Connect with us

Vogue & Style

Dressing appropriately for work



To be taken seriously by your employer, it’s important to dress appropriately to the workplace. 

Whether you like it or not, the way you look plays a role in your success in the modern workplace. The saying “The problem with appearance is that it translates to performance,” really comes to play in this modern workplace. Even if your boss doesn’t think that they’re thinking any less of you, they will subconsciously think it. When you don’t fit in, you’re not as accepted and welcomed. And at some point, this could hurt your chances of getting a promotion.

In today’s workplace, where casual wear is becoming increasingly popular, it can be tricky to understand the rules of appearance.

But here are some few rules to guide one on how to dress appropriately and look good for the office


  1. Understand the industry you are and what’s appropriate there

Everyone draws their lines differently and so do we have different shapes and what would fit them. You can’t dress anyhow to satisfy yourself without first considering the industry you operate in. A finance executive can’t be seen in shorts in the office serving his customers so also a medical practitioner can’t be seen wearing likewise. These are highly regulated institutions with dress code formalities and must be adhered to. Once someone flouts the rules of the code of dressing, that person is considered not fit for such an industry and may be laid off. So, if your company has a dress code, follow it. This saves you time and the embarrassment of improperly dressing.

  1. Make sure your clothes fit

It may sound obvious, but many get it wrong. If your clothes are too big or too small, they are not going to look good on you. Unfitted clothing makes one very uncomfortable as it tends to create an unnecessary attention on the wearer. To avoid this uneasiness, ensure a proper fitting to everything you wear to the workplace to enable you concentrate fully on your daily activities. A fitted clothing has a way of boosting ones confidence to perform superlatively. So always make sure you are in the right outfit.

  1. Dry your hair/ keep it neat & smelling good

Never leave your house with wet, unkempt and a smelly hair. It makes you look like you don’t have your life together, which translates to not having your career together. It also makes others uncomfortable. Now imagine sitting in an air conditioned room with someone who has wet, unkempt and a smelly hair, how unbearable that can be. This does affect the people around you alone but denigrates your personality. So don’t say you’re late for work and as such rush out of the house without properly taking care of your hair.

  1. Pay attention to your bag

You don’t want your personal things jutting out of your purse or briefcase. Keep your bag clean on the inside, especially if it doesn’t have a zipper, which allows others to catch a glimpse inside from time to time. One other thing professionals need not to do is to wear knapsacks because it looks “too collegiate”.

  1. Don’t wear strong perfume or cologne

Anything that anyone else can smell and can get choked from is not good. To get an idea of whether someone can smell you or not, ask someone you trust. Mild perfumes or colognes are the best especially in a working environment. You don’t want to end up making an asthmatic patient have an attack or even some of your colleagues getting (catching) flu due to your strong perfume or cologne.

  1. Wear well-kept, polished shoes

“One recruiter told me the first thing he notices about a candidate is his or her shoes”. Make sure your shoes are polished and in good condition. With the saying “You are addressed the way you dress,” doesn’t only refer to your clothing but your entire outlook and that include your shoes. Shoes are very essential in helping us get the complete outlook and the deserved respect from others.

  1. Pay attention to your watch

Image 5a & 5b

The one most common accessory that is noticed on both men and women is the watch. A lot of people may not know this but the watch you wear speaks a lot about you and your personality. In today’s modern working environment, everything one puts on makes a statement. A bulky watch on a man or a woman at a formal working environment is WRONG. Accessorizing yourself with watches must be clearly looked at especially in a formal setting. As ladies go in for a cute leather or chain watch and same applies to men. Bulky ones such as the ones worn by Musicians are Wrong in a formal working environment.

  1. Wear rich colors to portray authority and avoid overly flashy clothes or neon colors

Pay attention to your color choices. Darker colors usually convey a stronger impression and confidence than lighter ones. If you’re giving a presentation, make sure the color you’re wearing doesn’t blend in with the background behind you, it must stand out. Darker colors also portray confidence and fierceness.

Also, both men and women have to be cautious with bright colors. Clothes that are too flashy can be distracting and the visual equivalent of shouting and you don’t want to come across like that. Mild but not too dull color shades are much better in a formal working environment.


  1. Don’t dress to be too sexy

Not only is wearing inappropriate clothing distracting, it can also give off an inaccurate impression. Avoid too-short hemlines, too-tall heels, plunging necklines, and exposed under garments. A lot of women are oversexualized in the office due to this. People end up discrediting themselves by looking too provocative by the way they dress. Always ask yourself these questions before dressing up “What do I want to be remembered for? What I wore or what I said?”

  1. Wearing nude pantyhose must be curtailed

Ever since Kate Middleton started wearing pantyhose in public, it quickly became stylish again. It gives you a more finished look they say. Your work environment should be considered first before wearing the pantyhose. It is prohibitive in the some certain quarters of the working environment so note this before indulging the act. For some people like air hostess, it will be an added advantage. The pantyhose is worn to cover excess skin that makes one look decent and neatly dressed. But we must bear in mind it may not be appropriate for all working environment. We need not to copy everything we see around world but must ensure it fits into our immediate environment.

  1. Get regular pedicures

One of the biggest pet peeves is when women wear open-toed shoes without getting pedicures. If you’re going to show your toes, make sure your toes are well-groomed.

  1. Don’t over-accessories

Accessories are meant to complement your outfit, not overpower it. In the corporate world, less means class and confidence. So, minimize the number of accessories you wear to the office.


  1. Avoid ankle socks with slacks

It is unpardonable to dress officially without a socks or wear an ankle-high socks. When you cross your legs and the pants slightly lift up, no skin should be showing. Your socks need to be at an appropriate length that prevents the skin from showing. Color shades in socks are also important. Wearing one color shade or mild color shades connotes confidence, class, and power.

  1. Facial hair shouldn’t overwhelm your face, trim it as well as your beard

Facial hair needs to be kept trim and tidy to maintain a professional look. Constantly visit the saloon to have your face properly dressed by the barber to avoid facial hair growing to make you unkempt. Your beards should be kept low and well-trimmed to give you a more confident look.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Vogue & Style

The rising trend of African wear in the corporate office



African wear is gradually gaining roots in the corporate offices since the introduction of the National Friday wear program in Ghana. Most companies prefer styling up in their customized African print while others wear general African prints styled to their design. The result of this culture has been the exponential increment of both small and large scale enterprises like boosting the sale of African prints on the market, fashion designers making money and increasing the production of such textiles; not forgetting the unique identity it gives to companies who have customized their African prints.

In spite of the fact that only a day of the week has been allocated for this purpose, the trend of African wear for corporate offices is rising. Some people opine that, African prints are very comfortable to be in and very easy to accessorize and as such, one can always improvise to fit business occasions like meetings, presentations, summits and other business purposes. How then should a corporate worker spruce up in an African print for corporate environment?

Choosing the right Fabric:

  • Texture: One needs to be mindful of the kind of fabric one chooses for the corporate environment. Choose one that sits well on the skin and does not cause any form of irritations to the skin. Avoid very heavy fabrics which do not allow circulation of air to and from the skin, thus producing a lot of heat and sweat. If one also decides to choose a lighter fabric, be sure it is properly lined. And watch out for threads hanging out from any part of your dress or shirt; so it doesn’t look funny walking around.
  • Colour: The temptation of picking something colourful is exceptionally high when one wants to look stylish. Avoid looking like a flower pot by shunning prints with so many colours and broad patterns. It becomes a distraction, especially when interacting with clients. For a suave look, just aim for something beautiful but not so bright. For businesses with customized prints for work, if one could not wear theirs, they should get something similar to what is acceptable so they do not look like a visitor at their workplaces.


  • Men: Men do not have much to do with African prints except of course their shirts for work. Unless one works with a fashion, a creative or a media company, one needs to kindly avoid using bright African prints for jacket or suit. Stick with the well-fitted short or long sleeve shirt. Shirts should be crease-free and worn with neatly ironed black, grey, navy blue, brown or a dark shade of the most dominating colour of the print trousers, with neatly polished black or brown leather shoes, or a more casual loafer and a pair of socks that blends with the trousers. In a dark coloured suit, an African print vest is simply stunning.
    • Women: The challenges that come with picking a style appropriate for work increases when it has to do with African prints. If one finally decides to wear a blouse, avoid styles that cut low exposing the cleavage. The style should not be ‘wild’ and by all means, make sure the undies are well covered. The blouse should have enough space so that it is not too tight or restricting. One needs to look smart and comfortable at work.

What to wear with an African Print?

Depending on the style of the blouse, the usual pencil skirts, trousers or even flare skirts may fit well or not. For a blouse with no exaggerated additions or for a small top, wear a flared skirt or a trouser that is not too skimpy or smallish. For a broad or big blouse, a pencil skirt or a fitting trouser is advisable. But of course, it is subject to one’s stature which varies with every lady.

If one decides to go with a straight dress, shun from bright or loud colours. The style should be simple but classy. Nothing too loose or tight, just well-fitted. There should be absolutely no form of excessive skin exposure either around the chest or the thigh. To allow free and easy movements, there should be an open beside or behind the dress just enough for movement and not as much to expose too much skin.

If one decides to use African prints for the skirt, the same rules apply. A flared skirt will best fit a small top, whereas a print pencil skirt goes with a broad or big top. Do not use African prints for trousers to work unless to a creative, a fashion or a media company.  Wear African print skirt with a simple blouse; not too bright! Preferably the dark shade of the colour with no or small patterns. A nice blazer will switch the look up to another level of class and elegance.


The way one accessorizes can make the look spot-on or clumsy. The latter is not advisable.

Bags: Either as a handbag for ladies or a laptop bag for both genders, a dull colour will best fit when looking colourful or bright, the same way a colourful bag will do the trick when one is in a dull outfit. It’s all about complementing the total look. In case one wants to wear an African print bag even though he/ she is dressed in an African print skirt or top, one must make sure it is the same fabric as the dress or something similar that blends in with the dress. Let’s reduce the wearing of African print straight dress and accessorizing with fully covered African print bags. A black bag or a bag with the darker shade of one’s favourite colour will work perfectly.

Shoes: For a corporate environment, it is not advisable for men to wear a shoe fully covered in an African print. This draws too much attention to one’s feet. A strip of African print on a black or dark brown leather shoe can do the magic. For ladies, either the shoe is fully covered in an African print from the same fabric one is wearing or the bag one is holding or stick with the black or dark brown low heels.

The neck or the area around the neck: Accessorizing the neck for both men and women either with a necklace, a tie or a scarf also comes with its own dos and don’ts. Using an African print around the neck means the brighter the necklace, tie or scarf, the darker and plain (or smaller patterns) the shirt or top but the darker the accessories the brighter the tops or shirt. Let’s not forget African print earrings to be worn should be small but nice.

When we descend on the body, accessorizing the chest area with either an African print brooch or a piece of African print in the breast pocket of our suit, should strictly be on a plain or a smaller patterned shirt or blouse.

Now to accessorize the hands with either African print wrist watch, beads, bracelets or cufflinks, the smaller the better. It shouldn’t be too bright unless of course, the dressing demands otherwise.

Men who would want to use African prints for belts, the less colourful it is, the better. One does not need to draw attention to one’s waist area at work.

Dressing in an African Print for a presentation:

Whenever there is a presentation at work, the presenter aims at gaining some form of attention and cooperation from those listening to the presentation. Captivating the attention and holding the interest of listeners are essential. This is why one cannot compete with his/ her dress for attention during a business presentation. One needs to come off as confident and knowing what he/ she is about, not the other way round. This is why brightly coloured, large patterned and detailed design fabrics should definitely be avoided.

Day, season and weather cannot be overlooked when choosing an appropriate African print fabric or style. The day should inform one on the kind of fabric to choose. In a rainy season, a heavy African print sewn as a long sleeve shirt or blouse is advisable because of the cold weather. So, obviously a summer season will demand the opposite; a light fabric (not transparent) sewn as a short sleeve top. And when the weather is just right, dress right!

Another fact is that all these tips are susceptible to the stature or shape of the individual. Since we cannot go into styling up for all the body types, let’s simply say if one’s upper body is bigger than the lower part, wear a small looking top on a flared skirt or loose trousers rather than a pencil skirt or a tight trouser. Which is to say that if one has a small upper body and a broad down or hip, a broad top on a pencil skirt or a tight trouser will flatter the figure perfectly. It is all about comfort and confidence when styling up to a corporate world. Simply have the image of the company you represent at the back of your mind and dress accordingly.

Men should perform their tonsorial duties as they always do and ladies’ makeup and hairstyles for work should not be affected by the presence of the African print. Go simple, beautiful and neat just as always.

One will notice that most of the tips centres on colour, style and texture of the African print; this is to say that once these elements are not in the right proportion, the look slips into a church look not a corporate look. Walk the fine line with class, confidence and the concept of thin slicing at the back of your mind!

This rising trend of African wear in the corporate offices has gone a long way towards making Ghanaians embrace and accept their culture by creating some sort of positive conformity where they feel left out if they don’t wear made in Ghana fabric on a Friday. The question now remains, should African prints be relegated to just Fridays or should be worn in any day of the week like it is done in Nigeria?

Continue Reading