Previous generations had it easy when it came to dressing for work. If you picked a suit that fits and kept your shirt and tie sober, you’d be unlikely to put a foot wrong. Yes, it was restrictive. But at least everyone knew where they stood. The revolution against the dress code has unyoked us from style servitude but, with right and wrong now less clearly distinguished, it’s easier to take a sartorial stumble. Just follow our map through the minefield.
The Mistake: Creased Shirts
There is no business pressing enough (pun very much intended) to warrant leaving the house in the morning with a wrinkled shirt. Not only will doing so see your style stock de-crease, but chances are it will also ruin the rest of your look.
In short: invest in a good iron, and use it. If unsure how, learn. If that’s too much effort, buy a steamer.
The Mistake: Dad Denim
By now your DILF-dressing game should be on-point, but the urge not to be too out-there can steer you into Clarkson territory. Be wary of anything shapeless, or that looks like it’s been washed in an acid bath.
Treat your work jeans like formal trousers by sticking to something rich in colour, without distressing, in a tailored fit. Pair indigo denim with an Oxford shirt, blazer and Derby shoe to make them safe for work.
The Mistake: Poor Shoes
There’s an old saying that women judge a man by what’s on his feet before anything else. Which isn’t exactly true, men do it too. Whether they’re scuffed, in dire need of a polish, or just square-toed monstrosities, lax lace-ups just won’t do.
Not every type of shoe needs to have a you-could-shave-in-that level of shine. However, taking time at least once a fortnight to remove loose dirt, buff out any marks and apply some shoe protector will pay dividends when it comes to salary negotiations.
The Mistake: Gym Bags & Suits
You’ve binned the briefcase for a backpack as a more modern way to cart your kit to work, but know your limits. If what’s slung over your shoulder is riddled with velcro and pockets, save it for hiking.
A backpack is office-ready if it passes a few tests: premium fabrics, muted colours, and a contemporary shape. Ideally, that means leather in black, brown or blue, with high-quality hardware and enough space for your laptop and a spare layer.