Finding an appropriate and professional outfit can be challenging when dressing for work as a secretary. While it might be tempting to wear cut-offs and t-shirts, these casual pieces are not always suitable for all work environments. However, there are many options for Secretary outfits that are stylish and comfortable during the warmer or colder months.
One great tip for staying cool as a secretary is layering, which allows you to adjust easily to the temperature changes between outdoor heat and air-conditioned office spaces. On the other hand, lightweight, sleeveless tops are a must, and having some outerwear on hand can also be helpful for people who easily get chilly.
Choosing simple, comfortable, and conservative attire is essential when dressing for a secretarial job. Your work attire should reflect professionalism and show you belong in the work environment. If you need inspiration for the best secretary outfits for work, check out our list of 19+ amazing outfits below.
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Neutral color scheme
Choosing the right color scheme is crucial when dressing for work. I recommend leaning towards a more neutral color scheme. Avoid loud, bright colors or bold prints, as they are distracting and inappropriate for the workplace. Some of the neutral colors that you should consider include black, navy, gray, and beige.
Dresses and skirts
When choosing dresses and skirts, make sure they are knee-length. Longer hemlines tend to be more professional and modest, while shorter hemlines can be too revealing and inappropriate for the workplace.
A knee-length skirt will allow the skirt to stay put when seated and not rise. Additionally, skirts and dresses should be accompanied by hosiery. Tan or lighter hosiery is generally accepted and should be free of runs.
Take a look at our best affordable and sustainable formal dresses and skirts.
Low heel, closed-toed shoes
The right shoes are sure to complement your professional look. Choose low heel height close-toe shoes. Avoid wearing open-toed shoes or sandals unless they are acceptable at your workplace. If open-toed shoes or sandals are acceptable, keep it that way by always arriving with neat and polished toes.
Minimal jewelry and accessories
When it comes to jewelry and accessories, less is more. Keep jewelry minimal and opt for pieces that are simple enough. A simple necklace, bracelet, or earring add a touch of elegance to your professional attire. Avoid wearing too many accessories, as they can be distracting and may take away your professional appearance.
Not sure of where to start with minimal jewelry and accessories? check out this guide on 15 best sustainable jewelry brands you need to know.
The classic chic outfit
This secretary outfit is perfect for those who prefer a sophisticated look. The turtleneck sweater and high-waisted pants made from cotton exude professionalism and simplicity. The pants are high-waisted, giving a flattering silhouette to the wearer. The brown true leather heels provide a touch of elegance and add height to the overall look.
A brown sable strapped accented watch face is added to accessorize this outfit. This watch provides a classic and timeless touch to the overall look. The simplicity of the watch ensures it doesn’t clash with the outfit.
Take a look at our selection of the best organic cotton turtlenecks you need to wear.
Turtleneck belted long-sleeve top
This secretary outfit is perfect for individuals who love to make a statement with their clothing choices. The turtleneck belted long-sleeve top is made from pink cotton and adds color to the overall look. The sheer collar maternity bottom is made from a complex color of red cherry, adding a bold and unique touch to the outfit.
To complete the look, add open toed high heels. These shoes add a touch of sophistication to the outfit and are perfect for those who want to add a bold touch to their footwear.
Generally, this outfit is perfect for secretaries who want to exude professionalism and style at work. The bold and beautiful outfit gives a daring and unique style.
Tailored blazer and high-waisted pants
The power suit is a bold and confident outfit that commands attention in the workplace. The tailored blazer and high-waisted pants create a sleek silhouette, while the nude pumps and minimalist accessories focus on the outfit's structure.
This outfit is perfect for women who want to make a statement while maintaining a professional demeanor. Here is our selection of the best affordable and sustainable blazers and pants made under high social and environmental standards.
A white turtleneck and black pants
A monochromatic outfit is a stylish and modern take on the classic black-and-white look. The turtleneck and pants create a slimming effect, while the white pumps add a pop of contrast.
Throw in a silver watch and earrings to add a touch of elegance. The look is ideal for women who want to make a bold statement while staying true to their minimalist style.
Bright red blazer and black pants
Pop of color outfits add a touch of personality to the workplace. The pink blazer and statement necklace draw attention to the upper body, while the pink pants and pumps focus on the outfit's overall structure. This outfit is ideal for women who want to show off their unique style while maintaining a professional appearance.
Lace top and skirt
The feminine touch outfit is a workplace attire to portray femininity. The lace top and skirt create a delicate and elegant look, while the nude pumps and clutch keep the focus on the outfit's intricate details. This outfit is ready to showcase your professional side.
Midi skirt and pumps
A midi skirt is a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. It has perfect length for the workplace, hitting just below the knee. You can pair it with pumps for a more formal look or sandals for a more casual look. It's a comfortable and stylish outfit perfect for a day at the office or a business lunch.
Here is our selection of the top 15 best affordable and sustainable midi skirts.
Statement blazer and dress pants
This is the secretary outfit that will instantly transform an otherwise plain outfit to something unique by adding adorable colors. Blend a statement blazer with dress pants and a blouse for a polished look. This outfit is perfect for a business lunch or networking event where you want to make a lasting impression.
Sheath dress and cardigan
A sheath dress and cardigan is a classic wardrobe staple that its practicality heavily relies on the accompanying accessories. You can pair it with a cardigan for a more casual look or a blazer for a more formal look. It's the perfect outfit for a day at the office or a business lunch.
Check out our selection of the top 20 best affordable and sustainable cardigans.
Button-up shirt and wide-leg pants
You can never go wrong with a button-up shirt and wide-leg pants for a comfortable yet stylish look. The wide-leg pants add a touch of sophistication to the outfit, while the button-up shirt keeps it professional. This outfit is perfect for a casual business environment where you want to look put together and comfortable simultaneously.
If you're looking for a flattering and feminine wardrobe staple, a wrap dress is your best bet. It can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. Pair it with heels for a more formal look or sandals for a more casual look. This outfit is perfect for a business meeting or a day at the office when you want to look professional and stylish.
Collared shirt and mini skirt
Choose a mini skirt with a classic print, such as polka dots or stripes, and pair it with a white collared shirt. This outfit is perfect for a business meeting or a day at the office.
If you want to make a bold statement, a wide-leg jumpsuit is a chic and comfortable option for the office. You can pair it with a blazer for a more formal look or wear it on its own for a more casual look. This outfit is perfect for a casual business environment where you want to look fashionable and comfortable.
Here is our selection of the top 15 organic cotton jumpsuits to wear in 2023.
Tee-shirt and wide leg pants
If you want to balance comfort and style, pairing a plain white tee shirt with wide-leg pants is a great option. It’s a laid-back yet trendy outfit that can be dressed up or down. The white tee shirt adds a touch of simplicity and elegance, while the wide-leg pants create a relaxed and sophisticated silhouette. To complete the look, add some minimalistic jewelry and white sneakers for a chic and effortless vibe.
Here are our 20 best sustainable wide-leg pants.
Jeans and blazer
Consider pairing jeans with a blazer and heels for a casual yet professional look. This outfit is perfect for a relaxed office environment or business meetings. Choose a fitted blazer and a pair of dark denim jeans for a more polished look.
The blazer adds structure and formality to the outfit, while the jeans add a touch of comfort and ease. Pair it with heels to elongate your legs and create a sleek appearance.
Check out these 15 best affordable, sustainable, Australian made jeans.
Shift dress and statement necklace
Last, a shift dress and statement necklace is a classic wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or down depending on the accessories. Pair it with a statement necklace for a pop of color. This outfit is perfect for a business lunch or networking event where you want to look polished and professional.
Understanding the 4 types of office dress codes
As a secretary, finding appropriate attire for work is essential to convey professionalism and confidence in the workplace. The clothes you wear to work reflect your work environment and can even impact your performance. Let's explore the four types of office dress codes and give you ideas for amazing outfits.
What is an Office Dress Code?
An office dress code sets the formality level for workplace attire. Although many workplaces don’t have a written dress code, they often use general categories such as business professional, business formal, business casual, or casual. Understanding these categories can help you choose the appropriate outfit for your work environment.
- Business Professional: The most conservative dress code is business professional. This attire is typically required in finance, banking, government, and law. The dress code includes a suit or pantsuit with a button-down shirt (often a tie) or a knee-length pencil skirt with a blazer. It’s important to ensure your business suit is tailored to fit perfectly. Closed-toe heels of three inches or less, nice flats, loafers, or oxfords are also appropriate.
- Business Formal: Business formal is a dressed-up version of business professional and is usually reserved for formal events such as award ceremonies and benefit dinners. The dress code includes a dark-colored suit or skirt suit, a dress shirt, and dress shoes. Silk ties and pocket squares are recommended to complete the outfit, along with minimalist belts and simple jewelry or cufflinks.
- Business Casual: The business casual dress code is less formal than business professional but requires professional attire. It typically includes a collared shirt (button-up or polo) or sweater on top with slacks, khakis, chinos, or a pencil skirt on the bottom. You may add a blazer or sport coat, but a custom-tailored suit jacket is unnecessary. Closed-toe professional shoes such as boots, heels, flats, loafers, mules, or oxfords are appropriate.
- Casual Work Environment: The dress code is less restrictive in a casual work environment than in a business casual. However, it’s important to maintain a professional look while wearing casual clothing. Look for button-downs, blouses, and T-shirts in solid colors and dark-wash or black denim free from rips and holes. Clean sneakers may be acceptable, but closed-toe shoes are recommended, and flip-flops should always be avoided.
- Smart-Casual: Smart-casual is an upgraded version of casualwear, typically suited for job interviews, client meetings, and events in casual workplaces. Consider wearing trendier pieces such as a work-appropriate jumpsuit, a blazer, and higher-end footwear for a smart-casual dress code.
Dressing professionally for a secretarial job doesn't have to be boring or uncomfortable. With simple guidelines and tips, you can achieve a stylish and professional look that reflects your personality and professionalism. Remember to choose attire that is simple, comfortable, and conservative, and polish off your look with a professional hairstyle, minimal jewelry, a touch of perfume, and good oral hygiene.
Choosing the appropriate outfit for your work environment is essential for conveying professionalism and confidence. Understanding the four office dress codes allows you to dress for success and feel comfortable and confident in the workplace. With these outfit ideas, you can unleash your inner fashionista and take your secretary style to the next level.
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