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Published:March 21st, 2011 14:31 EST
Top 10 Business Clothing Faux Pas

Top 10 Business Clothing Faux Pas

By SOP newswire2

Even in today`s business casual environment, I still get numerous questions from bosses, employees and even journalists about what`s appropriate to wear to work.

Recently a reporter asked about mistakes people make when dressing for work. I thought about what I have seen in the workplace and the recent stories from my seminar participants, and created the following list of the Top Ten Business Clothing Faux Pas:

1. Wearing clothes that are too big. You look like a little kid in your big brother`s or sister`s clothing! Your clothing needs to fit.

2. Showing cleavage. Sexy is not a corporate look. Low-cut tops that expose cleavage draw attention to this body part and are not appropriate in the office. I often coach women on this topic as many bosses are uncomfortable with this discussion.

3. Wearing a bikini when at a pool with business associates. Whether you are going on an award cruise or attending the company picnic, it`s not the time to expose everything! This applies to both men and women.

4. Wearing skirts that are too short. A short skirt draws attention to your legs. Is that where you want people to look? Plus, you can get labeled. A woman named Susan wore very short skirts and her coworkers referred to her as Suzy Short Skirt.

5. Having short socks. Short socks or socks that fall down expose skin and hairy legs when men sit and/or cross their legs.

6. Drawing attention to your clothing because of your color choices. Do you want to be remembered for what you said or what you wore? A man in one of my seminars wore bright green pants and wanted my opinion. "I said that since his slacks were not typical corporate clothing, he would probably be labeled as the man in green pants."

7. Wearing T-shirts, shirts or ties with inappropriate sayings, pictures or childish designs. A candidate wore a shirt with small teddy bears to an interview. He didn`t get the job; the interviewers just kept talking about his shirt.

8. Forgetting about your shoes. People notice shoes. Your shoes should be clean, polished and in good condition.

9. Dressing inappropriately for business social events. The company holiday party, conferences or dinner at the boss`s house are still business events and your clothing choices matter.

10. Ignoring your grooming. Clothes need to be clean and pressed. Do not have chipped nail polish or nose hairs that need to be clipped. They become distractions. 

By Barbara Pachter


Barbara Pachter is an internationally renowned business etiquette speaker, coach, and author. She has delivered more than 2,100 seminars throughout the world, including the first-ever seminar for businesswomen in Kuwait. In 2010, NJBiz named her one of the Best 50 Women in Business in New Jersey. Her areas of expertise include business etiquette, presentation skills, business writing, assertive communication, career suggestions, positive confrontation, and women in the workplace. Her client list boasts of many of today`s most notable organizations, including Microsoft, Chrysler, Genentech, Merck & Co., Citigroup, Inc., and Pfizer Inc. Pachter is the author of eight books, including NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead, that have been translated into nine languages. She has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, and her advice on business etiquette has been featured in dozens of newspapers and magazines. Currently she lives in New Jersey with her husband, son, and labradoodle.

Pachter`s resource materials and information on training or coaching can be found on her website, www.pachter.com.