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The Styles4Work Business Dresscode Guide

There is only one chance for a first impression!

This sentence is so important when you think about how much more has to be invested for a good second impression when the first one did not work at all. But often we don’t realize how important the “first impression” really is. Take it from here, with some tips, it is not that difficult to make a good first impression.

In the business world, the choice of the right outfit is particularly important for the first impression. We know from our own experience how difficult it can sometimes be to select the right business outfit.

What am I wearing when and where? What is suitable if a business lunch is followed directly by a client appointment and then a presentation is due? Or an important lecture? And what exactly does a formal or casual dress code mean? These questions haunt us at the beginning of our career, but very often also when we have already climbed the career ladder quite a bit.

We have taken these questions to heart. This week we start with a business dress code guide, which explains the common dress codes and gives suitable examples.

The dress code FORMAL is the first one.

A formal business dress code, often also called business attire, is mostly used in large corporations, insurance companies, banks… If you are unsure which dress code is the best in your company, ask in the HR department, there is certainly an answer. Or you can simply observe what your female colleagues are wearing.

It is called formal because of its two main attributes: representation and form. Originally, the formal dress code was introduced to avoid distraction. The focus should be on the content to be communicated, not on any outfits, details or ornaments.

Naturally, dark tones such as grey, dark blue and black are best suited. This rule still applies to men and women in their choice of formal business wardrobe. It is the dress code with little scope for trends and fashion experiments. This may seem boring at first glance, but here, too, there are a few tricks to create a confident individuality.

For the formal dress code, the business outfit choice should be classic and conservative. So called formal “uniforms” are still pant suits and skirt suits. Jumpsuits are also becoming more and more popular for the formal dress code. They simply need to be combined correctly.


If you need the colours to be dark, you can often choose more unusual cuts. An asymmetrically cut skirt, for example, or a blazer with a striking collar. Marlene trousers with a wider leg are also an alternative. The jumpsuit for the formal dress code is very new and totally trendy. In combination with a blazer and of course high-necked, the jumpsuit can fit well. Can you think of anything more comfortable to wear on a long business day?



In general, the more formal the dress code is, the darker gets the choice of the colour. Black, grey and brown come to mind first, but a dark aubergine tone or a dark violet is also recommended. In combination with this, pastel colours such as light yellow or, especially under a high-necked blazer, a strong colour such as fuchsia. The only important thing is that the colours do not determine the outfit, but only set colour accents.



Patterns are popular for business outfits, as they often provide a bit of a breakup. In the formal dress code they are allowed and wanted in any case, if kept in moderation and discreet. A smart Glencheck pattern, fine dots or a stripe pattern bring some momentum to everyday business, but do not distract from content or corrupt the focus.


Here once again our guidelines for a formal dress code.



  • Skirt suits & pant suits in dark colours
  • Long-sleeved blouses or tops in pastel colours or as an accent in bold colours
  • Discreet pattern
  • Tights (also in summer)
  • Opaque tights in winter
  • Discreet, type-appropriate make-up
  • Little jewellery
  • Closed shoes, heel 3-7 cm with secure stand
  • Well-groomed hands and fingernails in natural colours


  • Transparent or translucent tops
  • Miniskirts
  • Too deep neckline
  • Heavy perfume
  • Visible body hair
  • Strong make-up


What experience have you had with the formal dress code? How strict is your company regarding dress codes? And do you have any other tips for us?

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