3 Outfits You Shouldn’t Wear to Work If You Want a Promotion

Tank tops, cold-shoulder blouses and shorts.

Chances are, you’re not surprised to learn that the above outfits aren’t exactly favored at the office. However, according to a new study by staffing firm OfficeTeam, wearing them at work might cost you — maybe even in the form of a promotion.

As many as 86 percent of workers and 80 percent of managers surveyed said that they believe clothing choices can affect an individual’s odds of getting a bump up from his or her current job.

While each place of business obviously differs in its dress code, the report found that jeans, tennis shoes and leggings have become more acceptable to wear at work now than they were five years ago. Conversely, shorts, sleeveless shirts and other skin-revealing clothes are looked at more critically today.

“Dressing professionally establishes credibility and helps others envision you in a role with greater responsibility,” said Brandi Britton, district president for OfficeTeam. “While many organizations have relaxed their dress codes, especially for warmer months, employees shouldn’t assume casual attire or the latest fashion trends are OK for the office. It’s always a good idea to follow company policies and observe what colleagues in more senior positions typically wear.”

In some cases indicated in the study, senior managers are even apt to reprimand workers who don’t adhere to guidelines. Forty-four percent said they have talked to an employee about his or her inappropriate attire, while nearly a third admitted they have sent a staff member home because of the outfit he or she was wearing at the office.

In today’s increasingly casual environment, experts contend that it’s still important that workers understand their sartorial boundaries in the workplace, whether that means dividing one’s closet into everyday and officewear or simply putting more attention toward selecting clothes.

According to the study, respondents spend about 11 minutes a day choosing what to wear at work, with men taking three minutes more than women to make their fashion decisions. And 67 percent of the professionals surveyed said they keep a separate work wardrobe, which helps them choose an outfit faster.

OfficeTeam surveyed more than 1,000 workers in the United States 18 and older who are employed in offices. More than 300 senior managers and 300 HR managers at companies across the country with 20 or more employees also participated in the study.

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