Tune into an episode of Law & Order or The West Wing, and it's immediately obvious: What you wear to work matters, especially in a formal environment. While you personally may not undergo the same amount of daily drama endured by the lawyers and politicians you see on TV, there's still a set of guidelines when it comes to getting dressed. While every office may have its own distinct set of rules (whether or not jeans fly on Fridays, for example), there are general principles that many women follow whenВ dressing for a more conservative setting.
To help break down the dos and don'ts, we turned to our sister siteВ Who What Wear's Insider community on Facebook to tell us about their own experiences with corporate dressing. From theВ footwear to avoid at all costs (sorry, Birkenstocks) to the simple guideline on bra straps, you'll find the yeas and nays of corporate dressing according to the women who know best. Read on for the seven things to avoid wearing, along with exactly what to opt for instead.
No: Short Hemlines
Yes: Knee-Length and Longer@saskaludilo
"Shorts are a big no," noted one Facebook user, while others commented that miniskirts and short dresses also don't work in a more corporate environment.
Shop the look:Paper London Siven Checked Silk Midi Skirt $400ShopJoseph Byron Belted Satin Midi Skirt $645Shop
No: Crop Tops
Yes: Shirts That Hit at the Waist@alyssainthecity
Since, in general, showing too much skin can feel informal, avoid any tops that cut too high on the waist, and instead try tops that can be tucked in or that hit at or below the waistline of your bottoms.
Shop the look:Pixie Market La Chemise Covered Button Shirt $92ShopWho What Wear Long Sleeve Wrap Blazer $45Shop
While some more formal offices do allow denim, thisВ is a major point of contention among the women in ourВ Facebook group. TheВ general rule: When in doubt, stick to trousersВ or slacks.
Shop the look:Frankie Shop Grey and Tan Plaid Pants $129ShopVioleta by Mango Side Slit Linen-Blend Trousers $100 $40Shop
No: Stained, Distressed, or Wrinkled Clothing
Yes: Sleek, Simple Staples@babba.c
Distressed denim, wrinkles, or anything that looks "dirty" are sure no-gos, according to women in corporate environments. Instead, stick to simple, sleek pieces such as a crisp blazer.
Shop the look:Eloquii Ruffle Trim Double Breasted Blazer $140ShopBy Malene Birger Checked Cotton-Blend Blazer $650Shop
No: Tops That Reveal Bra Straps (or Could)
Yes: Longer-Sleeve Blouses@nnennaechem
Generally speaking, opt for tops that hide your bra straps; avoid anything sheer, plunging, or too strappy. One suggestion from the Who What Wear Insiders group? "If something was sleeveless, I'd say straps should be at least three fingers wide."Alice and Olivia Danika Pussy-Bow Striped Satin and Chiffon Blouse $320Shop
Shop the look:Zero + Maria Cornejo Jazmin Top $595ShopJust Female Palm Wrap Blouse $95Shop
No: Flat Sandals
Yes: Heels and Closed-Toe Flats@noore
Flip-flops and Birkenstocks top the list of no-gos from our community when it comes to footwear, but in general, try avoiding open-toe flats or flat sandals as they tend to feel too casual. In some offices, open-toe heels may be appropriate, but pumps and classic flats are the safest choices.Gucci Jordaan Horsebit-Detailed Leather Loafers $730Shop
Shop the look:Tabitha Simmons Millie Slingback Leather Pumps $595ShopAlyx Zu Zu Slipper $620Shop
Next up: What to wear to an interview in 42 outfits.
This post originally appeared on our sister site, Who What Wear.