decoding the business professional dress code

decoding the business professional dress codedecoding the business professional dress code - REDRETICULE.COM decoding the business professional dress code - REDRETICULE.COMIf you’re a fashionable woman working in a buttoned-up, conservative world, dressing professionally is an absolute must. It’s a common belief that professional settings are not exactly friendly to the fashion forward. Well, that’s not what a professional environment is for, is it? Luckily though, you can maintain a level of style by working in fashionable elements through colorful, patterned blouses, subtle accessories and chic silhouettes.

Your go to business professional attire will be The Power Suit. I like to opt for a slim cut pantsuit, a skirt and blazer combination, or a structured and modest dress.

These are my basic guidelines for bulletproof business formal dressing:

    1. Wear colors based on a neutral color palette (black, navy, cream, charcoal or grey). Neon green and bright pink won’t cut it in the boardroom.
    2. Think simple, sleek and chic when it comes to accessories. Opt for delicate jewelry and leave your favorite statement jewelry for off-duty.
    3. Buy a couple of good quality, well fitted suits and skirts. They should be tailored to fit close to the body (but not tight). Skirts should hit at the knee or below. And blouses should be conservative, freshly pressed and always tucked in. Suits are not cheap, especially when you add the tailor on top, but you also don’t need many of them.
    4. Wear scuff-free heels or flats in a neutral color. Don’t wear anything higher than 3 or 4 inches. These single sole pumps are super sharp, comfortable and sleek. If you prefer flats, then choose the ones with pointed toe. Pointed toe shoes are ultra chic and equally comfortable as any other.
    5. Hair and makeup should be neat, and simple. I use a light foundation, this mineral loose powder, blush and mascara. I don’t like to complicate things with eye shadow or eye liner too much. Plus I know myself too well. The eye shadow that would stay put on my eye lids is yet to be invented.

Nobody says that just because you work in a conservative workplace you have to sacrifice style for the sake of your career. You can easily update your classic looks with a few simple tricks:

  1. Try cropped trousers paired with a sharp blazer. You’ll look modern, sharp and elegant. You certainly will not compromise the business professional look.
  2. Instead of your basic blazer opt for a lightly accented jacket like this one or simply scrunch up your sleeves for a cooler and more modern vibe.
  3. Instead of wearing a matching two-piece suit, mix it up and wear a black blazer with a charcoal or indigo pencil skirt or pant. Or try this drop-waist pleated skirt. As long as your colors are subdued, feel free to mix it up a bit.
  4. Cinch your waist with a thin, colored belt. It’s an easy way to add a fashionable pop to an otherwise basic or drab office outfit. Ann Taylor has a great assortment of skinny belts that will last.

decoding the business professional dress code - REDRETICULE.COM decoding the business professional dress code - REDRETICULE.COMdecoding the business professional dress code - REDRETICULE.COM

outfit details

skirt & blazer – my friend, Kate made those
shoes – sole society
handbag – charming charlie

decoding the business professional dress code

Photos by Rick Robillard

  • Rachelle

    gorgeous work look, love those cute pumps.


  • Tara | The Mix

    Great tips…that skirt is so pretty!

  • Savvy Southern Chic

    All great tips. I do push the envelope sometimes with color and wear brightly colored blazers.

  • Blaire Bingham

    Lovely pencil skirt and great tips for dressing successfully!

    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

  • Carylee

    Your friend is very talented! The jacket and skirt are amazing! Love the fabrics! I have to admit that I am thankful I do not work in a conservative work environment, but your tips are spot on, and you exude professionalism!

    Carylee | More Pieces of Me

  • for seven seasons

    you always look so perfectly ready for literally any professional occasion. I can’t believe your friend made these pieces–they’re unreal!

  • Neha 14wow

    Sharp on point dress code and you are such a stunner….looking awesome in this outfit…
    Luv, neha

  • Nati

    Love your business tips & this outfit is really beautiful!
    Nati xx

  • Heidi D.

    I love the cropped jacket! So polished and chic.

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

  • Linda Cassidy

    you look great and I love the shoes

  • rakhshanda

    Love your outfit <3 Sophisticated & beautiful!

  • Lisa @ Daily Style Finds

    Great tips, Bogi. You always look so polished and professional. I am with you on simple make-up. I am mascara and lipstick and little foundation person. Have not gotten used to eyeshadow/liner.

    Daily Style Finds
    Hope you will join my LINK UP.

  • mahryska

    love the look!

    kisses from dubai ❤️

  • sandyalamode

    these are some great tips! my work is pretty business casual which i love, it gives me a ton more leeway on what I can wear!!! :)

    Sandy a la Mode

  • betty maye

    as a women in the business world i find that every one from top down dress inappropriately casual. women and men. i love fashion so dressing is a pleasure for me but even if i hated fashion i would dress professionally. the one item that drives me nuts is jeans in the work place. jeans are everywhere from bank presidents to pastors – enough! oh yea the horrible capris that so many American women wear. i have been asked many times ‘where are you going so dressed up’- well to work of course!

    • Red Reticule

      I often times get the same reaction too. I feel like looking polished every day is not just a matter of dress codes but respecting yourself. So many people use money as an excuse where I think to myself, you can get an entire suit for $50 at H&M that has a decent quality. I work for a company where wearing jeans is a big no, no! Finally, I probably have 2 or 3 pairs of jeans. The casual part of my closet has always been rather lean. Thank you for stopping by, Betty!