tips for dressing for a business formal dress code via

I am constantly inspired by the passionate and driven girl bosses in my life. Enough so that I felt it was appropriate to dedicate the month of April to all things work and career-related here on With that said, I think we can all agree that having a chic and tailored wardrobe is essential to putting your best foot forward in the workplace. Knowing how to dress for the job is a component of your overall performance, and especially important in a job interview.

Since every office calls for a different dress code, my team and I thought it would be best to break up these workplace Style Guides into a fun series throughout the month. Today I’ll be focusing on the do’s and don’ts of business formal— but be sure to check back later in the month as I cover business casual and creative casual dress codes as well.

Business formal is likely the strictest when it comes to dressing for the workplace. All aspects of your outfit should be in tiptop shape and as professional as possible. If you’re just starting to build up a business formal wardrobe of your own, there are a handful of staples that every woman should own. Below I’ve picked out five foolproof items that can easily be worn interchangeably. Keep scrolling to see what they are and how you should be wearing them…

Staple Pieces for a Business Formal Dress Code

One piece that every business formal wardrobe needs is a well fitting blazer. Blazers pair perfectly with just about anything, and will elevate skirts, pants, and dresses alike. Here are some solid options if you’re looking to add a blazer to your rotation:

If you’re going to add a pair of pants into the mix, let it be a tailored pair of trousers. Keyword: tailored. By taking the time to make sure that your pants are properly fitting, you’re guaranteed to look that much more professional from the get go. From wide to straight leg styles, there are plenty of options depending on your comfort zone. There’s no better way to say that you mean business than with a killer pair of pants like these ones:

Pencil Skirts
A great alternative to pants is a pencil skirt. One mistake that women often make when finding a business formal appropriate skirt is too short of a hemline. Be mindful that a professional length skirt shouldn’t hit higher than right above the knee. Here are classic pencil skirt options to help you out on your next shopping trip:

Let’s talk blouses now, ladies. When it comes to keeping it business formal, it’s best to opt out of plunging necklines or anything too busy. You can’t go wrong with solid colors and subtle prints. After all, you still want to bring a little personality to the office without going overboard. Here are some foolproof options:

Classic Heels
Business formal settings call for chic yet comfortable shoe options. Classic pumps are always a safe bet, especially when the heel is moderate in height. Leave the stilettos and wedges for the weekend. You’re going to want a pair of heels that can withstand the length of your workday. Timeless pumps in versatile colors like these options will do the trick:

If you’re still finding yourself questioning what is and isn’t appropriate for the workplace, be sure to check out this blog post.

Do you have any helpful tips on how to dress for a business formal workplace?

Share your knowledge in the comments below!

XO Lauren

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Photos: Who What Wear
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