Yes…it’s time for a little verbal lashing in the form of Work Wear DON’Ts. You know we’re all guilty of wanting to re-live our college days in the work environment and it does more than give you a temporary feeling of nostalgic coolness….it may be sabotaging your career. EEEEEP!
Committing any of these (I dare say common) work wear sins can take you right off the fast track and down a path of career self destruction. Yes…everyone makes mistakes and deserves forgiveness but just keep in mind that people remember the little things.
Here are my TOP 8 Work Wear Style DON’Ts to avoid:
1. Flip Flops
Even in the best of circumstances these shoes are bad for your feet. And don’t kid yourself – those gold, embellished or animal print flip flops are really shower shoes. First of all, you should never wear open toed shoes to work and second of all, wearing flip flops gives the message that you don’t care enough about your appearance to wear shoes that cost more than $5. Bad…bad ..bad. If you are really attached to “comfort” – here’s a news flash for you – there are a million and one work wear appropriate and super cute flats out there. Get yourself a pair (or 2) and ditch those nasty flip flops for good.
Unless you work with underprivileged teens…there is NEVER a good reason to wear a hoodie to work – no matter how cute, comfortable or edgy you think it makes you look. It doesn’t. A common, and bad “just out of college” mistake but just sad on the mid 30s or 40s woman trying to recapture her youth or coolness. If you want to wear a hoodie, call in sick. If you want to try another (also very easy and comfortable) option, try a semi-fitted cardigan sweater.
3. Cargo Capri Pants
I’ve seen this faux pas mostly on the middle aged mom crew…usually also guilty of the mom jean or pleated front pant. Cargo Capri pants (especially the ones with pockets and those stupid little strings hanging off them) are totally inappropriate for the work environment. A close cousin to the pajama pant…these beauties are unflattering and say nothing more than “I need a place to put my keys”. If you would wear them camping…then they are a definite NO. Instead …. try a cropped cigarette pant. Key differences?
- Flat + tab closure front (no pleats) with actual waist band (not draw string or elastic)
- No detailing or pockets on the side
- A better quality of material (look for something with more weight to it).
4. Black Yoga Pants
Ladies…I swear to god. If I see another waitress or customer service person sporting these in place of proper dress pants I might just snap. Write this down – it doesn’t matter that they are black…it doesn’t matter that they may make your butt look good. THEY ARE SWEAT PANTS. Unless you work at a gym or a daycare there is NO GOOD REASON for wearing these to work. With all of the amazing black pants out there these days I have faith that you can find a pair that works. Try a staight leg or slightly boot cut version with better quality material and a flat/tab front with yes…. an actual zipper.
5. Bare Mid-Riff (and it’s angry cousin….the dreaded plumber’s crack/whale tail)
Even though this trend isn’t exactly ‘in style’ any more, the faux pas also includes wearing tops that are just too short and don’t reach your pants. Most people think that they’re fine…. but if you are grabbing for your pants at the back or pulling down on your shirt to cover belly when you bend over or up then you are guilty. No matter how good your abs are…people don’t want to see it at work. It makes them uncomfortable.
6. No bra/Bad Bra Nipple-o-rama
This may be the worst Faux Pas of all. Sorry Jen! Jennifer Aniston is a repeat offender. And yes….it’s still bad even though she has amazing breasts. I always ask myself…doesn’t she look in the mirror when she gets dressed? She must see it…doesn’t she see it???? UNCOMFORTABLE! Just get yourself a t-shirt bra already and a serious bra fitting (don’t be shy)….or at least a couple of band aids for crying out loud.
7. Faded, Ripped or Worn Jeans (ie. Weekend Jeans)
Yes…yes. These are the staple of my weekend wardrobe as well – but that’s where they belong. Even if you can wear jeans to work (or at least on Fridays) there is no excuse for these types of jeans at work. Get yourself a dark wash, straight leg or boot cut, classic jean that fits you well and you’re good to go. Again, unless we are rolling around on the floor with kids or animals, we should strive to look put together and like our jeans weren’t dug out of the bottom of the laundry this morning.
8. Too Much Boobage
If you got em…and I don’t…I can definitely see the appeal in showing off the girls. Keep in mind though that at work more than anywhere else you want people to actually look at you in the face AND listen to the words coming out of your mouth. It doesn’t matter whether men should or shouldn’t be able to override this biological urge to check out your boobage – you’re doing yourself a diservice by even playing this game so do the smart thing and just slip a simple cami under those favourite lower cut tops.
OH MAN!!!! how I could go on and on….
But let’s stop there. Follow the above steps and avoid the DON’Ts and you’ll definitely be closer to the appropriate work wear target.