We recently discussed day dresses and following are some guidelines for keeping them professional:

  • Length: Make sure it is no shorter than 2″ above your knees. Anything shorter is distracting in the workplace, no matter what your age. When sitting or reaching for things, your skirt will become even shorter! On the other end of the spectrum, maxi dresses are not appropriate for the office because they are likely to get caught under the wheels of your office chair.
  • Neckline: Whether its a dress or a blouse, the rule is still the same–no cleavage. Make sure that cleavage isn’t showing when you are bending over, either. Practice in front of the mirror to make sure. A camisole goes a long way.
  • Sleeves: While sleeveless isn’t forbidden, it isn’t as professional as a dress with sleeves. Sleeveless dresses with a blazer allow you to remove the blazer when not meeting with clients.
  • Slips: Yes, you need a slip. Slips allow the skirting material to fall smoothly over your hips. They are a must if your skirt is lightweight because in the sunlight light-weight fabric will appear more sheer. In the colder weather, a skirt will help to keep static cling under control. Make sure the slip is approximately 2″ shorter than the skirt of the dress. Pickup a neutral color and you can feel confident it will work with just about any skirt.
  • Hosiery: If the weather is warm and you’re legs aren’t a distraction, you can go without. When in doubt, wear hosiery. A rule of thumb about when to wear hosiery or not: If you are wearing a coat, it is cold enough to wear hosiery. Nude hosiery is the most formal and professional. If you decide to wear colored stockings, they should match the color of your shoes and the hem of your skirt to elongate the leg line as much as possible. Textured hosiery can be distracting and are generally more casual (see related post from Fall 2010).

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, CTIC