Levels of Professional Dress

December 5, 2016



Most companies have a particular dress code policy outlining exactly what you can and cannot wear in the office. In some cases, especially when going in for an interview, you might not be aware of the exact dress codes rules. For those times you do not have a detail dress code, use the guide below when choosing what to wear.



Casual dress codes have become more popular in recent years. While casual is the least dressy level of dress, there are still some guidelines you need to follow.

 What is okay to wear:

  • Nice-looking tops
  • Casual pants and skirts
  • Dark colored jeans
  • Any shoes, as long as they have a back
  • Casual accessories such as scarves, and statement jewelry


  • Casual pants
  • Dark colored jeans
  • Polos, sweaters, pullovers, and casual button downs
  • Sneakers and loafers

What to Avoid:

  • Anything too revealing
  • Skirts that are not an appropriate length
  • Anything that looks messy
  • Backless shoes
  • Unnatural hair color and facial piercings
  • Light colored and/or distressed jeans
  • Any clothing with stains or holes


Business Casual

Business casual typically the most popular dress code in offices. It allows you to have personality in your outfit, but remain professional looking.

What is okay to wear:

  • Dress pants, skirts or khakis.
  • Tops such as blouses, collared shirts, nice sweaters, or cardigans. Colors and patterns are acceptable.
  • Statement jewelry and accessories.
  • Flats or heels
  • Everything you would avoid when dressing casual


  • Button-down and collared shirts. Colors and patterns are acceptable.
  • Sweaters, sweater vests, and sport
  • Conservative colored dress pants or khakis.
  • Dress shoes are acceptable.

What to avoid:

  • Sleeveless shirts
  • Open-toe shoes
  • Sneakers
  • Jeans


Business Professional

Business Professional is a step above business casual. It is a more conservative type of dress, while still allowing colors.


  • Pant or Skirt Suit
  • Skirts no shorter than two inches above the knee.
  • If not wearing a suit, a blazer is recommended
  • A button up shirt in any color.
  • Non-distracting
  • Dark or nude colored tights.
  • Closed toed heels



  • A conservative colored suit, although it may have a light pattern.
  • Dress pants can be worn with a sport
  • Tie, colors and patterns are acceptable.
  • Collared button up shirts. Colors are acceptable.
  • Neutral colored oxfords or loafers.

Things to avoid:

  • Skirts shorter than 2 inches above the knee
  • Distracting jewelry
  • Open-toe shoes
  • Novelty
  • Anything that could be considered
  • Jeans
  • Everything you would avoid while dressing casual and business casual

Business Formal

Also known as Boardroom Attire, this is the highest and most conservative level of professional dress.


  • A pantsuit or skirt suit in a neutral color (black, navy, gray or brown)
  • White collared button up.
  • Closed toed heels
  • Dark colored tights if wearing a skirt
  • Conservative jewelry –Studded earrings are best, or a simple chain necklace.


  • A suit in a solid neutral color (black, gray, or navy).
  • A white collared shirt
  • Neutral ties
  • Closed toe oxford shoes


What to avoid:

  • Non-neutral colored clothing
  • Heels taller than 2 inches
  • Flashy/Gaudy jewelry and accessories
  • Messy hair and facial hair
  • Open-toe shoes
  • Novelty Ties
  • Everything you would avoid when dressing casual, business casual and business professional.



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