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Too Much Skin: 10 Taboos for Office Attire

Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com Editor

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Skin. Everyone has it. And one glance at TV, movies and magazines reveals how much people love to flash it.

It's true that showing some skin on TV may help the ratings, but baring too much in the office says, "I'm inexperienced, unprofessional and hoping people will not notice I have no real skills for this job."

Once you get the reputation as a sultry dresser, it may be difficult to shake that image and ever be taken seriously by your colleagues.

If you don't want to put your image or career on the line, avoid these office attire don'ts:

Plunging Necklines. Some of the lawyers on TV can't seem to get through a case without them. Your office, however, is not trying to garner audience ratings. So button up or wear a tank or camisole under that shirt to conceal the cleavage.

Low-rise Pants. Outside the office, you probably can't be seen without them. But at work, it's best to cover your behind.

Mini and Micro-Mini Skirts. This cutesy little item may be a staple in a Britney Spears video, but at ABC Accounting, Inc., it may go too far in illustrating your bottom line.

Belly Shirts. Everyone is glad you use your ab-cruncher religiously, but the office is not the place to put all your hard work on display. Leave it for the gym, beach or nightclub.

Men's Chest Hair. Exposing excess chest hair went out of style with leisure suits. Men, you may want to button your shirt an extra button before your clients begin expecting you to ask them what their sign is.

See-Through Shirts. If you want people to pay attention to what they can learn from your presentation instead of what they see through your shirt, wear a suit coat, t-shirt or camisole underneath sheerer fabrics.

Shorts. Shorts are rarely appropriate in the workplace. It's true, some styles of women's suits have included a longer short. But as a rule, shorts don't cut it in a professional setting.

Open-Back Tops and Dresses. These may work in the ballroom, but not in the conference room. Slip on a sweater or jacket and go from overexposed to professionally composed.

Flip-flops. These are appropriate for vacations and lounging, not daily office tasks. If you have problems with your feet, try clogs or even open-toed shoes.

Skimpy, Strappy Camisole Tops. Yes, you can wear these barely-there pieces... with the help of a blouse, sweater or jacket worn over them. See "Plunging Necklines."

Last Updated: 24/09/2007 - 3:50 PM


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