What Not To Wear

dressed up for work

Figuring out what to wear to work, an interview, applying for a job (including temp jobs), even a job fair, is a tough task. It’s really a complicated thing to figure out in the morning. Right? Wrong.  Dressing for work should be a relatively easy task for almost anyone.  

It’s probably easier to discuss what you shouldn’t wear on any of these occasions than it is about what you should wear.  Let’s start with the basics. Why don't you want to be extravagantly under or inappropriately dressed for an employment situation?

  • It might be unsafe (think flip flops in a production shop with moving equipment)
  • It might turn away customers (internal or external)
  • It might distract others from doing their jobs
  • It might give the impression that you shouldn’t be taken seriously
  • It might give the impression that you’re there for anything but work

Those came off much too quickly. That list could go on and on (and on). This isn’t about providing you with fashion tips. It is about providing you with some tips on what is appropriate for the workplace, whether it’s an office, an industrial setting, etc.

Without getting to preachy, here are some Do’s and Don’ts that you should consider if you think you might be one of the people I’m thinking about when writing this. Remember, this is not a fashion lesson.


  • Wear appropriate, closed toed shoes.  They don’t need to be your Sunday best, but they shouldn’t be your hunting shoes either.
  • Make sure what you wear is clean and neat (iron if you can) – if it’s all wrinkly, grab something else out of the closet
  • Keep your fleshy parts of your body to yourself – no midriffs, tank tops, tankini’s, camisoles (unless covered), torn or ripped apparel, or something that looks like it came out ‘Back to the Future.’ Anything from the knees to the shoulder should be covered until you get home.


  • Flip Flops, sandals that were meant for the beach, wear a ball cap to an interview/job fair
  • Wear pants or garments that are obviously several sizes too big for you, unless you’ve got a belt or suspenders or something else to hold them up
  • Expose unnecessary skin (guys or dolls), and yes, you know what I’m talking about, both of you.
  • Turn your work wardrobe into the next fashion runway.

These are just the basics – everyone can always step it up a notch – never hurts to dress a little nicer. There’s actually some opinions out there that say the better you dress, the better you feel about your work, how you conduct yourself, your performance on the job, etc.

Think of it this way – if your grandmother would fall over if she saw you wearing it Yes, that includes you of the ‘short skirt and long jacket’ types. You may like it for your Saturday night outfit, but it’s not the one you wear to the office.

Clothing’s a touchy thing. Some say there’s definitely a generational gap that exists between what one thinks is or isn’t appropriate for work. When it comes to work, interviews, meetings, etc., just try to keep in mind what you want to be remembered for – your performance, or your walk-in closet.

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