Suiting Up: The Dos and Don’ts


As I am entering the job market I’ve decided to do a series called “Suiting Up” on dressing professional for the office. I’ll have one feature every day this week. At first the idea of wearing a suit everyday overwhelmed me, but I’ve sinced gotten used to the idea and realised that wearing a suit doesn’t mean you have to dress boring. I thought some of you might share my experience in entering the professional environment for the first time, so for those I am starting off the series with my do’s and don’ts.

  • Do find out what your company’s dress policy is and whether they have any particular rules regarding clothing, as some are very strict and might for instance require you to always wear stockings with a skirt.
  • Do check your closet for items you already own that can be incorporated into your work wardrobe. Plain knits are probably the most obvious items that you might already own, but I found that even my classic tweed jacket could work if paired with a few basics.
  • Don’t wear any high-shine fabrics or sequins. A little shine never hurt anyone, as long as you keep it very limited and subdued. Always pair any shiny items with more demure items.
  • Do invest in basic, classic cut suits which suit your body type. There are many affordable suits available at discount stores, but often the manufacturer has made sacrifices to deliver a cheaper garment. So remember to check the fit, the style, fabric and washing instructions.
  • Don’t buy suit jackets that aren’t fully lined. Often times they won’t line the sleeves, which creates a formless jacket that will crease.
  • Don’t buy suits in bright colours. Rather stick to black, brown, greys and navies for winter and lighten it up for summer. Avoid looking like a clown if you want to be taken seriously. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear colour, just restrict yourself. Remember you want your work to be noticed, not your style. The same applies to bold prints.
  • Do check that all items are opaque by testing them against a backlight. You can rarely tell just by looking at an item on the rack whether it will be seethrough on you, so always make sure. If you are uncertain, wear a matching camisole underneath.
  • Don’t sacrifice your personal style. You will be more confident if you incorporate certain aspects of your personal style into your office wardrobe. Incorporate your favourite colour or incorporate a few key trends if you enjoy fashion.
  • Do wear comfortable clothes that fit right. This comes down to sizing and fabrics. Try buying only natural fabrics such as cotton and wool for comfort. Nylon and other synthetic fabrics can irritate your skin and make you feel hot and bothered. Also check the size of your clothes. Get jackets tailored if the arm length is too long and always wear a belt with trousers.
  • This might be the most obvious one, but don’t wear low cut tops or skirts that hit higher than above the knee. This is extremely unprofessional even if your company doesn’t expressly prohibit it.
  • Do buy as many matching suiting items as you can find. Often there will be a jacket, skirt, pants and sometimes a dress that match. If you are lucky enough that all items fit you, do buy them. This creates ample opportunity for mixing-and-matching, which ultimately makes you get the most out of your wardrobe.
  • Don’t wear clashing accessories, such as a brown bag and black shoes, This doesn’t mean you always, absolutely have to match everything . Just take care to create a more cohesive look.
  • Do remember to not (only) dress for the job you’ve got, but for the one you want!

Come back tomorrow for more from this series!


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