In 2016, the modern working woman’s uniform is no longer confined to a power suit. She can wear dresses, trousers, and depending on her career, jeans and sneakers, too. But that doesn’t mean a professional woman’s allowed to wear anything she pleases. There are some pieces that, regardless of her job, are unsuitable for the office. Whether you’re starting your very first job out of college or are looking to spruce up your workwear, here are six pieces you should never wear to the office.
Unless you’re a yoga instructor or personal trainer, leggings and the office don’t mix. They look like you just came from the gym and they’re oftentimes too tight to wear in front of your boss. And we’re including yoga pants and sweatpants in the mix. Some are sheer around the rear or show unflattering panty lines, so you’re risking an embarrassing moment when you bend over to pick up a paper from the printer. Instead, opt for a pair of cropped trousers. You can find them fitted, and many times they’re just as cozy as your favorite workout pants.
2. Anything sheer
While something sheer may be perfect for date night or grabbing drinks with your girlfriends, WhoWhatWear says it’s definitely not appropriate for the 9-to-5 grind. We hate to state the obvious, but showing off your undergarments at the office will give your colleagues the wrong idea — especially if you’re headed to an important meeting. Righting this wrong is simple: Just wear opaque clothes. If there is a sheer dress that teeters between professional and scandalous, pick up a solid slip to guarantee full coverage.
When it’s 90 degrees and the humidity is at an all time high, you probably just want to be cool and comfortable. A sundress, crisp tank top, and even some shorts may be appropriate for work, but one thing’s for sure: flip-flops are not. Forbes says this is a no-go for everyone, even for more senior employees. After a couple hours walking around your office, the smacking noise your flip-flops make against the wooden floor will seriously annoy your co-workers. Not to mention these shoes look like you’re ready for the pool rather than that sought-after promotion. Lucky for you, there are tons of of comfortable flat and heeled sandals that look nice and will keep you cool in the warmer weather.
4. Any heels higher than three inches
Speaking of shoes, it’s important to rethink your footwear before leaving the house. It’s work, not the club, so any pair over three inches may look out of place. Similar to those sheer pieces in your closet, sporting some stilettos may tell your bosses you’d rather be at a party than doing your job. Plus, if you have a hard time walking in heels, an ultra-high pair will have you looking sloppy instead of strong. Anyone who’s looking for some sensible work shoes should consider a pair of block heels — they’re comfortable and stylish.
5. Bodycon dress
A fitted dress can be the most powerful arsenal in a modern woman’s closet. But something too tight — say, a bodycon dress — can have the exact opposite effect. There’s a time and place for every outfit, and though you may feel super hot in a tight dress, it’s better suited for after hours. The good news is there are tons of dresses that flatter a woman’s shape but aren’t as, um, out there. Whether you opt for a shift dress or an adjustable wrap dress, the key is to find something that’s fitted enough — especially in the waist — but not skintight.
6. Graphic tees
Graphic T-shirts are very early 2000s but even when they were popular, they sure weren’t office-appropriate. Donning a shirt with a sexual innuendo or drug paraphernalia has “fire me” or “don’t take me seriously” written all over it. Even if you’re hoping to revive your #ImWithHer tee, we’d err on the side of caution. Graphic tees are surefire conversation starters — sometimes not in a good way. Play it safe at the office and swap out your logo-adorned shirts for solid tees.