Things That Should Never Be Worn to Work

There are certain things that I feel should never be worn in an office environment, regardless of how casual your office is.  They’re items of clothing that just aren’t office-friendly, and should be left at home for other, non-work activities.  My list is relatively short, and applies to those who work in a fairly standard office environment.  Obviously, this stuff won’t apply to some jobs, but in general, here’s what I feel is inappropriate in an office.

  1. Flip Flops
  2. Dirty Sneakers
  3. Sweat Pants, Yoga Pants, or Other Gym Attire
  4. Extensive Cleavage
  5. Miniskirts & Short-Shorts
  6. Spaghetti Straps
  7. Torn Denim
  8. Visible Undergarments

In addition to all of that, I think it’s important for people to consider what they’re wearing when it comes to size and odor as well.  Yes, you read that right, odor.

In terms of size, something that’s too tight isn’t appropriate in an office environment.  Clothing that’s too tight often results in showing off a little more than necessary.  On the other side of the spectrum, clothing that’s too big could gap and reveal things that you shouldn’t be showing at the office either.  Bottom line?  Make sure the clothes you wear to the office fit properly.

Strong odors are something people often complain about at work.  An odor could be the result of too much perfume, but it could also be the result of poor personal hygiene or lack of doing laundry.  Either way, they’re things that you need to be mindful of when dressing for the office, especially if you work in a common space shared by others.  Nothing is more awkward than having to tell a coworker their odor is unbearable.

If you’re not sure about something in your wardrobe, ask a trusted friend for their opinion (or your mother, if she’s anything like mine and gives you an honest opinion).  If you’re still unsure, take a photo of the item and bring it in and ask your supervisor or someone in HR.  They will most definitely be able to tell you if something is appropriate or not.

What do you think? Is this list on par with your thoughts regarding what’s not appropriate for work?  Let me know in the comments!

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13 comments for “Things That Should Never Be Worn to Work

  1. July 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Agreed, there is almost nothing more annoying than someone wearing too much cologne in the office! Strong scents are headache and migraine triggers so they’re definitely something to be wary about.

    • July 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      Most definitely! Some people don’t realize it when they’re putting perfume or cologne on. Better to go with one spritz and have a small bottle at your desk if you need a refresher during the day than to douse yourself in the morning in hopes it will last all day.

  2. July 17, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    I agree with your list, but I definitely broke Rule #8 yesterday. Whoops. I was wearing a top that has a navy sheer panel on top with a black bra underneath. The bra straps were close enough to the seams of the panel that it wasn’t too noticeable, but still. I was nervous about seeing higher-ups all day.

    I’ve also committed the cardinal sin of wearing flip flops at work, but that was back in college at my bank job before I knew any better. That works for an excuse, right? Sure.

    • July 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      I think seeing straps is totally different from seeing an entire bra through a semi-sheer shirt–and yes, I’ve seen that at work!

  3. July 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Wow! People wear those things to work? I hope they read this.

    • July 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      I’ve seen it all, unfortunately (and have worn some of it myself, like sneakers). I’ve seen a “whale tail” before as well (a coworker’s thong sticking out above the back of her pants), which is why I didn’t limit #8 to just bras.

  4. July 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Every thing on that list I have seen in my office. And I work in your standard office. It’s pretty gross sometimes.

  5. July 17, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Too funny – I actually did a similar post today myself. Your tips are great and I think it’s funny that since I started working in a phone bank call center, I’ve seen ALL of the don’t-wear-to-work attire most days.

    Conversation with gentleman who always wears a shirt/tie/dress slacks that he feels more prepared to work and with a better attitude when he takes pride in what he’s wearing to work each day – and he always looks sharp…even with the “piercings” he sports.

    • July 17, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      I’m a firm believer in the “when you look better, you feel better” mentality 🙂

  6. July 17, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Hi Rachel,
    I agree 100% with your list! And they shouldn’t be worn in some other places too 😉

  7. Bre Dale
    July 18, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    I completely agree! Those are horrible options of work attire and a lot of ppl wear them to work everyday

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