Women Work / Formal Wear

by Aashima on May 11, 2011 · 21 comments

Women formal wear

It is true that women have reached the top positions in many industries, but dressing up for such a position is still a struggle for many. How you dress up for work shows how seriously you take your work and that’s how others will perceive you. In this time of cut throat competition, your seniors are constantly judging you, not just your work but also your presentation skills.

Indira Nooyi, Michelle Obama, Shabana Azmi

Following are some tips to be kept in mind while dressing for work:

  • Dress for the job you want, not the one that you have. If you are a trainee and you dream of climbing the corporate level, it is important you dress accordingly and show everyone your goals.
  • Take a hint from your boss’s boss wardrobe, because that’s where you want to be.
  • You are the face of your company, for your employees as well as for your clients. So keep the company’s brand image in mind while dressing up for work and avoid clothes that clash with your corporate culture.
  • Anything that makes a sound should not be on your body. So no trinkets, no glass bangles, and yes, no noisy heels.
  • If you want to be taken seriously at your workplace and don’t want to be the topic of water cooler conversation, NO skin show. That means no deep neck blouses and skirts should end just above your knee. Some places even expect their employees to wear full sleeves shirts, closed toe shoes and pantyhose, its best to take a hint from your seniors.
  • All your separates should be clean fitted and neatly ironed. The fit is the most important part. In most cases, that means taking branded clothes to a tailor for alteration. Starch iron all your shirts and cotton sarees to keep them looking crisp and dry clean all clothes that don’t directly come in contact with your body, like sweaters and blazers.
  • It is best to wear solid deep muted colours to work. Bright colours and prints could be used in scarves and ties only. So avoid bright orange shirt or shoes even if it’s the colour of the season and your mom thinks it looks great on you.
  • Different dress codes mean different things in different offices. Business casual means different things in MTV and Microsoft. Casual Saturdays doesn’t mean that you can go to office in your linen pajamas. If you are wearing jeans for the casual days, they should not be skinny, faded, torn or embellished.
  • Too much perfume is as irritating and noticeable as body odour.
  • Hair style and colour, make up and accessories is personal style and shouldn’t be a problem, as long as it doesn’t distract you and the others from work.
  • If your job requires you to attend meetings with clients, always keep a spare in your car or desk drawer. There is nothing worse than having to give a presentation in a shirt with coffee spilled over it.
  • The best of clothes will fail to impress anyone if your nail paint is chipped and your lips are chapped. Make efforts to groom yourself in every aspect.
  • While it is important to avoid looking too trendy, your attire doesn’t have to be boring. After all you are a woman and you don’t have to dress up like a man.

A great wardrobe begins with great basics. An ideal work wear wardrobe will include the following and more:


Formal shirts
Formal pants straight fit
Fitted blazer
Grey and black pant suit
Closed toe pumps
Leather closed toe ballerinas
Kohlapuri chappals (strictly to be worn with cotton sarees and suits)
Leather belt
Office handbag (matched with your belt and shoes)
Fitted skirt that ends just above your knees
Cotton sarees
Cotton suits
Cardigans
Metal strap silver watch
Fitted black dress

Women to look upto for work wear fashion:

Melinda Gates, co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

As the co-chair of this foundation, Melinda travels around the world to villages in developing nations. She is always dressed in an understated yet elegant way with minimum accessories and makeup. Her wardrobe ensures that the attention is always on her work and her opinions.

Priyanka Gandhi, Indian politician


Although she says she has no plans of joining politics, she does visit Rae Barely often to campaign for her mother’s party. Being the daughter of the most powerful woman in India and the wife of one of the most powerful businessmen in India, Priyanka Gandhi understands the importance of good presentation. Her innate cuteness lets her carry a cotton saree and formal shirt with equal elan.

What kind of work wear do you prefer? Is there any particular style that you’d like to go for?

Also Read :
Office / Formal wears for Women in Contemporary Times
Military Fashion Trend Wear
Different Types Of Handbags – Which one would you pick?
Interview: What NOT to Wear for a Job Interview
Cardigans: How to Wear a Cardigan Sweater
Bags: Bag It This Winter
Black Dresses- In Fashion, Every Season
How to Wear Jewelry & Fashion Accessories
Top 10 Wardrobe Essentials

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

calicoaster May 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: Awesome article Aashima!! Absolutely loved reading it…and the tips are worth considering!! :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo: :waytogo:

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Aashima May 11, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Thank you Cali :)

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Supriya May 11, 2011 at 11:55 am

loved this post, i am so going shopping now.. you should do a couple of look breakdowns soon.. that would help clueless people like me

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Aashima May 11, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Thanks Supriya, will surely do

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Swati May 11, 2011 at 11:57 am

Great Article Aashima… :D :D
im also working with such a Huge MNC, which is also awarded “2nd Best Company to work with” this year.. :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: Here’s a Rule to wear Formals everyday & the one who is unable to Wear someday.. He/She needs to through a party of more than 2000bucks.. :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance:

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Navpreet May 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm

nice article aashima…………..tips are good too…..i just loved those pants and that brown wala bag…yummyyyyyyyyyy…………..we were taught in our institute to how to dress up formally……..thanks for reminding all those points

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Rati May 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I like to dress up for office. The biggest benefit is that my work allows me to experiment with colours. :D :D

Chipped Nails- Check :shame: :shame:

Awesome tips, Aashima.
:waytogo: :waytogo:

Navpreet, that bag is by Marc Jacobs. :))

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Navpreet May 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

oh……i love such bags……and rati i have got my molluscum removed…..thats y um on a weeks leave…..

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Rati May 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm

oh you get well soon and come back fast gast. :((

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Aashima May 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm

thank you :)

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Jinal May 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm

awesome article Aashima….loved reading it. I don’t have to wear formals for work. :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:
But I will remember these tips for future reference :toothygrin: :thanks:

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Aashima May 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thanks Jinal :)

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Swati May 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm

We also have a Rule here that if your hairs are long till your Waist then you need to Tie them, Open hairs are not allowed.. :-/ we do face problem when we go after hair-Wash.. :headbang: :headbang:

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monika May 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Thankfully….at my workplace one does not have to be strictly formally dressed which allows me to wear bright colours which I love. But some of the tips are evry useful- & yup- no skin show!! & no chipped nails!!- noted!

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akhila May 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Ashima, really good article, I have a fetish for formal clothes, whenever I get an oppty to visit US I put up my best of formal and Indian stuff…..I believe the west get to wear good stuff (specially the trousers and sweaters woowww….) coz the climate permits them….Climate is the thing in the west which motivates me to move there….I did wear formals during Jan and Feb of this year and then Summer started, now I rely so much on Fab India salwar suits and mix and match kurtas with basic coloured leggings….very neat and very nicely put article. thanks for the effort……. :thanks:

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Riya May 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Thanks Aashima, gr8 article. I work in a govt public sector and you need to dress formal. I am not into Sarees so Westside, FabIndia and Globus Kurtas in pastels and earth tones with leggings works for me. Trousers with light colored kurtis also works well. Peep toes, Ballerinas, Kolhapuri add the glamour. A nice watch always helps and a basic cream string of pearls and earrings add the oomph. IMBBians are sure gonna rock the workplace tomorrow!

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Aruna May 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm

we have a no Jeans policy 4 days a week. but the only thing that is kinda wierd is that women wear tights with short kurtas and that is pretty obscene frankly. They are probably better of wearing jeans. but i like dressing up too so whether its churidars or western or sarees, its nice to be dressed up appropriately.

great article btw.

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Aashima May 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Aruna, jeans are not allowed at workplaces because they are essentially casual piece of clothing and not because they can be very fitted..jeans in office indicates casual attitude towards work..in India, all variations of salwar kammez is included in formal wear. so kurta and tights, no matter how badly fitted, will never be a problem for the company.

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Aashima May 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm

:thanks: thank you everyone..Rati, thanks for the pictures..

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Smita T May 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm

:yes:

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