appropriate dress code practices for the workplace

Dress Code Etiquette At Work: 6 Rules For A Professional Attire

Who this micro-class is for

* Employees, managers, and professionals

What you’ll learn

* The principles of dress code etiquette

* How to choose an appropriate attire for work


* Less than 8 minutes to complete

About this micro-class

Dress code etiquette helps maintain a professional and respectful work environment while ensuring comfort and appropriateness in attire for all employees.

1. General dress code guidelines

Professional attire

Employees are expected to dress in a manner that reflects professionalism and respect for the workplace.

Good judgement

Dress code etiquette aims to maintain a professional yet comfortable environment for all employees. It’s crucial to use good judgment and consider the nature of work and professional interactions when selecting your attire.

2. Dress code in common work situations

Physical roles

Employees involved in more physical roles should wear attire suitable for their work tasks while maintaining a neat and professional appearance.

Office attire

Business casual is usually the standard attire for daily office operations. This includes:

Shirts: Collared shirts, blouses, sweaters, or tops in neutral or solid colors.
Bottoms: Slacks, skirts, or dresses of appropriate length.
Footwear: Closed-toe shoes or professional flats.

Client meetings or formal occasions

how to dress for client meetings

On such occasions, business formal attire is required. This includes:

  • Suits, formal dresses, or tailored separates.
  • Conservative colors and styles for a professional appearance.

Casual days or events

casual day dress code at work

On designated casual days or events, it is acceptable to wear more relaxed attire, but it should still be neat and presentable.

3. Acceptable professional attire

Always choose neat, clean, and well-maintained clothing. Examples include dress pants, blouses, polo shirts, knee-length skirts, dresses, and tailored jackets.

4. Factors to consider when choosing attire

Comfort: Clothing should be comfortable for the individual while adhering to the dress code.

Respectful Appearance: Clothing choices should not be offensive, revealing, or excessively casual.

Functionality: Ensure attire is appropriate for the tasks and responsibilities of the role.

5. Items to avoid

Clothing with offensive language or imagery.

Revealing or overly casual attire, such as beachwear, tank tops, shorts, or flip-flops.

Any clothing that might be a safety hazard or is excessively worn or torn.

6. Dress code etiquette best practices

Ensure that your clothes are clean before wearing them

Don’t wear clothes that smell, or that are soiled or worn-out

Smell your clothes before wearing them, checking risky areas such as the armpits.

Make sure that your clothes don’t have any stains or wear-and-tear.

Change clothes frequently

When possible, avoid wearing the same clothes for 2 or more days in a row.

Try to refresh your look daily and wait 2 or 3 days before you wear the same clothes again. 

Trousers and shoes are usually the exception. While it is perfectly acceptable to wear them for more than 2 consecutive days, it is best to rotate them often too.

Wash your clothes often

Wash your clothes often. Limit the times you wear the same clothes between washes.

Wash clothes periodically even if they look clean, as they can host germs and bacteria.

Always wash lingerie, underwear, and sportswear after each single use

Lingerie, underwear, and sportswear present a higher hygiene risk. Wear them once and wash them after each single use.

Resources and useful links