Whether you're fashion phobic or just need some useful advice for getting your professional wardrobe in order, a few office clothing tips for men never go amiss. It's always good to have some information at the ready in case you're headed off to a job interview, an important meeting or just want to make a good impression at the office.
When shopping for your work wardrobe, bear in mind that everything depends on the dress code. Is it casual, formal, or somewhere in between? Based on this information, you'll be able to narrow down your choices to a few key pieces. In general, office wear usually falls on the formal end of the spectrum, if not completely dressy then at least polished and crisp. At a bare minimum, clothes should be pressed, ties should (generally) be worn, and shoes should be squeaky clean.
Given that professional wardrobes vary from office to office, there are still a few key pieces that tend to define the traditional work wardrobe. Here are the office clothing essentials you should own:
- Suits, it goes without saying, are a must, whether or not you work in an office. They'll come in handy on many different occasions throughout your adult life, so it's good to have at least one or two crisp, single-breasted suits on hand. Look for styles with two buttons, and opt for colors that are classic - black is inherently timeless, while gray and navy also complete work wardrobes nicely.
- Blazers, or at least one blazer, is good to own, even if you already have a couple of suits. You might need something different to pair with your khaki pants or a different colored dress shirt, so it presents you with extra options. As always, neutrals are the way to go, and avoid ostentatious fabrics (no velvet, please) that aren't suited to professional environments.
- Pants are a necessary part of the equation, even if you own a couple of suits. Use these to mix and match with various blazers and dress shirts. Opt for a couple of dark pairs - black or charcoal are great - and at least a pair of khakis for spring and summer wear.
- Shirts are equally essential. You'll need one to wear with your suit, of course, but a basic dress shirt (or two) works in myriad other situations, too. Again, opt for neutrals - you can never go wrong with white or light blue. Faint pinstripes are also acceptable if you opt for a print.
- Sweaters become your best friends as soon as the weather cools down. Vests aren't bulky, so they fit well beneath a suit jacket; look for neutral or dark shades that suit professional environments. You can usually get away with, say, a hunter green sweater and a gray suit (both stylistically and professionally speaking). In more casual environments, long-sleeve pullover sweaters are great options, but steer clear of prints and bright colors.
Helpful Office Clothing Tips for Men
In addition to what you wear, it's also the little things that make a big difference in the impression you make. These helpful office clothing tips for men will ensure that you always look the professional part:
- Avoid patterned and white socks. Stick with neutrals, like black or brown, and make sure that the color sock you wear matches your shoe.
- Wear a white undershirt beneath your dress shirt.
- Don't forget your belt. It should match the shoes in most cases, and should be minimal in appearance (this means avoiding oversize buckles and any other type of embellishments).
- Ties offer you at least a bit more leeway than any other part of your outfit. Feel free to opt for a colorful, printed style that complements your suit, but steer clear of far-out, bold styles in traditional workplaces. If you work in a creative industry, you may be able to get away with something brighter.
- Take your cue from employees who have been with the company for a considerable period of time. Your dress sense should mirror theirs, as you want to blend in (the office is not the place to start making fashion statements).
Where to Shop
Men's stores usually offer outstanding deals on suits, blazers and the like, so they're always good bets when building a complete professional wardrobe. Check out the following stores: