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Stylish Outfits for Work: What to Wear to Work to Boost Productivity

Every new week comes with an opportunity to work and make more money. And if you wear the right outfits for work, you’ll not only look stylish while at it. You’ll also boost your productivity without even knowing.

How’s that even possible? You may wonder.

But it’s actually possible.

And for emphasis, let me reiterate:

What you wear to work plays a huge role in enhancing your productivity especially if you put in the effort to dress well.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s see what others think about this.

smiling lady returning from work in her work outfit

Anne Sabine, Managing Director at Evolve Scientific Recruitment, believes that a carefully selected work wardrobe can make you feel more confident and improve your performance at work.  

Alison Coleman of Forbes suggests that “whatever people decide to wear, as long as it is designated as work apparel, they’ll get more quality work done because they’ll be more focused.”

And finally, a study by TALiNT International revealed that employees are more productive when the dress code is relaxed.

There are more facts to back up our claim. But that isn’t the gist of this piece.

We want you to know how to look good in work clothes by wearing the right outfits for work.

 If you already do, we want you to put in a more conscious effort towards your work outfits.

You’ll not only feel good about yourself.

As Ivy Exec mentioned among the 15 habits that will make you respected at work, your colleagues will also respect you and admire your sense of style.

So shall we get to the crux of this article already?

Why not!

Types of Outfits for Work

lady dressed properly at work

The feeling of drudgery that comes with every new week is something everyone has experienced.

You wish the money could come without having to go to work, right? But sadly, wishes aren’t horses.

You have to get up and get to work.

Don’t rush at it, by the way.

If you don’t work from home, you have to wear classy work outfits that suit the laid down rules of your organization.

And that brings us to the basics.

Every company has dress codes concerning how they want employees to appear.

Some may be formal office wear while some wouldn’t mind casual attires.

That’s why you need to figure out the dress code of your workplace.

Once you know the type of outfits your organization approves, keep on reading to see the work outfits ideas we have in store for you.

1. Formal Office Wear

man in a red formal suit

Formal office wear is the dress code for the office that evokes professionalism. 

If you work in industries such as finance, banking, government, and law, you’re expected to always appear in business formal attire.

lady in a formal office wear sipping coffee at work

In a business formal environment, the standard professional work outfits for men and women are suits, jackets, button-up collared shirts, closed-toe shoes, dress pants, knee-length skirts, or a dress with conservative details.

man in a formal office wear taking a break with a coffee

Read our style guide on formal office wear to see more inspo on how to dress for a professional business environment.

2. Business Casual

lady dressed in business casual outfit

Business casual is the relaxed version of business formal outfits. It has elements of both casual and formal office wear.

Wear this if you’re unsure of how exactly you should appear in that formal gathering. Moreso, it is appropriate for client meetings outside the office, interviews, or industries such as advertising and media. 

man wearing business casual outfit

Business casual outfit ideas dump suits to include pencil skirts, blouses, button-down shirts, trousers, sport coats, chinos, polos, knee-length/ midi dresses, optional tie, slacks, jackets, khakis, blazers, and sweaters. 

lady wearing green business casual outfit

You can also accessorize with simple jewelry and belts. And wear shoes such as  flats, loafers, mules, boots, Oxford, sneakers, or heels.

3. Smart Casual

lady wearing smart casual outfit for work

This type of outfit for work is an offshoot of business casual and a formal version of casual attires.

If you work in the tech industry or an informal setting, you can wear this to work.

Smart casual is a more relaxed form of stylish work outfits. It differs from business casual in a number of ways.  

man dressed in a smart casual

For instance, while smart casual is more relaxed and liberal when it comes to accessorising and mixing colours, you have to tone down your colours for business casual. 

In addition, while business casual is for office matters, you can wear smart casual to anywhere else that requires class and elegance.

lady dressed in a smart casual way

Examples of this category include jeans, chinos, palazzos, modest jumpsuits, bright coloured shirts, tees and jackets, sweaters, shirt dresses, sunglasses, etc. 

4. Casual 

lady in a casual office wear ready to go to work

If you work in an informal setting or a creative industry that has no specific dress code, wear these work outfits.

Casual wears also come in handy during casual Fridays in business formal environments.

guy taking a break in his casual office wear

But the fact that casual outfits for work are relaxed doesn’t mean you should dress as though you are attending a party.

It’s still for work, remember?

Hence, always maintain a professional look while appearing casual.

lady relaxing in her work place in her causual wear

To do that, opt for jeans, blazers tees, loafers, sneakers, low heels, sandals, sweaters, slacks, cropped pants, Khaki pants, etc.

What You Should Not Wear to Work

lady set to go to work in business class outfit
  • Sheer clothes: always wear a vest or camisole underneath if your shirt is see-through
  • Extremely short, tight, or baggy clothes.
  • Crop tops
  • Low backs
  • Loud prints
  • Crocs, flip-flops
  • Activewear
  • Ripped, distressed or frayed jeans
  • Skimpy dresses
  • T-shirts with obscene text or graphics
  • Leggings

Tips on How to Dress for Work

working class lady taking picture after work

Now that you know the different outfits for work, use these tips to ensure you never forget them:

1. Make a Conscious Effort

Ebuka dressed for work

Take your time every morning to look your best as you prepare for work. Don’t rush lest you should appear disorganized.

That is to say, iron your clothes, polish your shoes, groom your hair, wear your perfume, and do every other thing you need to do to look good.

2. When in Doubt, Look at Your Boss

beautiful lady dressed and ready for work

If you aren’t sure about your organisation’s dress code, pay attention to how your boss dresses to work and model them.

3. Comfort Over Style

lady in top and palazzo pants for work

If you can’t marry comfort with style, then it’s best you choose comfort over style when dressing for work.

Don’t wear those shoes to work if you can’t walk comfortably in them. 

Choose what you’re comfortable in and go make money.

4. Be Your Professional Self

lady taking a mirror picture at work

Don’t try to be who you’re not when wearing work outfits. This doesn’t mean you should flout your organization’s regulation because you don’t like to wear suits.

It means you should retain your sense of individuality as you dress for work. That is, always be comfortable and stylish in your own way.

Professional work outfits don’t mean you should look dull.

Add your personal style to the look so you can own it.

Most importantly, ensure your outfits for work are impressive enough to enhance your reputation. Your colleagues will accord you respect even before they speak to you. 

And remember, work is not the only place you have to make a good first impression at. There are other occasions that require different looks. To know what to wear in any gathering, read up our piece on the types of outfits for different occasions.


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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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