How do you define professional dress code?

I know that dress codes vary however; my personal opinion on this subject is that you dress for where you are gong and not for where you are at.  I think business casual has been taken out of context making the workplace look like a club rather than a professional work environment.  I can understand not utilizing suits but we should still dress like we are going to an office and not to the supermarket, the mall or a park.  In any case, I came across this article titled “A Clothes Encounter In The Business World by WILLIAM DOYLE“, in it the author goes into some details as to what he believes is the proper look for a professional dress code for woman and since I enjoyed it, I thought you might to. 

Professional Dress for Women

When women entered the workplace in the 1970’s and 1980’s in greater numbers than ever before and began to move into positions which had traditionally been held by men, many of them believed that they needed to imitate male business attire. The result was women showing up at the office in skirted suits or coordinated skirts and jackets with tailored blouses finished off with an accessory item that looked very much like a man’s tie. Happily those days are gone. While the business woman may now wear trousers to work, she does it out of a desire to appear professional and at the same time enjoy the flexibility and comfort that pants offer over skirts. Her goal is no longer to mirror her male colleagues.

The same overall rules apply to women’s work attire as apply to men’s. Business clothing is not a reflection of the latest fashion trend. A woman should be noticed for who she is and her professional skills rather than for what she wears. Her business wear should be appropriate for her industry and her position or title within the industry.

Start with a skirted suit or pants suit for the most conservative look. A skirted suit is the most professional. With a few exceptions, dresses do not offer the same credibility unless they are accompanied by matching jackets.

Skirts should be knee-length or slightly above or below. Avoid extremes. A skirt more than two inches above the knee raises eyebrows and questions.

Pants should break at the top of the foot or shoe. While Capri pants and their fashion cousins that come in assorted lengths from mid-calf to ankle are the latest trend, they are out of place in the conservative business environment.

Blouses and sweaters provide color and variety to woman’s clothing, but they should be appealing rather than revealing. Inappropriate necklines and waistlines can give the wrong impression.

Women need to wear hose in the business world. Neutral or flesh-tone stockings are the best choices. Never wear dark hose with light-colored clothing or shoes. Keep an extra pair of stockings in your desk drawer unless the hosiery store is next door or just down the street from the office.

Faces, not feet, should be the focal point in business so chose conservative shoes. A low heel is more professional than flats or high heels. In spite of current fashion and the sandal rage, open-toed or backless shoes are not office attire. Not only are sandals a safety hazard, they suggest a certain official agenda.

When it comes to accessories and jewelry, less is once again more. Keep it simple: one ring per hand, one earring per ear. Accessories should reflect your personality, not diminish your credibility.

Business attire is different from weekend and evening wear. Investing in a good business wardrobe is an investment in your professional future. For those who think it’s not what you wear but who you are that creates success, give that some more thought. Business skills and experience count, but so does personal appearance and that all-important first impression.

To read the entire article you can go to: (in the event that the link does not work you can copy and paste it to your browser).



  1. Hi Amy,

    this is a great article. I read it after I responded to your post in LinkedIn. I think you had a few really good points, very similar to my train of thought.

    Thank you for the article and its contents!!!

    danielle ho.

    • Thank you Danielle for reading and commenting on the discussion and my post. I agreed with your comments on the linked in discussion as well. The discussion has received lots of feedback and most of them have agreed to what professional dress code should be. Apparently the 2 difference of opinions have to do with hosery and jeans. I’m enjoying reading all the feedback.

      Have a great day and lets stay connected.


  2. Thanks for sharing. Your article was great help.

    • Hi Beth, I’m glad the post was beneficial to you.


  3. Truly when someone doesn’t understand then its up to other users that they will help, so here it happens.

  4. “With a few exceptions, dresses do not offer the same credibility unless they are accompanied by matching jackets” That is a stupid comment. I see alot of women wearing a dress at work and they seem to be dressed appropriate. The funny thing is that the person who wrote this might be confused like most men who do not know the difference between a dress and skirt. I always thought a dress was below the knee and a skirt was above the knee. My co worker explained to me what makes a dress and what makes a skirt. I think only an old person or out of touch person would think a dress is not appropriate at work. I personally would not wear a dress anywhere but that is because I think dresses and skirts are uncomfortable but anyone saying that a dress is not apprropriate for work is confused. I also think that there is confusion on shoes. People think something without a back is a sandal but if it is 3 inches and has a pump style even with an open toe and just a covering across the mid toes but a narrow skinny 3 inch heel it is an appropriate high heel. The same front “strap” covering on the mid toes but a chunkier bottom and only 2 inches makes it a sandal. That doesn’t make any sense but that is how people look at high heels and sandals. It’s also stupid to say that a flat is not appropriate for the workplace. But that is soo stupid I won’t even comment on it.

  5. Great article. I am going through a few of these issues aas

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

  • "I decided to open a shoe store for women with big and/or wide feet where they could shop with pleasure, would not have to sacrifice fashion for comfort and walk out with their head held high."