Business Professional Attire. Do’s And Don’ts

People’s work attire has evolved in recent years. For starters, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many office workers to work from home, and business suits were rarely pulled from the closet for a zoom meeting. Workers are returning to the office in droves now, which means a return to traditional dress codes.

This article defines business professional attire and explains why, despite casual Fridays and pandemics, it will not go away. We demonstrate how to manage a business professional wardrobe style. We’ve given some examples so you can see how good you can look!

Why Do You Need Business Professional Attire?

Call it a cliche, but business professional attire is all about making a good first impression. Why? Because a company sells goods and services. To buy those products, a potential customer must have faith in the company and its representatives from the start.

Consider the profession of an accountant. Who would you rather entrust your money to someone who makes an effort to dress well for you, or someone who wears jeans and a tee shirt because they want to be comfortable? A well-dressed person gives the impression that they are concerned with details, but more importantly, they are concerned with you.

According to Adam Glinsky of Columbia Business School, participants who wore a doctor’s coat performed better on attention tests than those who wore a painter’s coat. The participants performed better because they felt more confident in the doctor’s coat.

Exceptions to the Formal Dress Code

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. You don’t want to wear a business suit to a job interview for a farm manager or construction worker. That would be excessive and could give the impression that you are unconcerned about the practicalities of the job.

Different companies within sectors have different dress codes, and some prefer a more casual appearance. Silicon Valley firms are well-known for their hoodie-clad coders sipping Starbucks in communal areas. Apple, Google, and Quicken Loans all have relaxed dress codes in order to attract talented millennials in a tight labor market. Other big names like JP Morgan, IBM, BlackRock, and Goldman Sachs also have relaxed dress codes.

However, depending on the industry, business professional attire is required for most interviews. It demonstrates that the candidate understands the value of the customer. In short, the way you dress demonstrates that you care.

What Is Business Professional Attire?

Consider business professionals to be the pinnacle of office attire. Men should wear a suit, possibly with pinstripes, and a tie. Dress pants and a sport coat or blazer are also appropriate. A business professional can mean a suit for women, but there is more leeway, and a dress and blouse without a blazer are acceptable.

With this dress code, there isn’t much room for trends. Men may be able to maintain a professional appearance while breaking the mold with a colorful sock or two, and women may wear a printed blouse, but that’s about it.

However, professional dress code guidelines can become complicated because each office has its own set of often unwritten rules. Looking at your peers and mirroring them is the best way to gauge how you should dress.

What Is the Difference Between Business Casual and Business Professional Attire?

Some workplaces may consider Friday to be “business casual,” but don’t get too excited and put on your flip-flops. You can certainly forego the suit or jacket, and ladies can opt for a brighter top, but jeans or a t-shirt are still unacceptable in most workplaces.

If an office advertises itself as “business casual,” no suits are required. You should still dress in dark pants or khakis, collared shirts, and possibly a blazer.

Women should wear a dress or tailored separates with a blouse and a cardigan. Nylons or tights are not required when wearing a knee-length skirt, especially in the summer. They can be worn if desired. Dark colors are best for jackets and separate. Which should be paired with professional shoes. While a shirt or blouse should be light in color and neatly tucked in. In business casual attire, accessories, jewelry, and makeup should not be distracting.

In contrast, a print shop or tech company, for example, may dress casually and allow jeans. . A solid-color polo shirt or even a button-down shirt would look even better with khaki pants. Sweaters are acceptable.

Business Formal Attire

Business formal attire is on the other end of the spectrum. This is the highest level of dress, a step above business professional. Business formal is appropriate for formal occasions like award ceremonies and black-tie dinners. Men must wear a suit, a long-sleeved shirt, a tie, dress socks, and even a three-piece suit with cufflinks for business formal. Bright colors are out; only neutrals and dark tones work.

Business Professional Attire Guidelines

Each office environment and company will be different, but here are some general guidelines for men and women to follow.


  • Dark-colored or neutral suits
  • Simple ties
  • Light pastel, white, or cream button-down dress shirts
  • Colored socks are fine, but no white socks
  • Leather shoes, such as an oxford or loafer
  • Brown shoes with brown or dark olive, and navy blue suits. Black shoes with black or grey suits. Black suits go with black shoes. Grey suits usually go with black shoes.


  • A business suit is a good idea
  • Blouses that are not too low cut or billowy
  • A professional dress that comes to the knee or lower. It should be so conservative that you would only wear it to the office
  • Most business professional offices require hosiery
  • Shoes with a closed-toed shoe and modest heel
  • Jewelry and makeup should not be distracting

Expert Advice: If your job requires business professional attire, this is something else you should budget for and plan for. Once you know your sizing, consider using a tailor and having a favorite retailer so you can shop quickly and frequently. Update your wardrobe on a regular basis to avoid looking shabby, and dry clean suits and other items. Most importantly, don’t ruin a good appearance by ignoring minor details such as your hygiene, hair, and nails.