Demystify the ever-so-bothering genre of business dress codes. Read the article and learn the art of impressing with your dressing.

Business Dress Codes

Clothing or attire conveys a message, which is unconsciously yet immediately picked up by people you meet. A simple and inconspicuous outfit while generally accepted maybe considered too loud for certain places and occasions. Such is the magnitude of dressing sense that people tend to gauge your persona and merit according to the outfit you wear. Although you may have an excellent grasp of what to wear in social gatherings and general get-togethers, official or business attire can get you confounded. Unlike the common misconception, business attire doesn’t always mean a formal one. It may include evening wear and also be the casual business attire for those official but casual get-togethers. The office casuals however, differ from regular casuals but are definitely not formals and party dressing is formal but not like the general formals. Confused? Well, that’s precisely why you should read ahead. Maybe the insights it contains can guide you well in this rather slippery domain of dressing for the occasion.
Business Attire 
Business Formal Outfits For Men:

General Attire:

Most companies make formal dressing a norm for their employees. This norm calls for men to be dressed in regular formals like:

  • Pastel-colored pants.
  • Shirts varying from light solids to small and inconspicuous checks and stripes
  • Pastel ties complimenting the overall outfit (if required by the employer)
  • Black or deep brown leather belt with a small or no buckle.
  • Close toed shoes, laced or others but always well polished
  • Dark coloured socks.
  • Office bags like laptop bags or basic leather bags. 

Official Party Or Get-Togethers
On such occasions, you may have to share space with the senior-most management along with your immediate boss. Such get-togethers are often family affairs hence you must ensure that your spouse is also decked up for the occasion. This sort of dress code is apt for award dinners and dressy evening business associations. When the dress code is to dress in business formal attire, the following goes:

  • Dark tailored suits
  • White shirts with cuff links
  • Close toed shoes of conservative colour and style
  • Pocket squares of silk or linen. 

Business Casual Outfits For Men
Casuals create a ground for much debate. Remember, they say casual but they mean office casuals. They are less formal than general but more formal than your clubbing outfit. You need to strike a balance. 

High-End Business Casuals

  • Suits with dressy sport shirts
  • Dress trousers
  • Dressy collared sport shirts that do not require a tie
  • Sweaters or sport coats
  • All leather belt and shoes or subtle lifestyle shoes
Regular Business Casuals:
  • Khakis or chinos
  • Knit golf shirts
  • Collared T-shirts with subtle prints
  • Black or brown leather belts
  • Sandals or sneakers 

Business Formal Outfits For Women
As against business formals for men, women’s business formals are rather liberal and loosely defined. The rules are liberal and easier to follow. Unfortunately, they also open to gross misinterpretation, which is why women tend to be unprofessionally attired more often than men.

General Attire
The day-to-day attire for women, since liberal, depends largely on the choice of colour. A few of the following tips will help you deck-up for the daily office routine:

  • Stick to pastel shades. Flashy and over bright colours are a strict no-no at office.
  • Formal business suits with close pressed trousers and blazers without ties.
  • Shirts or blouses either matching or subtly contrasting the overall outfit.
  • Formal skirts with compulsory stockings
  • A tie or scarf to add a little bit colors is permitted.
  • Close toed formal or firm-fitted open-toed heels/flats.
  • Minimal and simple jewellery.
  • Black or brown leather belts.
  • Black or brown leather purses or office bags.
  • Subtle make-up in basic shades if required. 
Indian Formals
  • Deep colored saris, preferably cotton saris
  • Well-fitted salwar-suits with dupatta.
  • Loose fitting kurtas, preferably collared, without dupattas
  • Avoid plunging necklines and fancy neck-patterns on blouses and kurtas
  • Sleeveless attires allowed but not straps.
  • Firm-fitted sandals to avoid the noise on office floor.
Official Party Or Get-Together 
The employees’ dress code on official get-togethers also applies to the spouse of the employee. When dressing up for own office’s get-togethers or even for husband’s office get-together, the following should be the code:
  • Dark tailored suits and white linen blouses without ties.
  • Knee-length dark one pieces with close-toed heels or flats.
  • Knee-length skirts and compulsory stockings with bright but not flashy blouses.
  • A bright belt or scarf can be used to accessorise the outfit.
  • Broad straps for sleeves are allowed.
  • Avoid over-flashy colours but light and basic colours like baby-pink and peach are welcome.
  • Avoid over-exposure of legs and cleavage.
  • Light make-up in basic shades.

Indian Outfits

  • Deep and royal shades of saris and salwar-suits with subtle borders or glittery embroidery.
  • Matching but subtle open toed footwear with/without heels.
  • Matching clutches or simple purses. 
Business Casual Outfits For Women
  • If business formal attire for women is a slippery affair then business casual outfit is a definite swamp. However, these pointers must give enough directions to guide you through the marshland called business casuals for women.
  • Skirts, slacks, blouses, sweaters, sweater sets and jackets
  • Khakis, chinos, and denims with polo shirts or casual button-downs.
  • Avoid cut-offs, tank tops and flip-flops.
  • Knee-length or waist-length kurtas with denims.
  • Closed-toe/ heels or sling-backs. 
Along with all the above, both men and women must take care to follow general cleanliness guidelines religiously like: 
  • Clean cut nails
  • Neatly styled or cut hair
  • Avoid strong perfumes but deodorants are a must
  • Avoid facial hair or keep it neatly trimmed at all times.

How to Cite

More from