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The Requisites to Maintain a Business Formal Dress Code

Sujata Iyer Oct 7, 2018
Proper business formal dress code involves some very basic and well-known pieces of clothing. Read on to know more.
There are many reasons behind adopting a formal dress code within an organization. Firstly, it gives a sense of seriousness to the people working. Secondly, it instills a sense of professionalism and discipline in the employees.
By having a dress code declared at a workplace, the employees make sure that it is adhered to. It also renders a sense of uniformity in the employees. Though business formal attire has evolved over the years in terms of styles and patterns, there are still some basic elements and items that go into the generally accepted idea of a proper formal dress code.

For Women

For women in the professional world, there are some very simple rules when it comes to their dress code. It has to be decent, has to be mellow, and has to look professional. Apart from this, no excess show of skin, no dressing provocatively, and no underdressing. Here are the classic professional clothing options for women.

Pant Suit

While some may think that a pant suit is not a very feminine piece of women's clothing, others think it is a perfect option for women to wear in the business world. Choose colors that go with your skin tone. A light-colored shirt works best for a pant suit.
Whether it is a dark suit (black or navy blue being the best options) or a light one (cream, beige, or white), the best option for a blouse is a light-colored one. White, cream, off-white, seashell pink, ivory, beige, powder blue, and light yellow are the best colors for blouses.
And as far as shoes to wear with a pant suit are concerned, you can wear closed pumps with heels or even peep-toe flats or heels. Simple and minimum jewelry like a pair of studs and a thin chain around the neck work best for this look.


Skirts are also one of the best options for women to wear at work. There are certain rules regarding skirts too. It should be of a perfect length. Knee length skirts are acceptable. However, you must make sure that when seated, the skirt should not ride high up and expose your thighs.
This makes for an unprofessional and indecorous behavior. Skirts look best when worn with a pair of skin color stockings. Especially, if you happen to wear a skirt that is above knee-length. The best colors for skirts are again simple and strong shades.
Dark colors like blue and black and light colors like cream, white, beige etc., look nice. One important thing to keep in mind about wearing a skirt and blouse to work is that it has to be plain. Printed clothes are a complete no-no for a business wear.
The blouse must complement the skirt perfectly. Not too loud and not too contrasting and definitely no frills and tassels. Just a plain, crisp shirt or blouse with minimal jewelry will give you a professional look. Button it up till the second button and you can also team it up with a jacket that matches the skirt.
In footwear to go with skirts, you can wear dark-colored, flat or heeled pumps. If it's a light-colored skirt and blouse that you are wearing, then get a pair of pumps in the same color. Pencil skirts are the best option for any woman opting for a serious business wear.

Formal Dress

Dresses are another option that you can explore for a formal business wear. Again, simple rules apply. No mini dresses, wear a pair of skin color stockings underneath, and wear the appropriate innerwear.
If you're going to wear a formal dress to work, then make sure that the pattern suits your body type. Secondly, the dress must be well-fitted. Well-fitted does not translate to tight, i.e., though the dress should fit you well, it should look modest and professional as well.
Showing of cleavage is completely unacceptable. The colors for dresses are again simple and strong. Printed dresses are not acceptable as formal wear. Plain dresses with or without a belt are the best option. You can have a pretty scarf tied around your neck or shoulders if you wish.
With dresses, you need to wear pumps or peep toes. Flat or heeled is completely your choice though heels definitely look classier. Jewelry needs to be simple. Pearl studs in the ears and a strand of pearls around the neck is just the perfect no-fuss jewelry that can be worn.

For Men

As far as professional attire for men is concerned, there are not many options available. However, there is quite a lot that can be done with the styles and patterns. Here is the brief description of what makes the appropriate business formal wear for men.

Shirt and Trouser

A shirt and trouser is the most common and popular formal attire for men. However, there are certain things that need to be kept in mind despite its simplicity. Trousers or pants that you wear should always be ironed well and shouldn't have any creases.
If you're wearing a dark pair of trousers, then wear only a light-colored shirt. Dark and dark go well in some cases if the shirt has a slight print on it. The trousers should be well-fitted and comfortable. Again, well-fitted does not mean tight.
So, make sure that the trousers are appropriately fitted and tailored according to your body shape and size. The length of the trousers is also very important. Measure the length of the trousers with your shoes on. They should not end above the shoes.
This is because when you sit, the leg of your trouser will ride up and honestly, it's not a pretty sight. Shirts can be plain or striped. No polka dots, floral prints, and certainly no asymmetrical designs or animal prints. The fabric should be such that it goes with the trouser's fabric and suits you. Silk or satin shirts are best left for a party night.

Business Suit

Business suits are one notch higher than shirts and trousers. Color coordination is very important when you select a business suit. Dark shirts with light suits and vice versa. However, dark suits do form more of a proper business attire.
The shirt can be of any material. You get the whole suit as a set so you don't really have to worry about that. You can experiment a little by using different shirts of the same color tone with the jacket and pant of the suit.
A tie is important for a business suit. Contrasting ties work best. The best colors for business ties are red, black, green, and blue. If you wear a printed shirt, then a plain tie works best and with a plain shirt, a printed tie looks good. Shoes should be well-polished. White or black socks are the safest bet for a formal business wear for men.
The formal dress code is complete only when the wearer is comfortable with the way he or she looks and also when that comfort is turned into confidence that is evident in the demeanor and overall conduct of the person. Remember that and dress yourself accordingly.