If you’ve recently got an office job, one thing you may be getting overwhelmed about is the dress code. Is a suit too formal? What shoes do I wear? How much skin can I show? There are many different questions that you may be asking yourself.

Below, we are going to explain in detail four of the most common office dress codes and give you some tips on what to avoid. Sound interesting?

Let’s get started!


Casual dress has the least restrictions and allows you to wear almost anything. However, in most environments, you still need to be neat and presentable. Men might consider wearing polos and crew-neck sweaters, while women can wear fitted tops, skirts, and slacks. Sneakers may also be acceptable, as long as they are neutral and aren’t distracting.

What to avoid:
– Messy and unironed clothing
– Heavy facial piercings
– Casual shoes such as flip-flops
– Novelty patterns
– Jeans (Unless accepted by HR)

Business Casual

Business casual is what is worn in most regular office jobs. Suit separates can be of different colors as long as they are still presentable. There are also fewer restrictions on hairstyles, nail polish, and accessories. From semi rimless glasses, watches, jewelry, and scarves, all that matters is that you are presentable. That being said, you need to wear a proper button-up shirt, not a polo. If you are not sure of what to wear, this is one of the safest dress codes to choose from.

What to avoid:
– Novelty ties
– Large logos
– Sneakers
– Brightly colored nails and makeup

Business Professional

Business professional is all about dressing to impress. It’s one of the more conservative dress codes and is what you would see in most high-up office environments. For men, it includes a suit, button-down shirt, and tie. For women, a blazer and knee-length skirt or suit pants. While heels can be worn, they should be closed and shorter than three inches. Jewelry can be more noticeable, including statement pieces and chunky watches.

What to avoid:
– Patterns that are too loud and bright
– Extremely high heels
– Ungroomed facial hair
– Headwear (unless religious significance)

Business Formal

Business formal is the highest level of dress and is worn for events, award ceremonies, or special meetings. When compared to the business professional code, it is similar but of a higher quality. Men should wear a neutral suit, white shirt, muted tie, pocket square, and oxfords. For women, a pantsuit or skirt suit is best, with closed heels. Jewelry should be more conservative here, being simple and minimal.

What to avoid:
– Large jewelry such as chandelier earrings and chunky necklaces
– Skirts that are more than two finger widths above the knee
– Bright colors and patterns

And that’s it! These were four of the most common office dress codes explained. By reading through the above, you can make sure that you are dressed appropriately for every occasion. However, it can still be wise to go through your office policies for more information on their specific restrictions and recommendations.