Proper Office Etiquette: The Do's and Don'ts of Business Attire

Oct 23, 2014

I, like so many others, have an office job where I work at a computer 90% of my day. The dress code is considered "business casual" and honestly may even be a little more relaxed than that. I recently came across an info-graphic about business casual "do's" and "don't's" and it struck a bit of a cord with me and made me think (maybe a little too much) about how seriously I take my job and how I'm portrayed to my boss and co-workers. It also got me thinking that maybe I need to change (or let's just say tweak a bit for now) my general routine and address that nasty topic of time management and how I suck at it. i.e. Check the second bullet point down there about the wet hair thing. It could totally be avoided if I managed my time better. 

Let me first just say I LOVE my job. I love where I work, the people that I work with everyday, and what I do. Plus, the pay isn't too shabby either ;). However, because I work at a family owned and family run company, I feel like sometimes I don't take my job seriously enough - and mainly in the way that I dress and come into work. Now, usually I dress business casual no matter what. I have had several jobs where this is the dress code so I'm comfortable in slacks and blouses and close-toed shoes - ya know, the general wardrobe you'd picture when you think of office settings. That is perfectly fine with me! In fact I might even go so far as to say that I like to dress this way. It's empowering in a way to dress nicely for a purpose.
I'm a female, I like to get dressed up from time to time. What?

However, it's also tempting that wearing jeans to work is perfectly acceptable on a day to day basis. (I know, even I'm not used to this little luxury yet) I do try to keep it down to one (okay maybe two) day a week at most that I'll come to work as a casual jeans and sweater day but it can certainly be hard sometimes to choose slacks over my comfiest jeans. After all I am sitting in an office for the majority of my day... if I can do that as comfortably as possible then why not? But no! This is where the info-graphic comes in. If I'm dressing down all the time and only looking the part of any other bum on the streets then what kind of impression am I really making? My quality of work isn't the only thing that they're going to look at when it comes time for promotions or raises, etc. I know as well as anyone that appearance matters. 

Because of this and my desire to take myself and my amazing job (seriously how did I get so lucky?) more seriously and nip any slacking on my part right in the bud, I've made my own list of bad habits that I need to break. So, thanks, info-graphic, for bringing this to my attention. Preeesh. 

Areas Of Improvement

+ Stop wearing jeans to work Olivia. Just stop it altogether. Except maybe on Fridays. I'll grant myself a casual Friday. Yes. That sounds fine. 

+ Not even bothering to blow dry my hair before work or style it in any way other than a little mousse before I leave the house. I think I took this "bed head" trend and ran way too far with it. 
        *It's getting chilly now anyways and unless I want to spend all winter with a permanent cold, this will have to change very soon. 

+ Showing up without a stitch of makeup on my face. I only work with two other people in my office and this has only happened a handful of times, but still.

+ Chipped nail polish. I am the worst offender when it comes to this one. Am I the only one whose nail polish only lasts 2-3 days max without looking like a toddler has been picking pieces of it away as a playtime activity? Seriously though. Why doesn't nail polish last longer??? 

So, for those of you who work in a professional "business casual" environment - or even those of you who don't but feel the need to dress nicely at work regardless - are you guilty of any of the "don'ts" on this list? What are some of your favorite go-to pieces to wear to the office that are comfortable yet professional? I'd love to hear any suggestions or opinions about their idea of the do's and don'ts. Do you agree? Why or why not?


Unfortunately I couldn't get the picture any bigger than it is but here is the source for the info-graphic which is also a great article to read that correlates to my blog post a bit ;) 
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