re buying dress pants for your job, you should have several basic pairs. Black, dark brown, and light khaki are great colors that go with most tops. You can go with solid, a small, light pattern, or pinstripe. Although straight leg and boot cut are the most basic, you could try these pants, on sale, in a wide-leg style, which is very popular right now. Again, don’t go too tight––or too low! No one should be able to see your underwear (or anything else) when you lean forward or squat down. These pants don’t need to be incredibly expensive, but buying the cheapest possible will probably result in them wearing out faster. Kohl’s and Target have some relatively inexpensive styles and brands (many of which are designer names and quality sold at “un-designer” prices).

apt. 9® Maxwell Straight-Leg Pants––Kohl’s

apt. 9® Maxwell Straight-Leg Pants––Kohl’s

apt. 9® Striped Wide-Leg Pants––Kohl’s

apt. 9® Striped Wide-Leg Pants––Kohl’s

Skirts––If you live in a hot, humid climate, you may want something a little cooler for the office. Skirts are very popular right now––and there are so many modest styles! For a more business look, you can opt for the pencil-style skirt, which is straighter. There are also a ton of A-line skirts available right now. Whichever skirts you choose, make sure they are modest and appropriate. Your skirt should reach your knees and should not ride up when you sit down; this should be quite easy to manage since many styles now are below-the-knee. As with the pants, make sure your skirts are not too tight.

Dresses––The same rules apply for dresses as do skirts. Not too short, not too tight. But also, the top should not be too low or revealing. A very cute, popular style right now is the shirtdress. Again, solids will be most versatile, as will simple, small prints. Save bolder prints for evenings out or the weekend.

Shirts/Blouses––Number one rule here: not too tight––keep it modest! If a shirt is low-cut or short, make sure it looks professional with a nice camisole underneath before purchasing. And although this applies to non-work clothing, I still include it here––it is very unprofessional to wear revealing tops (no matter how often we see the lawyers and accountants on TV wearing them). If you wear button-down shirts, make sure that they are buttoned high enough not to reveal cleavage, and make sure the buttons don’t pucker when you move around. When in doubt, wear a tank top underneath!

apt. 9® Ruffle Dobby Blouse––Kohl’s

apt. 9® Ruffle Dobby Blouse––Kohl’s

Shoes––Your most useful pair of shoes for work will most likely be black heels. This does not mean 4-inch platforms or spiky stilettos. Depending on your style and comfort, I would go with a heel not more than two or three inches. Pointy toes may be comfortable to you, but if you need to purchase new shoes, I would recommend something more classic, such as a slightly rounded or square toe. Make sure the shoes have a back, or at least a strap––there’s nothing more awkward than slipping out of your shoes on the way to a meeting or while running errands. As for other shoes, check your employer’s dress code for guidelines. Some may not mind open toes (no flip-flops!), and you may notice other women in the company donning their favorite patterned dress shoes.

Keep in Mind

As with the rest of your wardrobe, the most important thing when choosing clothes for work is to make sure they are modest. “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety…” (1 Timothy 2:9). You are representing God and His church, and your appearance should reflect that.

By Lisa Grimenstein

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