What not to wear to an office with a business casual dress code is complicated and it is as important as knowing what to actually wear. Navigating the minefield of small career ending errors you could possibly make on any given day, depending on what you decide to wear, is stressful. This series of posts will help you avoid all those minor mistakes by making it clear what is acceptable, what is not and why!
Too much cleavage - Obviously this kind of plunging neckline is too much for work but if you do wear something which exposes a bit of cleavage add a big piece of jewellery or a scarf to try and pull everyone's eyes to your face. Also never wear a shorter skirt with plunging neck line it's one or the other!
Short skirts- Skirts don't need to be around your knees to be acceptable however anything that makes you cautious when bending over is obviously too short. If you look better in slightly shorter skirts then keep them about 2 inches above the knee and wear stockings or opaque tights in a similar colour to create the illusion of a longer skirt-and longer legs! (Opaque skin colour stockings are now very hip thanks to Princess Kate).
Visible underwear- Cami's and shells are perfectly acceptable under suit jackets the secret to making them work is to make sure they have a wide strap at the shoulder, the fabric is fairly stiff ( so they don't cling even if fitted), there is no visible lace and they provide good bust coverage.
Too many accessories- Here it's a matter of less is more! If you are wearing lots of rings don't wear bangles and bracelets. If you are wearing a statement necklace, forget the bangles and allow the focus to be on the necklace. Be careful of too many bracelets- anything that creates a jangling sound while you work could be annoying to others.
Pay attention to your watch, apparently it's the one accessory employers judge you on!
Bad fitting clothes- This is an area where some mistakes are obvious while others are more subtle. Make sure your buttons don't pull at your bust on a shirt or jacket. If you are narrow in the shoulders but bigger in the bust this will always be a problem, better to buy something that fits around the body and then have it taken in at the shoulders. Best advice is to find a good alterations person in your local area and make it a habit to take in anything that doesn't quite fit straight away (putting up with it for a couple of wears will be like putting up with bad curtains- you just stop noticing after awhile, but others don't!!) .
Other things to be wary of are skirts and pants that are too baggy or too tight. If your skirt creates whiskers in the front then it's pulling and is too tight, if the pockets on your pants gape then they are also too tight. Clothes that are too baggy look just as bad as things that are too small!
Wearing ill fitting clothes shows you don't pay attention to detail and it looks messy. A less expensive suit altered to fit you beautifully, looks so much better than an expensive one that doesn't fit properly. You will be amazed at how inexpensive it can be to alter your clothes if you find the right person and just how amazing you will look. Having something altered to fit you perfectly is like having a suit made to measure but if you are clever it can be so much cheaper!
Too fashionable- Unless you work in fashion or a creative industry, looking too fashionable is actually a hindrance to your career. I know because when I was younger and working in a corporate environment I often got comments on my outfits but unfortunately I never got promoted! Believe me it really doesn't pay to look like you care more about fashion than your work!!
Next... Common Mistakes- Blokes!!