Back to Basics: What is Corporate Wear?

The world of workwear can be a daunting one to navigate at first, but with a little guidance picking an outfit for work can be as easy – and enjoyable – as picking an outfit to hit the town in. Believe it or not, but corporate wear is actually quite easy to wear, style, and shop for – as long as you know what it is.

Whether you’ve just landed yourself your very first office job, have been promoted to an executive position (congratulations!), or are feeling a little rusty in terms of outfit choices after a long stint of remote working, this article is for you.

What is Corporate Wear Defined As?

Before diving into the ins and outs of wearing corporate wear it’s important to know what this term means. While it can change from company to company, corporate wear is a term that is almost always used to refer to classic workwear outfits made from certain materials and that come from a seriously small colour pool.

The idea behind corporate wear is that all employees will be dressed similarly, without the need for a uniform. Another reason why companies choose a corporate dress code is to prevent the outfits worn from being a distraction to other employees. And, finally, corporate wear as a dress code is a company’s way of ensuring that its staff are always dressed appropriately.

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Corporate wear is always neat, well-tailored, and void of bold patterns. In terms of colour scheme, corporate wear is traditionally made up of neutral colours that are in dark shades rather than light ones.

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Any accessorising should be kept to a minimum and consists of handbags, jewellery, scarfs, and shoes for women and ties, handkerchiefs, and – for the particularly daring – patterned socks for men.

What is an Example of Corporate Wear?

Traditionally, if you worked in a corporate environment, you would be expected to be decked out in corporate wear from head to toe. These days, some companies are adopting a more flexible approach to corporate wear and allow its employees to wear elements of corporate wear mixed with elements of business casual wear.

It’s important to find out what your company’s dress code requirements are beforehand. You don’t want to arrive overdressed, or worse, underdressed. Let’s take a look at some examples of corporate attire.

Corporate wear for men typically consists of the following:

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  • A collared shirt: Men are expected to wear collared shirts that are pressed. These shirts should be white, grey, or blue. Many employers are open to employees wearing shirts that are striped or chequered.
  • A suit: In proper corporate environments, a full suit is required. The pants must always match the top. Navy blue is a staple of the modern office man’s wardrobe, but suits that are black, grey, or pinstriped are also acceptable.
  • A tie: Though many companies don’t insist on their employees wearing ties everyday anymore, it’s always good to have a few on rotation. Ties can be any colour ranging from black to burgundy, but they should always be a deep hue as opposed to brightly coloured.

Corporate wear for women typically consists of the following:

  • A smart shirt: Women aren’t expected to wear a button up shirt like men are, though many do. Many different shirt options are available for women to choose from ranging from crisp cotton dress shirts to beautiful blouses. Women also have more room to play around with the colours of their shirts.
  • A pair of smart pants: Smart pants are a smart choice. They should be neatly pressed and tailored as far as possible. The best colour choices here are black, navy, grey, or brown. Cotton and wool are the best materials for the job, if you’ll pardon the pun.
  • A skirt: Skirts of all kinds are popular in the corporate world as they’re versatile, stylish, and very professional. Options include skirts of the pencil variety, the flared variety, the straight variety, and the pleated variety. Corporate skirts are always black, grey, or navy blue.
  • A dress: Dresses too have their place in the corporate woman’s wardrobe. Dresses that are appropriate in the working world always sit on or just above the knee, are neatly tailored, and are in colours like grey, black, blue, or pastel shades.


If in doubt about your office outfit, ask yourself “Would I be dressed appropriately if my company’s biggest client dropped by?” or “Am I wearing the right outfit for an impromptu meeting with my boss?”. If the answer to either of these questions is no, then you need to reconsider your outfit.

Wearing corporate wear does not have to be a stressful job, not when you have articles like these to guide you on your way to the corporate ladder. All you really need are a few staple pieces of corporate clothing and a solid idea of what corporate wear actually is and you’re ready to impress.

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