In a world where first impressions and appearance are everything, adhering to employee dress code has never been more important or confusing. The difference between business casual and normal business attire changes between offices and industries. And when you’re a road warrior and never quite sure what to expect, your business travel wardrobe has to be prepared for anything. That’s why we’ve prepared this handy list of employee dress code do’s and don’ts as well as the basics for any business travel wardrobe.
Employee Dress Code Do’s & Don’ts
DON’T: Ever assume. If you’re not quite sure how to dress on a first day or first meeting, always opt for the more business formal attire. You may feel awkward if you’re a bit overdressed, but people are more likely to remember you in a negative fashion if you’re underdressed. Observing the work environment will help you gauge an understanding of the employee dress code. You can then adapt your business travel wardrobe style to fit in.
DO: Check to see if the company has published an employee dress code online. Many financial services or law firms will have precise guidelines and are happy to share them before the meeting.
DON’T: Opt for stylish over practical. Often the in-style doesn’t always fall in line with what’s appropriate for the office place. For men, a great example of this is denim pants paired with a button up shirt and blazer. Denim may be suitable for a night out, but it’s often frowned upon in more formal workplaces. For women, heel height can be the killer. They look cute in the store, but if they’re uncomfortable and hard to walk in, then leave them at home.
DO: Try to stay conservative and neat. One of the top reasons employees are admonished for their attire is because it’s either too revealing or too disheveled. Even if your office is extremely casual, short shorts are never a good idea. Take pride in your work and your look.
Business Travel Wardrobe Basics
Casual: This one is pretty simple because it’s all about showing your personal style. Whether it’s drinks after work or a BBQ at a co-workers house, casual is a time to let your clients or coworkers get a glimpse into who you are outside of the office.
Business Attire: For men, this means a suit with the tie optional. For women, think pencil skirt or nice black pants with a fitted tucked in blouse.
Cocktail: For men, this is very similar to business attire, however, the tie is required. For women, this is usually dressier than normal business attire. Stay away from cotton or cotton blend fabrics and stick to more silky fabrics. A great staple is just a simple black dress. You can dress this up or down easily with jewelry so you never feel out of place.
Black Tie: For men, tuxedo. No more, no less. For women, either a floor length or tea length dress. Anything above the knee is usually considered cocktail.
When you’re traveling for work, you’ll rarely have time to pick up a last minute dress for an event or dinner. With these handy basics and knowing what your trip entails, you’ll be ready for any and every work event.