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How to Nail Business Attire
Career & Money

How to Nail Business Attire in the Modern Workplace

In the workplace, it’s not just about what you can do; it’s about how you present yourself. This is where power dressing comes in, a.k.a. the strategic use of clothing to exude confidence, authority, and competence at work. By mastering business attire, you’re dressing for success.


Not sure where to begin? In this guide, you'll learn about modern office dress codes, so you can arm yourself with tips to help you slay the workday—whether you’re commanding a boardroom, meeting with clients, or building professional connections.

What’s Business Attire?

A photo of a man and woman in business attire discussing a document in a walkway.

Companies allow a range of dress codes from business professional to smart casual.

Business attire refers to the appropriate clothing worn in professional settings. Here are some types:


Business Formal

This dress code, featuring tailored suits for men and elegant dresses for women, applies to formal events such as award ceremonies and special dinners. It's similar to "black tie" but is more professional and less glamorous.


Business Professional

This attire is not as formal as business formal but still calls for polished professionalism—usually through suits with dress shirts and pants for men, and button-down tops, blazers, and skirts for women. Shoes include loafers and closed-toe heels.


Business Casual

Business casual strikes a balance between professional and relaxed: Men can wear collared shirts paired with more pieces like chinos or khakis, while women can wear dresses with a cardigan or sweater.


Smart Casual

Smart casual takes things down a notch further and is a blend between more formal and everyday pieces. Think denim jeans and skirts paired with dressier shirts or tops. This attire is usually suited for activities outside the office, like informal meetings.



The most laid-back option, this attire allows for more comfortable pieces like T-shirts and jeans, casual dresses, open-toe sandals, and sneakers. What’s important is that the wearer still looks neat and presentable.


Tips for Nailing Business Attire

Young professionals in a creative setting.

Creative offices usually allow more flexibility when it comes to fashion.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of workwear, here’s how you can ace your office style, no matter the culture or dress code.

Tip 1: Understand the company culture.

Do you work in a creative or corporate environment? Don't be shy about asking the Human Resources Department or your new boss about the company's workwear guidelines. You can also observe how your colleagues dress and align your attire accordingly to fit the workplace.


Tip 2: Invest in the basics.

Quality suits, tailored shirts, versatile shoes—these staples form the foundation of a professional wardrobe. Gentlemen can’t go wrong with crisp collared shirts, which can be easily dressed up or down. The LBD, or "little black dress," is a closet essential for every woman.


One local brand worth checking out for timeless pieces is Bocu, which serves up minimalist fashion for both men and women.


Tip 3: Use colors strategically.

A blue suit on a display mannequin.

Work with neutral hues like blue, black, or gray so they’re easy to mix and match.

Neutral hues like navy, gray, and black are not only easy to match, but they also convey elegance and professionalism. Start with a capsule wardrobe of classic neutrals for versatility, then add pops of color through accessories for personality.


Tip 4: Make sure everything fits well.

Ill-fitting clothes can easily make you look sloppy or lazy. It pays to have your outfits tailored to fit you perfectly, enhancing your silhouette and making you look extra polished. Buy the correct sizes, especially when purchasing online.


Tip 5: Grooming matters.

Always maintain a neat and pleasant appearance by making sure you have clean, crease-free clothing, well-groomed hair, trimmed nails, and a hint of fresh cologne or perfume. Most employers see this as a reflection of your attention to detail in all aspects, including work.


Tip 6: Express your style mindfully.

Young Asian woman shopping for clothes.

You can infuse your personal style into your workwear and still look professional.

Just because you must follow the office dress code doesn’t mean you have to forget about your own style. You can infuse personal flair into your wardrobe while respecting professional boundaries. Some ways to do it: spruce up your outfit with unique accessories, or accentuate your look with a bold hue, whether through your bag or footwear. For more formal settings, keep your jewelry and makeup simple and sophisticated and not too flashy.


Tip 7: Dress well even for online meetings.

A WFH setup is not an excuse to wear your loungewear to your Monday town hall. Be sure to dress appropriately even when working remotely, especially if you’re going to turn on your camera. Doing this shows that you’re committed to presenting yourself in a professional manner.


The top half of your outfit matters most, so opt for well-fitted blouses or shirts, or use a sleek blazer as a cover-up. Solid and darker colors work best on camera since they’re muted and won’t distract the viewers.

Get Dressed for Success

In today's modern workplace, mastering business attire is more than just dressing well—it's about building confidence, showcasing professionalism, and making a positive impression that can open doors to new opportunities. A well-curated wardrobe reflects your understanding of corporate culture and commitment to personal excellence.


Ready to refresh your office wardrobe and nail your business attire? You can shop for the latest style trends and workwear essentials with vouchers from the GlobeOne App. Then, you can also explore online clothing stores to compare styles and find outfits that best represent your professional image. Just search, browse, and shop online to refresh your wardrobe and ensure you're always dressed for success in any business setting!

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