Tips on office dress code for men and women

Ideally selected clothing is an integral part of your image.

We’ll talk about the way to choose clothes for a business person with Elena Milovidova, – personal stylist and shopper, whose clients are both business men and business women.


Elena, could you tell us about the way to dress effectively and efficiently for work considering the office dress code?

– Mix of classic and romantic style would be the best option for a business-lady. For example, it may be a formal suit, combined with a blouse with ruffles. Plain, straight and knee length form-fitting dress or sheath dress in conjunction with the pumps is permitted. But you must remember that there are different types of pumps, and the business dress code does not suggest to wear the decorated evening shoes and shoes with open toes. You can use scarves with prints as accessories. The most important thing in a classic style is fabric, it affects your fit. And the fabric should be dense enough not to show through, and even in summer it cannot be too light and thin. Therefore, when choosing clothes for the office dress code, pay attention to the fabric such as silk, cotton, linen and fine wool suiting. Cotton with silk for blouses would be perfect. It’s pleasantly cool in summer and warm in winter.

What are the requirements for the men dress code?

– The man should wear a suit of high twisted wool, not wrinkled and light weighted, ands shoes with laces or loafers made of smooth leather on a small heel.

What kind of styles exist?

– In general, in the modern urban environment there are 6 basic styles. The first one is classic style (strict dresses, suits, bags of rigid geometric shapes), the second one is natural, relaxed (jeans, comfortable shoes). However, elements of classical and natural style cannot be combined with each other. The third one is creative style – the one that helps to express ourselves, incorporating the strangest parts of the wardrobe. There is also a dramatic style. Sometimes it can be even seen on women in a daytime, whose image consists of a very tight and open clothes, high heels, bright makeup and big accessories. This style is more suitable for the evening. Its elements can be used in the afternoon, but in this case, the dress should not be black and length should not reveal the knees. There is a romantic style, elements of which can be integrated with classics. Well, the last of the major styles is an urban chic. It is a part of the business style, which differs from the classics in more feminine models and in presence of status, but not flashy accessories. Urban chic is an elegant style with the actual things that are always apposite and you are not disgraced to wear it for 5-7 years. For example, it can be Prada pumps, Chanel bag, Burberry trench coat, etc.

Could you please give examples of the different styles use and tell the reason of some styles are permitted in the office environment, and some are not?

– For example, the elegant European street-style, which we admire – it is urban chic. In magazines, we often see a dramatic style, sometimes in combination with the urban chic. Nevertheless, the magazine images of pure look inappropriate in a real life and especially in the office. Magazines in fact show clothes, and we show ourselves as a professional and a person.

Elena, please tell me about the changes in fashion that influenced the clothes we wear every day.

– Now, for example, dresses, skirts and pants combined with sneakers and running shoes are very popular. This trend came from New York, where distances are large, and women got tired to rush from meeting to meeting on high heels so they just changed their high heels for more comfortable shoes. However, they always carry high heeled shoes with them in a bag and change it before meetings. Still, the dress code is a dress code. In general, yes, the so-called business style is now got democratized.

What kind of general standards of dress code are exist?

– Every industry has its own standards. For example, the pharmaceutical industry has very strict dress code, but the IT-sphere has totally different corporate style, which comes from the fact that people should accept each other equally.

Office life is diverse enough, respectively, and the dress code depends on it. There is a work in the office, and there are presentation, business meetings and negotiations. How to dress in such cases? Is there any kind of sub-divisions in the dress code?

– Of course, in case of a celebratory event it is better to have a so-called transformational clothing that can be easily supplemented. This can be a dress with a jacket in the office during the day and in the evening jacket is replaced by fashion accessories. So with the shoes – office loafer made of smooth leather, you can change into the wedges or peep shoes in the evening and daily pumps in the evening are substituted with shuttles, which have different decorative details and a high heel. You may wear accessories such as a bracelet or watch. Another accessory that turns an image into a smart – it’s a red lipstick. This is the classics that fits all; you just need to find your own tone and color that depends on your color type. In order to refresh the day make-up and make it suitable for an evening event, you can apply gloss on the eyelids and on the top of the cheekbones. All of these relate to women. As about the men’s evening attire – it is always a suit and a white shirt, anyway depending on the requirements of dress code. Overall, the evening garb – is a darker suit, for the same reason do not wear the black suit during the day. If an event is very official, tie is a must. Choice of your clothing should depend on your goals. If you have to present something, if you should make a speech or your aim is to impress somebody, then it is advisable to have something bright – of red color would be the best – scarf, or tie. If the customer / partner is higher in status, then you need to dress impeccably. If you make a decision in a situation and you’d like to emphasize on it, you can afford to dress in a more relaxed style.

There is also a so-called smart-casual. Is this style suitable in the office?

As I said, business style gets more democratic. Accordingly, a more relaxed style and smart-casual is also becoming common in many offices. Men can wear a soft jacket or cardigan with buttons instead of a costume jacket over a shirt, and women can choose not a plain dress. However, bright prints are still not allowed. Only a monotonous pattern on the fabric. Jeans, chinos and topsiders are elements of casual style so they have to be very carefully embedded into a dress code, so not to turn an image into frivolous. Basic rules: Only one-color jeans, no scuffs, leather moccasin.


Thank you, Elena! My final question to you. You have already told the way magazines create images for the covers. And now please tell us how a business person should build an image for photo shooting and TV interviews?

– If we look into the covers of magazines, we can see that their heroes never wear black. This is due to the reason that clothing of light colors for photo processing and printing is more suitable than of the dark. In addition, black and especially striped garbs are not suitable for TV interviews. The most optimal and universal option for the business person is a light (not necessarily white) shirt or blouse with a dark (of blue or brown-beige palette) jacket.

Suggest a topic
facebook large

Contact us

Contact information

86-E, K. Malevycha Str. (Bozhenko), entrance no. 2, office 6,
03150, Ukraine
tel./fax: +38 (044) 503 08 24, +38 (044) 200 38 89,
+38 (044) 507 25 84

12, Voskresenskaya str. (Lenina str.),
office 3, 49044, Ukraine
tel./fax: +38 (056) 766 08 09

For corporate clients:

For MICE agencies:

SOS-line: +38 067 236 02 16

Follow us

Contact form in footer EN