In our founders’ Joe and Jesse’s book Work It!: Visual Therapy’s Guide to Your Ultimate Career Wardrobe, they list 10 workplace fashion don’ts that we would all be wise to heed. As bosses, Joe and Jesse are always immaculately dressed and have a clear vision for how the workplace should look, just as we’re sure most of your offices have an unspoken (or spoken) dress code.
But some rules are a little fuzzy (is it okay to cuff my pants?) because no one really tells you what’s acceptable and what’s not. So without further ado, here’s our failsafe guide to make sure you never get a weird look from your boss!
THE VISUAL THERAPY TOP 10 WORKPLACE DON’TS:
1. Party Clothes: This encompasses everything from strapless dresses or tight, bandage dresses to sky-high stilettos. If it’s so sparkly you’d wear it to a Christmas bash, or so revealing you’d wear it to a club, the workplace is definitely not the place for it. Err on the conservative side!
2. Matchy-matchy Outfits: That being said, a red necklace with a red blouse with a red pants and red pumps might be conservative, but it sure isn’t flattering. Depending on the color it could either be very loud or very somber, neither of which you’d want to look at work.
3. Chipped Nail Polish: You’ve prepped for this presentation for months, you had eight hours of sleep last night and your hair is pulled back in a perfect ponytail. You may look like the poster girl for success at the meeting today but if your nails are chipped, that is not only unappealing but also very distracting. Nothing screams unkempt like chipped nail polish, so if you don’t have time to redo them, simply remove the color and slather on a quick base coat.
4. Flip Flops: We know it can get incredibly hot in the summer, but the office is not the beach. You can wear your flip flops during your commute and change once you get there but don’t be walking down the hall in them.
5. Visible Panty Lines: Invest in a good pair of seamless panties (Calvin Klein has some really comfy ones) so that lines don’t surface when you wear that pencil skirt or silk trousers. A VPL takes the attention away from the clothing and towards a place you don’t want your coworkers staring.
6. Pants Tucked Under: If your pants are too long, get them hemmed instead of tucking them under (yes, people can tell!). Tucking them–or even worse, cuffing them–comes across as sloppy and ruins the rest of your carefully put together outfit, so unless you have a reason to save that extra fabric, cut those two inches off!
7. Missing Buttons: A jarring gap between two buttons of your favorite peacoat is enough to ruin the whole look, because that’s what everyone’s going to be looking at. If you lost those tiny spare ones that come with your coat, our go-to is M and J Trimming for an emergency button run.
8. Stains: Wearing a stained shirt to work can be seen as unprofessional, especially if you work in an industry where you constantly have to interact with clients. How can you claim to be detail-oriented and meticulous if you can’t even take care of your own shirt?
9. Nighttime Makeup: If you wear a dark smokey to eye to the office, either you went partying last night and forgot to take your makeup off or you’re about to go partying tonight, neither of which your boss needs to know about. As with the outfit, keep the club scene out of the workplace and bring the makeup to apply in the bathroom right before you leave work.
10. Big, Fried Hair: Your hair is as much a part of your outfit as your clothes. Even if you look pristine from the neck down, if your hair is oily or streaming wildly, it will still hurt your credibility as a person who is able to “keep it together.” Keep a small comb in your bag for those windy-day commutes.
Now you know exactly what not to do, here’s an example of some Do’s so you know what to wear tomorrow: