woman dressed for workplace fashion rules

It’s been said that you should dress for the job you want and not the job you have, but working nine to five is hard enough without having to stress over what to wear each and every day. Whether your office dress code is pretty laid-back or super strict, there are some general guidelines you’ll want to follow in order to look and feel your best. We’ve got you covered with five workplace fashion rules you should never break (plus suggestions on how to give your work wardrobe the promotion it so deserves).

5 Workplace Fashion Rules to Follow

Rule #1: Wear sheer fabrics very strategically.

A see-through mesh panel along the neckline or sheer sleeves on an otherwise modest blouse? A-Okay. A semi-sheer top that reveals your bra in direct sunlight? Not so much. Sheer fabrics are a challenge to pull off in the workplace, so it’s best to always err on the side of caution. When in doubt, layer the garment in question with a camisole or slip for foolproof coverage.


workplace fashion blouse

Pixie Market Mimi Organza Polka Dot Top, $99

Rule #2: Re-work backless styles to make them more appropriate.

Backless tops and dresses are modern essentials that show off just a hint of skin, but it’s usually a good idea to save them for your weekend outings. One exception? A reversible sweater. Choose one that you can wear as a cardigan at the office or flipped around as an open-back statement when you’re off the clock.


sweater for workplace fashion

J.Crew Point Sur Open Back Sweater, $98

Rule #3: Short skirts aren’t so good for climbing the ladder.

Midi skirts are a dream come true for modern working women thanks to their versatile style and overall professionalism. Skip the minis in favor of these longer (and more practical) wardrobe essentials — and wear them year-round with blazers, sweaters, and blouses alike.


midi skirt for workplace fashion

J.Crew Pleated Midi Skirt in Party Dot, $99.99

Rule #4: Leggings are like vacation days. Use them wisely.

Leggings aren’t exactly a workplace no-no, but they’re a little risky for the corporate environment. A basic pair may look fine at home but reveal way more than you ever imagined in the light of day. Ponte-knit designs are a safer option (especially when paired with tunics), but your best bet is to stick with dress pants instead. Many of today’s styles are surprisingly fashion-forward and figure-flattering with high waists and slim silhouettes.


dress pants for workplace fashion

Pixie Market Oslo Double-Waist Pants, $106

Rule #5: Don’t go too casual on Casual Fridays.

Fri-yay is cause for celebration, no doubt. But it’s easy to take the casual thing a little too far. If your go-to Friday jeans have rips and tears or embroidery and bedazzling on the butt pockets, then I’m talking to you. Reach for basic denim in dark blue washes for the most sophisticated take on TGIF.


jeans for workplace fashion

H&M Skinny High Ankle Jeans, $9.99


Which workplace fashion rules do you live by, and which ones do you think are outdated? Sound off in the comments section below!