Work Style Basics: What NOT to Wear vs What TO Wear

Gone are the days of women feeling like they have to dress like a man in a man’s world to be taken seriously in the workplace.  Wearing the power suits popular in the 80’s and/or even forced to endure long days squeezed into flesh-toned pantyhose, even worn UNDER your pants is a thing of the past!

Today’s workplace is a much more casual environment and allows for more creative styles. But if you’re not fashion inclined or even known for your signature style, it may be a bit difficult to know what to wear to work and what to save for the weekend. Remember, you should let your workplace be your guide (obviously if casual day at the office means flips flops and jeans then by all means, indluge!) but ALWAYS make sure you are mended, well groomed, tidy and above all else presentable with a flawless attitude.

To help you out, here are 10 items that should not be worn in MOST offices.

1. Cut off jean shorts or short shorts… some shorts are acceptable though, and they usually hit just above or just below the knee.  Dress them up with blazers, button down shirts, lace up oxfords, loafers or simple heels.

2. Ripped or torn clothing, even jeans.

3. Dirty clothes… yesterday’s clothes.

4. Crop tops, halter tops, items that are too small, too short or too tight or anything showing too much skin.

5. Sweats, sweat suits, track suits, etc.

6. Workout sneakers.

7. Leggings worn as pants. Instead, wear them with a long dress, tunic or sweater that hits mid-thigh and accompany them with knee high riding boots, ankle boots, lace-up oxfords, ballet flats or loafers.

8. Too much makeup and really too much of anything {including cologne}.

9. Hats, bunny ears, big bows, tiaras, bandanas…  Scarves are okay.

10. Shiny items, including but not limited to: glitter, lamé, and sequins. 

Now, here is an example of what you SHOULD wear…

Work attire should be simple yet bold, and sticking to classic silhouettes is a great way to command power and remain work-appropriate. Build your wardrobe from basic, yet flattering, shapes and colors like pencil skirts and crisp, white button-down shirts. A great black blazer can create new looks when worn with skirts or classic wide-leg pants — or even a great-fitting pair of cropped pants. Keeping your color palette in neutrals — like black, white, flesh tones, and grays — really gives you the most opportunity to mix and match and extend your garments into unforgettable ensembles. Leopard print works as a versatile neutral with a hint of an edge while adding a few red items adds a bit of pop to any wardrobe. Any of these pieces {as shown below} can be mixed and matched to create a lasting impression at the office… and keep you chic throughout the year.

Work Appropriate


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LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Dianna

    August 14, 2012 |

    very true!

  • Amy

    August 14, 2012 |

    Couldn’t agree more!


    Leopard and Lillies

  • Malu Swartjes

    August 14, 2012 |
  • Daisy Nguyen

    August 14, 2012 |

    I agree with all of these! I am always amazed when someone comes to work in cropped top – really? Come on now.

    -Daisy Nguyen from PS BANANAS fashion blog:

  • Gwen

    August 14, 2012 |

    I may need to print this and leave it in a coworkers mailbox. If that woman (who is in her 50s and looks it) wears another sun dress with spaghetti straps and no bra to the office I might die.

    But…I should pay you to shop for me and get me all the classic pieces I need. 🙂

  • Maria @ GLD

    August 14, 2012 |

    I couldn’t agree more! Although some of my coworkers might not: leggings worn as pants, sweats, ripped jeans and workout sneakers are seen on a daily basis at my work place :S

  • LesliMarie

    August 14, 2012 |

    I have a casual office….but people take that to a whole different level. I should print this post and hang it up, lol.

  • Anonymous

    August 14, 2012 |

    great post! simple, direct and not the least bit catty or judgmental.

  • Kat

    August 15, 2012 |

    This is really helpful info. And helps others visualize some trends too.

    Can you do a post on what you should wear to an interview?


  • Felicia

    August 15, 2012 |

    Can we add stripper heels to the “NO” list?? I know it sounds baffling but I’ve worked with many women who wear these to work in an office environment!!!

    Also, I now work with a girl with a GIANT sock monkey tattoo on her CALF and she wears skirts like, EVERY GODDAMN DAY. How do people get away with shit like that??

  • mobb

    August 15, 2012 |

    great tips.=)

  • Carsedra McKoy

    August 15, 2012 |

    Great tips!!!! I have seen some questionable things in my office. Even though I work in IT and we are business casual, we still have a dress code but I have seen some ladies wear more of the DON’T list than the DO list!!

    Carsedra of:

  • McGooge

    August 15, 2012 |

    what a wonderful blog post -thank you so much! after very recently moving to the city and currently jobhunting, i’ve been at a loose end of what is office-appropriate these days (my current workplace is casual)

    Just the inspiration I needed! Thank you all the way from the UK!

  • theglitterlife

    August 15, 2012 |



  • Jessi

    August 16, 2012 |

    Love and would wear every single one of these pieces! Perfect timing, too, as I job hunt and will need to dress like this for interviews… and hopefully a new job! 🙂
    xoxo J

  • Anonymous

    August 16, 2012 |

    I can not Understand the concept for the stylish Dress.

    SilverFox Link Medical Alert System

  • Shayne Renee

    August 19, 2012 |

    Sometimes I get bored with workwear. I love the pieces you chose for work. Thanks for the inspo!

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