A College Girl’s Guide to Decoding Your Office Dress Code

A College Girl’s Guide to Decoding Your Office Dress Code


So, you got the job - congrats! Now, you’re going to have to get familiar with this new job’s dress code. Unfortunately, not all jobs are entirely clear about what their dress code entails, but they still expect their employees to dress a certain way. Some aspects of a general dress code are pretty obvious, such as no clothing with holes, nothing too revealing, and avoiding clothes that are way too casual (flip-flops, leggings, etc.). Other times, a workplace’s dress code can be harder to figure out. Terms like “business casual” and “informal” can leave us feeling pretty confused, and we really don’t want to be that person whose outfit sticks out like a sore thumb.

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"Business Professional"

This dress code is mostly seen in large, corporate-type workplaces. Examples would be law and accounting offices. This is going to be the most “formal” level of professional dress. With this type of dress code, your best bet for a great outfit would include a neutral palette, tailored pants, collared shirts, and blazers. But with a dress code that calls for business professional attire, there’s no need to be too stuffy and formal. Feel free to mix and match your separates, and add some personality to your outfits with simple jewelry and fun, professional patterns.

Kendra Scott Jewelry Set
Calvin Klein Roll Sleeve Top
Anne Klein Twill Pant

“Business Casual”

This dress code is probably the most popular among today’s workplaces. When dressing in a business casual manner, you maintain a professional look while being able to feel comfortable and show off your sense of style. This dress code allows a wide range of standards in clothing, which can make it pretty confusing to navigate. Some great picks for a business casual look include a neutral palette (although it’s acceptable to play with color), slacks, skirts at or below the knee, and fun accessories to give it a little life.

Merona Ankle Pants
Notations Women's Printed 3/4 Tab Sleeve Cardigan
HIKA Women's A Line Dress

“Informal” or “Casual”

This dress code is the one that gives you the most freedom with your fashion choices. While jeans, sandals, and sneakers are most likely allowed here, remember that you are expressing who you are as a professional. A casual dress code is the most comfortable of the three dress codes, and the most fun (in my opinion). To be comfortable at work, without looking too informal, good choices for your outfits include the following: medium-to-dark jeans, fun accessories, skirts and dresses at the knee, and practical shoes like flats or basic heels. Wear a stylish blouse with your jeans to take it up a notch, and stand out as casual, classy, and fashionable in what is, inevitably, a sea of khakis.

Vera Bradley Tassel Reversible Rose Gold Pendant Necklace
Levi's Women's Skinny Jean
Steve Madden Women's Rizzaa Heeled Sandal


Related: 9 Affordable Clothing Stores to Shop (That Aren't H&M or Forever 21)



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