Business Dress Code: Style to the Office

A new job, an important customer, a decisive meeting: it is important to feel”right” in every situation, especially in professions with classic business dress codes. The textile businesswoman and business mode expert Ulrike Mayer explains how you always appear in style in the office.

BRIGITTE.de: Black, gray or dark blue-men do not have more room when choosing their suit color. Is this different in women?

Ulrike Mayer: No, this also applies to women in classic environments such as banks, law firms or corporate consultations. In order to radiate professionalism, seriousness and competence, these colors are the first choice. Women, however, have more room for the colors of blouses or accessories.

BRIGITTE.de: Do you guess a brown costume?

Ulrike Mayer: That depends on the situation: If you have an important conversation with a management or a new customer, I would not recommend it. The brown color is more casual and more accessible than gray or black. Always ask yourself: Where am I going? Who do I meet? What do I want to achieve?

Black, White, Red: The colors of power

BRIGITTE.de: Black suit, white shirt, red tie-this combination call the “Dreiklang der Macht”. How does it work for women?

Ulrike Mayer: One also speaks of the “Obama effect”. When he announces important decisions, the US president likes to withdraw. Black conveys distance, red is the color of victory, white stands for clarity. Of course, women can also pull this register by using accessories such as towels or jewelery instead of a red tie.

BRIGITTE.de: Or simply apply a powerful red lipstick?

Ulrike Mayer: Make-up sends completely different non-verbal signals. There is a certain erotic factor in my lips, I would be careful.

About the person: Ulrike Mayer

Ulrike Mayer is a textile worker, clothing expert, author and columnist. Together with your clients from the worlds of business, politics and the public, she successfully trains the basic vocabulary of clothing. Their roots are founded in a traditional company of the fashion industry with a 250-year tradition. In May 2011 her book “Perfect clothes promotes the career” (Signum, 22.95 Euro) was published.

With ruffle blouse in an important meeting? D rather not.

BRIGITTE.de: Let us talk about the art of the right combination. What can I wear to a classic trousers in gray or blue?

Ulrike Mayer: A blouse in light blue or white looks competent and tough. With a frilly or pin-up blouse, you can break the classic, masculine touch of a trousers very beautifully. Or you can create patterns of variety with Vichy checks, stripes or polka dots.

BRIGITTE.de: So it is allowed to play with colors, shapes and materials?

Ulrike Mayer: Absolutely. But here, too, it is crucial what you want to achieve with your outfit. If you meet three male speaking partners in leadership positions for the first time, a frilly blouse would not be a good choice. At a later date, however, it is a nice alternative to the classic white blouse.

BRIGITTE.de: And when I combine a T-shirt with a trousers suit?

Ulrike Mayer: No problem-if the occasion is slightly more casual and the T-shirt is of high quality.

BRIGITTE.de: What are the alternatives to the classic trousers suit or costume?

Ulrike Mayer: You can wear a chiffon dress with blazer. Or you combine to skirt or pants a blouse with cardigan or a sweater. Important are the fit and quality. V-sweaters, rolls or cardigans may not be colorful, coarse knitted or too sporty. Recommended are luxury qualities such as fine Merino, cashmere or a cotton with silk.

BRIGITTE.de: Quality is a good keyword. Is Businessmode always expensive?

Ulrike Mayer: In any case, invest in a precious base coat, a gray or blue trousers suit that fits really well. But, of course, it does not have to be a tailor-made costume or an expensive designer. You can also combine a pair of trousers from H&M or Zara.

There is nothing against flat shoes-if the pants length is right.

BRIGITTE.de: How long is the ideal skirt for the office?

Ulrike Mayer: That depends very much on the figure. In principle: Never more than one hand wide above the knee. Also make sure that it is not slit too high.

BRIGITTE.de: And the ideal length of the pants?

Ulrike Mayer: It is said, the pants should end in the middle of the paragraph. It is difficult when you wear flat shoes and sometimes high heels. Either you choose a pair of pants for just one type of shoe, or you buy the pants in two different lengths.

BRIGITTE.de: Do you still have a tip when it comes to length and fit?

Ulrike Mayer: Do not wear too long sleeves, you always look lost! Just above the middle of the hand is ideal. It also looks great when the cuff of a blouse flashes one to one and a half centimeters. The sleeve of the jacket must, of course, be slightly shorter.

BRIGITTE.de: Keyword shoes: How high can sales be?

Ulrike Mayer: For the formal business, 6 to 7 centimeters are the guideline. There is also nothing against flat shoes like ballerinas, Loafer or noble moccasin. At evening events, of course, it may be higher.

BRIGITTE.de: What do you advise: skin-colored or opaque tights?

Ulrike Mayer: First of all, I always advise to tights, even in the summer. It is important that they do not look cheap. Whether opaque or skin-colored, is a matter of taste. Shiny materials emphasize the legs, a matte look is less noticeable.

BRIGITTE.de: Can I bring my luxury handbag to the office?

Ulrike Mayer: Better place on class and understatement than on expensive brands and big logos.

BRIGITTE.de: Which jewelery fit into a successful business outfit?

Ulrike Mayer: I encourage women to take their type into account and experiment. A suit with a white blouse, of course, looks quite different from a classic pearl necklace, if I wear a long, colored necklace. It should never be kitschy and overloaded or strumming.