Everyone knows that the rules of office style are constantly in flux. If you’re working in finance, you probably shouldn’t wear a t-shirt and a hoodie to your quarterly review. If you work in tech, you’ll probably come off too stuffy wearing a suit around the foosball table or napping pods. That said, we firmly believe that there are at least 40 rules of office style that apply to all men—no matter your income or your line of work.
Avoid these major no-no’s and you’ll find yourself climbing that corporate ladder faster than you ever imagined. Who knows? Soon you’ll have your own business and then, my friend, you can go full Zuckerberg and wear whatever you darn well please. So click on, and good luck. And if you’re a woman? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, too. Here are the 40 Things No Woman Should Ever Wear to Work.
A Belt and Suspender Combo
Pick one or the other guys—never both. After all, they serve the very same function. And if you need better business wear, This Stylish Gray Suit Will Carry You Through Fall.
If you’re the cooky uncle on Christmas Eve, maybe this flies. Our advice for making a statement: Find a great pocket square and a cool, edgier pair of glasses.
Jeweled and Embroidered Clothing
You know what I’m talking about: tricked out t-shirts and embroidered back pockets on jeans. Simply put: there is no place for that in any boardroom. Oh, and if you’re considering designer fashion, be sure to reference the 50 Designer Brand Names You’re Probably Mispronouncing before you hit the shops.
Great for the commute, bad for the office. All you have to do it slide it in your back pocket when you arrive.
Hey, do what you want on your own time, but respect everyone you work with and keep that stuff out of the office. And for more great style advice outside the office, consult the 38 Things No Man Over 40 Should Wear—Period.
Only if you’re a lifeguard, my friend.
If your shirt has yellow underarms, coffee stains, or pasta sauce, it’s time to swap it out for a new one.
You Going Out Shirt
You know the one I’m talking about: That shirt with a little extra stretch and a little extra sheen, which are usually more poly-blend than cotton. Save that baby for a Friday night.
Sorry, Neo. You are not The One.
Too skinny? Big and baggy? Ripped up? None of these ever work at the office. They should be dark and they should fit your legs like a great pair of slacks. If you want to get some new denim without breaking the bank, check out the 8 Tips for Shopping a Thrift Store Like a Fashion Stylish.
Too Much Cologne
You will reek of unprofessionalism.
White Socks with Dress Shoes
You may think this is a no-brainer, but more guys do it than you would think.
Sure, they have their time and place, but the office is never the place.
A popped collar launched a career for Tom Cruise in Risky Business. These days, it’s just too risky to wear a popped collar in any place of business.
It’s a good rule of thumb: if your dad wore it to a Grateful Dead show, you shouldn’t wear it to the office.
Biff from Back To The Future? Nailed it. Chas Tenenbaum? Ditto. You? We beg you: don’t try!
Never wear anything that will completely distract your colleagues.
This is taking the whole office “team” concept way too far.
A gentleman should pocket his wallet with the confidence that he will not lose it.
These days, you can find good fits and fabrics for cheap across the whole of the menswear world. Add a trip to the tailor to the bill and consider yourself dapper.
The Outfit You Wore Last Night
You got lucky? Good for you! Trust us: keep it to yourself.
Greek or College Stuff
This goes for shirts, rings, belts, hats, socks, even underwear.
Whatever your political beliefs, leave them at the door. Nothing ruins a work relationship like finding out your cubicle mate voted for the other team. And if you’re looking for great headwear, try one of these 10 Options That Are Way Better Than a Ball-cap.
There was a very brief span of time when these made sense. It was called the late 90s.
Unless you’re talking about a stylish bag.
Heavily Distressed Clothing
When was the last time you saw a CEO dressed like a skater?
Listen, you may think it’s fine, but it looks sloppy and unprofessional. Period.
Pimp your ride, not your outfit.
Cell Phone Belt Clips
Two notable exceptions: you work at a construction site or a cellphone store. Otherwise, you’ll just look like you work at a construction site or a cellphone store.
Are you happy to see me—or is literally everything in your pocket?
Save it for the concert parking lot.
Wear a real scarf or don’t wear a scarf. Anything in between is a superfluous, Italian-inspired affectation.
Unruly Chest Hair
Two buttons? Fine. But when you hit three buttons, you’re deep into Burt Reynolds territory.
Ironic Facial Hair
Unless you are slinging artisinal cocktails in mason jars for $27 a pop, your Salvador Dali ‘stache is probably doing more harm than good.
You. Are. Not. Britney.
You can occasionally pull off “athleisure.” But full blown “athletic?” You better jog or cycle home to change.
If you’re a boot-scootin’ fella, try a more stylish Chelsea boot.
Contrast Cuff Shirts
Unless you want to be called “Gordon Gekko” all day long.
Contrary to what you think, this will not be intimidating.
Pop your ID card in your wallet, fell. It’s your office, after all—not a trade show.
For more advice on living your best life, follow us on Facebook now!