Office Fashion Faux Pas

Office Fashion Faux Pas

Whether it’s a make or break interview or just dealing with the summer heat in the office, getting the dress code right is an essential part of working life – and one that contains a number of potential pitfalls.

Instead of telling you exactly what to wear (we’re not stylists), we thought we’d focus on the items you should steer clear of. To avoid those embarrassing fashion fails, here’s our list of what not to wear to work (and what to cover up):


There are some things that should never be seen in the office. Toes and cracked heels should undoubtedly fit into this category 

If you’re lucky enough to work somewhere with a more informal dress code, girls should go with pumps and wedges, while guys should stick with boat shoes/trainers. They’ll keep feet cool and toes where they belong.

Bottom line: if your office allows you to dress casually, keep it professional.

Too much flesh

The saying ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’ doesn’t really apply to the workplace. Plunging necklines and short skirts should be kept for nights out: showing too much flesh at work will send out the wrong message. Wearing layers can help keep you covered up and keep you cool in the scorching British summer (ahem).

Bottom line: be memorable, but not for the wrong reasons.


Some employers allow staff to wear shorts, with some professions positively encouraging it (e.g. postman, fitness instructor, shorts model). But most don’t. 

Always think of what’s appropriate. And if you’re unsure of company policy, ask a colleague or get in touch with the HR department.

Bottom line: dress like you’re ready for work, not like you’re ready for the beach.

Too much fake tan

No-one likes to look pasty, but there’s a time and a place for a fake bake. 

While there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of colour here and there, be careful not to overdo it. You don’t want to be one who turns up to the meeting looking like an extra from The Only Way is Essex.

Bottom line: you work with these people every day. You’re not fooling anyone.

Stained/dirty/unironed clothes

This should go without saying, but unfortunately not everyone remembers this fundamental rule. You may not think anyone will notice that ink/food/drink stain, but you’d be surprised.

Bottom line: keep it clean.

Other things to avoid:

Too much make up (or worse – last night’s makeup), trainers with a suit, too many piercings and visible tattoos.

It’s important to remember that every workplace is different. We can’t tell you exactly what to wear, but we can tell you that it’s worth keeping some of these points in mind whether you’re already working or about to start a new job. 

If you are going for an interview, play it safe. Business dress is usually fine, and you can’t go far wrong with the classic ‘suited and booted’ look. If you’re still unsure, try travelling to the employers offices first and see how members of staff are dressed (this will also ensure that you’re on time, and your route won’t provide you with any surprises).
When first impressions count for so much, it’s important to get it right. Play it safe, keep it simple and don’t let your standards slip.
So leave the flip flops and shorts in your suitcase. Dress to impress, and dress for success.

The bottom line? Don’t let your clothes be a distraction.