Business Professional Women

Business Professional Women

Business Professional Women

Business Professional Women: To kick off my Dress Coding series, today I’ll be cracking the code behind “business professional” dress, also known as “business formal.” If you’re a fashionable girl working in a buttoned-up, ultra-conservative world, dressing professionally is an absolute must. Unfortunately, professional settings are not exactly friendly to the fashion-forward. Luckily, you can maintain a level of style by working in fashionable elements through subtle accessories and chic silhouettes.

Business professional attire for women is very similar to what men are expected to wear: The Power Suit. No, this doesn’t mean you have to wear a boxy jacket, pinstripe pants, and a tie… Instead, opt for a slim cut pantsuit, a skit and jacket combination, or a structured (and modest) dress.

Business Professional Women
Business Professional Women

Business Professional Attire Women

Business Casual

Pants/Skirts:

Women can wear casual pants or skirts. Neither should be tight. Fabrics should be crisp; colors should generally be solid; navy, black, gray, brown and khaki are always safe bets. For the most business-like appearance, pants should be creased and tailored; neither extreme of tight or flowing. If you are pursuing a conservative industry and are in doubt, observe well-dressed women in your industry on the job, at career fairs, at information sessions, or consult your career coach.

Skirt Length And Slits:

Your skirt should come at least to your knees while you are standing. While you are seated, your thighs should be covered. If your skirt comes to just below the knee, a slit to just above the knee might be acceptable. A very long skirt should not be slit to above the knee. Generally slits in the center back of a skirt — to facilitate walking a stair climbing — are acceptable. Slits to facilitate a view of your legs are not appropriate for business purposes. Slips should not be visible.

Shirt/Sweaters:

In addition to tailored shirts or blouses, tailored knit sweaters and sweater sets are appropriate business casual choices for women. Cotton, silk, and blends are appropriate. Velvets and shimmery fabrics suitable for parties are not appropriate. Fit should not be tight. Cleavage is not appropriate to business and job search occasions.

Jewelry/Accessories: 

Keep your watch and jewelry choices simple and leaning toward conservative. Avoid extremes of style and color. If your industry is creative, you may have more flexibility than someone pursuing a conservative industry.

Business Professional Attire Women
Business Professional Attire Women

Suits

Suits are always a safe bet when dressing for a business professional environment. Pantsuits or skirt suits are both acceptable. Well-tailored suits in conservative colors/prints are best (black, navy blue, and brown).

Pants / Skirts

Women can wear casual pants or skirts. Neither should be tight. Fabrics should be crisp; colors should generally be solid; navy, black, gray, brown and khaki are always safe bets. For the most business-like appearance, pants should be creased and tailored; neither extreme of tight or flowing. If you are pursuing a conservative industry and are in doubt, observe well-dressed women in your industry on the job, at career fairs, at information sessions, or consult your career coach.

Skirt Length And Slits

Your skirt should come at least to your knees while you are standing. While you are seated, your thighs should be covered. If your skirt comes to just below the knee, a slit to just above the knee might be acceptable. A very long skirt should not be slit to above the knee. Generally slits in the center back of a skirt — to facilitate walking a stair climbing — are acceptable. Slits to facilitate a view of your legs are not appropriate for business purposes. Slips should not be visible.

Jackets

A jacket should always be a part of your business professional wardrobe. Be sure it has a tailored fit in a conservative color/print. If you are wearing a long-sleeved shirt underneath, the jacket sleeve should hit the wrist just above the long sleeve so you can see the shirt sleeve peek out just a bit.

Shirts

Wear tailored shirts or blouses in cotton, silk for a blend. Fit should not be tight. Cleavage is not appropriate to business and job search occasions. No sweaters should be worn for business professional occasions.

Women Business Professional

While there are no rules in fashion, there are rules for fashion in the workplace. A few basic guidelines for business formal dressing include the following:

  1. Wear colors based on a neutral color palette (black, navy, cream, charcoal or grey). Unfortunately lime green and bright pink won’t cut it in the boardroom.
  2. Avoid gaudy accessories. Think simple, sleek and chic.
  3. All suits and skirts should be tailored to fit close to the body (but not tight). Skirts should hit at the knee or below. And blouses should be conservative, freshly pressed and always tucked in.
  4. Wear scuff-free heels or flats in a neutral color. If you go for the heels, don’t wear anything higher than 3 or 4 inches. These would not be okay.
  5. Hair and makeup should be groomed, neat, and simple. I think the ballerina bun is the perfect hairstyle for any female powerhouse. It’s feminine, yet strikingly authoritative.

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