Polish your style: business attire

business attire, business dress code guide

‘Business attire’ I remember seeing this description of the dress code in the contract when I got my first corporate job. That made little sense to my 21 year old self. I tried but still managed to get a warning from our Managing Director for wearing knee length shorts to the office. They were suit shorts & I was just being a fashion forward, or so I thought.

I later learned a great deal about business attire and even how to have some fun without breaking the rules. So I thought for those of you who work in the office the things I learned about corporate style during my 8 year corporate career  might be of some use.

So here is a second part of a dress code series dedicated to business attire:


Suits are often a must wear. While jackets are not normally required for women, it’s better to double check because in some offices it can be compulsary in a specific context (meeting with a client, attending court, etc)

Blouse: A perfectly clean and well ironed blouse. White is the universally preferred colour. But any colour except for maybe very bright and neon is fine.

Smart or suit skirt: Preferably dark, grey, navy or beige in colour. If it’s a suit skirt, it must match the jacket and be at least knee length.

Dress: Tailored in dark grey, navy or beige.

Trousers: Tailored in dark or neutral colours.

Shoes: Closed toe and low heel. No platforms.

Jewellery: As little as possible. Nothing large or extravagant. A watch would is suitable. A wedding/engagement ring is always allowed.


A jacket is optional with business casual attire. The rest as per Business Dress Code. 

Note 1: The only two patterns that are allowed in the office – stripes and check, of course their modest version. Same applies to prints, basically no prints.

Note 2: One of the easiest ways to spice up your office attire is to play with colours. Depending on your color type, try to wear bright blouse with a suit of neutral or dark shades. For example, fuschia blouse with dark grey suit or light green blouse with a beige suit.

As always, here is a scientific diagram to illustrate the above. Feel free to take this image to use it as a reminder what business dress code types stand for.

business attire, business dress code

While there are only 2 categories, there is also Casual Friday happening in most offices – dress code for that would be Smart Casual, description for which you can find here.



ps. More posts from the “Polish Your Style” series can be found here.

ps.ps. In case you need a great suit for work check out  Theory. Their suits are fantastic  and great prices too.

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Comments 5


Thank you for taking time to leave a comment! However, the comments section has been playing up recently. It's only working if you leave your name & email. Thanks for understanding, Maria xx

  1. DaintyDoll January 10, 2013

    Really important doll…if you don’t look your best, the company won’t think you’re that interested. Loving the one in the middle, stunning x

  2. […] with a strict “business attire” dress code. Maria from Crashing Red has got some amazing tips that she shared on her blog to help you from getting sent that dreaded letter from management […]

  3. rachel January 11, 2013

    great idea for a post, business wear can be confusing for so many people. every workplace is different though, some are more lenient than others, so the best way of determining what’s appropriate for your office is by looking at what other people wear. I work for a law firm, who are normally very conservative, but I can wear bright colours, prints, statement jewellery, most things if they’re modest and presentable. 

  4. Antonia-Ivana K. January 14, 2013

    I totally enjoy reading these “Polish your style” posts, especially this one as I am going to have to dress very business-like after having finished university.

  5. […] pair it with a classic suit in dark shades and this polka dot blouse will be ready to wear to the office. During winter, add a jumper or jacket so the little polka dotted collar remains visible to remind […]