Dress for Success: Mastering Workplace Style

Let’s face it, clothes aren’t just fabric and thread. They’re a powerful tool for making a statement, projecting confidence, and leaving a lasting impression. 

Whether you’re crushing a job interview, commanding a boardroom, or simply navigating the daily hustle, dressing for success is an art form worth mastering. This guide will equip you with the knowledge and inspiration to unlock your sartorial potential, ensuring you not only look good, but feel unstoppable.


Forget outdated ideas about stuffy suits or flashy labels. Dressing to impress at work goes beyond mere appearances. It’s about showcasing your professionalism, attention to detail, and respect for the environment you’re in. 

It’s about striking a balance between confidence and comfort, ensuring your outfit empowers you to tackle any challenge and leave a lasting, positive impression on colleagues and clients alike.

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In certain professions such as Accounting, Law, Real Estate, Banking or Politics it is common for employers to expect business formal attire. It shows clients you take your job seriously and are someone they can trust.

If you’re a C-level exec in a big corporation, we would also recommend you to have at least 2-3 suits you can wear to business meetings, or even in day-to-day settings (especially if it’s common practice in your industry).

Therefore, investing in a high-quality, well tailored suit in timeless colours like navy, charcoal, grey or black, goes a long way.

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Formal Business Wear Charcoal Menswearonline
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Bold patterns should be avoided as they can be seen as distracting, taking attention away from your expertise. The key is to keep your look simple, tidy and, crucially, well-fitting.

Very subtle patterns, like a fine pinstripe in white, navy or grey on a suit, could be acceptable. Try to avoid bold yellow or pink stripes as well as wide spacing keeping it clean and minimal.

We recommend pairing the suit with a business shirt (you definitely can’t go wrong with Eton) a tie, and dress shoes (a pair of Cheaney’s is great choice) Keep accessories to a minimum and choose classic items such as a simple leather belt that matches your shoes, and a dress watch.


The world of work is changing, and so are our wardrobes!
Many offices are embracing a more relaxed dress code these days, opting for “smart casual” over the traditional suit and tie.
This doesn’t mean ditching formality altogether, though. Think of it as a chance to express your personal style while still projecting professionalism.

This applies particularly to Sales, Marketing, and other Client-facing jobs, but also to interactive workplaces where you may want to look presentable and confident.  

The key to smart casual dress is to strike a balance between professional and casual pieces.

Essential smart-casual pieces 


A smart jacket is definitely our number one when it comes to achieving smart casual dress code. A well-fitting blazer or jacket creates a clean and polished silhouette. 

Smart jacket instantly elevates a more casual outfit like a t-shirt and jeans. It adds a sophisticated layer, making you look put-together and professional, even in a more relaxed work environment.

TIP: Straight-leg or slim-fit jeans tend to work best with smart jackets for a smart-casual look. Avoid baggy or ripped jeans, as they lean too casual.

When styling smart jacket with jeans and shirt, we would recommend a button-down shirt. It is a classic and safe option for a smart casual look. 

You can easily give your look more personality by accessorising with belts, bags or timeless watches. Belt can elevate your outfit by tying it together visually. It can also add a subtle pop of colour or texture.

You can also accessorise with bags, laptop sleeves or stylish leather backpacks. The right bag can add a touch of professionalism and polish to your outfit.

TIP:  For smart casual, briefcases, messenger bags, or leather backpacks are all good options. Avoid overly sporty backpacks or large duffel bags.


Solid colour trainers (without big logos or bold patterns) are not only comfortable choice, but can also be paired with almost everything. John White offer a great selection of sophisticated and elegant leather trainers.  

Of course, it’s hard to make a good impression with dirty shoes – so here is a comprehensive shoe care guide to help you keep those trainers in a pristine condition.

A single-colour outfit is inherently polished and put-together. Clean trainers add a touch of contemporary style and keep the look from being too formal. This outfit definitely strikes perfect balance of smart and casual.


When in doubt about whether denim is too casual, chinos are the way to go. Chinos are more comfortable than dress pants while still offering a step up from jeans in terms of formality. They strike a balance between comfort and professionalism, making them a versatile wardrobe staple.



Polo shirts are a great middle ground between a casual t-shirt and a more formal button-up shirt. We would recommend sticking to a neutral colour palette like navy, white and light grey as bold colours or loud patterns might be too casual for work. 

Style polo shirt with tailored chinos or dress pants to create a polished look. You can layer smart jacket to instantly elevate the outfit and make it more formal.


An Oxford shirt is the perfect choice for a smart casual outfit as it strikes a balance between formal and casual clothing. They are more relaxed than dress shirts, but more refined than t-shirts. Whether tucked in or left untucked, an Oxford shirt has a clean-cut appearance that maintains a sense of sophistication while also being laid-back.


When you work in sales or have an important presentation, it can be a great idea to incorporate slightly more unique pieces into your look, which we call conversation starters. It could be slightly unusual footwear, unique ties or interesting pocket squares. 

You can read more about it here


In casual work environments like Freelance, Tech Support, Graphic Design, or Software Engineering, dressing intentionally can elevate your professionalism and boost your confidence.

elevate your style

with the power of layering

Have you ever looked at someone and thought:
“Wow! Their outfit just WORKS!” That’s the power of layering for you.

In this FREE E-book we’ll teach you the skill of layering with a few simple rules and give you lots of examples for inspiration. 

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elevate your style effortlessly with the power of layering


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While dress codes can differ depending on the industry and company, there are a couple of tips you can use to understand the level of formality required in your workplace:

1. Look around as see what others are wearing. Take note of whether they tend to dress more formally in trousers and shirts, or if they opt for more casual wear like jeans and t-shirts. This can give you a good idea of what’s appropriate for your workplace.

2. If you’re still unsure, ask your supervisor or HR as they should be able to give you the overview of what’s appropriate to wear at work.

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So, the truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to dressing for success. It’s about finding that sweet spot between feeling confident and professional, all while reflecting your own style.

Here’s the takeaway: Experiment a bit! See what makes you feel like you can take on the world. Invest in a few key pieces – a well-fitting blazer, some crisp shirts or blouses, and classic trousers or skirts you love. And remember, when in doubt, a touch of polish goes a long way. A polished look doesn’t have to mean stuffy – a nice watch or a scarf can add personality without going overboard. Most importantly, have fun with it! Your wardrobe is your own personal power suit, so rock it with confidence.

Currently studying Business Management and Marketing. Love spending my time at the cafes, trying out new drinks while reading a book.

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