The Worst Things to Wear in the Workplace

1
The Worst Things to Wear in the Workplace

A woman stands near her closet and thinks about what to wear.
Give careful thought about what to wear to work. vitapix / E+ / Getty Images

Appearance matters. It's not everything, and it certainly isn't as important as our performance at work, but people do judge us based on how we look. Don't become known as the guy who looks like he rolled out of the hamper or the woman whose skirts are too short. Get noticed at work for your performance, not your appearance. Here are 7 things you shouldn't wear to work.

2
Don't Wear Dirty or Wrinkled Clothing

Sloppy Businessman
This businessman looks confused by his own messy appearance. Mikkel William Nielsen / E+ / Getty Images

You should always look well put together when you go to work. Your clothes should be clean and unwrinkled. Avoid wearing stained items. Some people even keep a change of clothes in the office in case of a mishap. In addition, your hair and nails should be neat and clean and your shoes must be in good condition. If you look unkempt your boss and coworkers may perceive you as someone who is careless and doesn't pay much attention to detail.

3
Don't Wear Revealing Clothing

Woman wearing short skirt
How short is too short?. eucyln / E+ / Getty Images

Plunging necklines, midriff revealing crop tops, sheer fabrics and mini skirts and dresses don't belong in the workplace. A man's unbuttoned shirt shouldn't show off his chest hair. When you wear revealing attire people may think you are less than professional. You can debate the fairness of that—and you may not be wrong—but that, unfortunately, won't change people's perceptions.

4
Don't Wear Clothing That Is Too Casual

Flip Flops On a Beach
Flip flops belong on a beach, not at work. Teri A. Virbickis / Moment Open / Getty Images

If you think having to dress up for work every day is a pain, try working someplace where casual attire is allowed. While wearing a business suit isn't what you'd call comfortable, at least there is no mistaking what the boss expects of you. When casual attire is allowed you have to figure out exactly what that means. How casual is too casual? Generally speaking—and this varies by industry—t-shirts and shorts are definitely out. Jeans may also be out, but some offices allow them especially if they are colored dark blue or black denim. Ripped clothing, while trendy, doesn't belong in the office. Neither do flip flops—definitely NO FLIP FLOPS!

5
Don't Wear T-Shirts With Offensive Messages

Man wearing a t-shirt at work
If you can wear a t-shirt to work, a plain one is your best bet. Phil Boorman / Cultura / Getty Images

You probably shouldn't wear a t-shirt to work anyway, but if you work somewhere where it is allowed, you should never wear one with something offensive printed on it. So if you have a shirt that has a message, either in words or depicted graphically, that insults people or in some other way offends, wear it elsewhere.

6
Don't Wear Clothes That Are Too Flashy

Woman In Sequined Dress
This is a beautiful dress to wear to a party, not to work. BJI / Blue Jean Images / Getty Images

If you wear an outfit that looks like it's better suited for a night out at a club, it may look like that's how you spent the previous evening ... and never made it home. Stay away from glittery attire unless the holiday party is that evening. Save your glitzy finery for social events.

7
Don't Wear Clothes That Make It Difficult to Work

Stilettos
Beautiful, but how are you going to get around the office in these?. Martin Carlsson / E+ / Getty Images

Don't wear any article of clothing that makes it hard to do your job. Those beautiful four-inch stilettos may look great on your feet but if takes you too long to get from your desk to the copy machine because they're too hard to walk in, save them for another occasion. Likewise, avoid wearing overly tight skirts or dresses. Aside from being a distraction to your coworkers, you don't want it to seem like being fashionable is more important than being productive.

8
Don't Wear Too Much Aftershave or Perfume

Perfume
Don't overdo it. Simone Becchetti / E+ / Getty Images

Go light on the perfume or aftershave. You don't want people to be able to smell you before they can see you. Additionally, many people are very sensitive to fragrance. If you work with someone who has a severe reaction to it, you may want to refrain from wearing aftershave or perfume altogether.

Find Your Next Job

Job Search by