You’ve finally received a job offer. Weeks of applications and interviews have finally brought you success. You’re prepared to do the best job that you can, and that includes developing a wardrobe that is appropriate for a woman working in a professional environment. While you have likely encountered a number of receptionists in the past, the various offices and business in which they worked allowed for a variety of attire. Knowing the business standard in clothing for receptionists is an essential part of maintaining a clean, professional appearance.
Business-casual is a term used to describe a clothing style appropriate for individuals who work in semi-casual environment. Business-casual clothing includes, but is not limited to, khakis, sweaters without revealing cleavage, long-sleeve button down shirts and sensible shoes. All attire should be clean and pressed. Do not wear clothes that show visible wear and tear. While most receptionists cannot afford the same level of quality clothing as an upper-level professional, they are expected to utilize a certain amount of discretion by purchasing solid, well-made clothes that will not begin to fray or fall apart in the workplace.
Button-down shirts, blouses and sweaters are acceptable options for receptionists. Although there are a variety of blouse styles available, low necklines are discouraged. Collared and tailored shirts are encouraged but fitted shirts, t-shirts and sleeveless shirts are not appropriate for a business casual environment. When preparing for work, review your appearance in a mirror. Ensure that your underclothing is not visible through your blouse. You may also want to stretch your arms upward to ensure that the bottom of your shirt does not reveal your midsection too easily.
Skirts and Pants
Although women have the option to wear either skirts or pants in a business casual work environment, caution is encouraged. Do not wear pants or skirts that are excessively tight or have a low rise. Skirts should not reach above the knee. Slits are acceptable because they enable movement, but they should not reach above the knee. While you may view your wardrobe as medium of self-expression, doing so is only encouraged if it can be done in a subdued fashion. Solid, muted colors are appropriate for an office environment.
Finding subdued, sensible shoes can sometimes be difficult for women who enjoy wearing fun or flirty footwear. You can avoid inappropriate items by sticking to solid, neutral colors like brown, black, beige and grey. White shoes are not usually appropriate in a professional setting. The most desirable shoe materials for receptionists are leather, dark fabrics and microfiber. Avoid slippers, sandals and spike heels. Conservative dress excludes open toes, chunky heels and platform shoes. Use a moderation of common sense when selecting shoes by ensuring that you are able to walk in them comfortably.
References and ResourcesHouston Chronicle: What do Receptionists Wear?
Virginia Tech Career Center: Business Casual Attire