What not to wear to work, even in a business casual office
- What to wear to work is a daily struggle for many. Luckily, you can cross off these 16 cringeworthy pieces off your list.
- Just because you work in a casual office environment, it doesn’t mean you can get away with just any outfit.
- Clothes that are dirty, wrinkled, or too provocative should never see the inside of an office.
Business casual, classic casual, smart casual — the rules surrounding what to wear to work are constantly changing, and it’s hard to keep up.
But there are a few things you can rule out. Fashion and etiquette experts agreed on 16 things that no one should ever wear to work.
Keep in mind this doesn’t apply to every industry or workplace. It’s a general guide that will hopefully put you on the right track to professional outfits that will still let you express yourself.
“The most important thing is to make sure your clothes are clean, pressed and that you’re putting your best foot forward at work,” Betsy Aimee, a digital content producer who writes on workplace fashion and entrepreneurship, told Business Insider.
Read on to find out the 16 types of clothes you should never wear to work:
Wear a camisole or undershirt.
Yoga pants and leggings
Aimee said this is one of the most contentious points between younger and older employees — are leggings or yoga pants okay?
Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are likely to say no, while millennials might argue that they’re okay.
Generally, you should follow what your bosses are wearing to work. If they’re not sporting leggings on a regular basis, you certainly shouldn’t either.
“Wear what you’d like, but be mindful that people are forming an opinion of you,” Aimee said.
Anything that’s too tight, too short, or too baggy
You are not a rapper from the mid-2000s. Don’t wear super baggy clothing.
And tight clothes are also a major no.
Yes, they’re trendy, but they’re not appropriate for the office. Keep them for your weekend brunches or bar-hopping.
Anything that shows off your back, cleavage, or tummy
Your torso needs to be covered in the workplace.
“What are you drawing attention to — your competency or your body?” Patcher said.
“Neither gender should show underwear, but they should wear underwear!” Patcher said.
A lot of animal print
You probably do not want to be known as the person who owns cheetah-print pants.
Your employer might be hesitant to keep you on the payroll if it looks like you’re about to take a nap.
There are some high-fashion Crocs being produced… but no. Just no.
Anything you would wear to the gym
Workout clothes don’t belong in even the most lowkey workplaces.
Anything you bought for clubbing or bar-hopping
Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider
You can experiment with converting these pieces into daywear by throwing on a blazer, cardigan, scarf, or jacket.
Otherwise, save them for the weekend.
Clothes that are stained
It’s time to donate or trash them.
Light-wash or ripped jeans
If you work in a truly casual outfit where your manager is sporting light-wash or ripped jeans, go ahead and sport them too.
But typical business casual offices draw the line at dark-wash denim. Look around your workplace before you wear them tomorrow morning.
Congrats on all your bench presses and bicep curls. But, your coworkers don’t need to see your guns.
There’s a caveat here: plenty of stylish, professional sleeveless tees are around for women. But men should keep their upper arms clothed at work.
T-shirts that you bought in a beach resort gift store in 2005
Especially if they’re racist, sexist, or anything else that’s deeply problematic. Actually, just throw them out.
Anything that’s emblazoned in sequins or sparkles
Keep it to your Met Ball look or prom dress.