Even if you work in an office so casual (or creative) that there isn’t an actual dress code, these eight items will get you noticed—and not in a good way.

By Rebecca Daly
Updated April 25, 2016
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1

Especially in artsy industries, a lot of fancy footwear flies—from sky-high heels to borrowed-from-the-boys brogues—but flip-flops look overly-casual and sloppy no matter where you work. Even if you’re not into heels, ditch the thongs and opt for chic ballet flats instead.

2

A tiny flaw in a manicure is almost inevitable (and not actually that noticeable). But if you’re the type to paint your nails and let the polish flake away until there’s not a trace left, the message you’re sending is that you don’t care about your appearance. Consider a neutral shade that won’t show chips as obviously, or try going clean and natural.

3

Distressed cut-offs are (hopefully) an obvious no-no for work, but be mindful of the inseam on dressier silk or embellished pairs, too. While a shorts-and-blazer combo can look polished and pulled together, it’s better suited for after-hours rather than office hours.

4

Just because you love your new perfume doesn’t mean your coworkers do. To ensure your cube-mates don’t resent your scent, go fragrance-free or opt for an ultra-light misting on work mornings.

5

Ultra low-cut tops and dresses are strictly for after five. You want your colleagues and your boss to focus on how well you’re doing your job, not your other, ah, assets.

6

Nothing says, “I woke up late,” (or worse: “I have poor time-management skills.”) quite like showing up with wet hair. Need a little motivation? Try one of these super easy styles.

7

Yes, sheer styles are (still) all over the runways, but the office isn’t a good place to test drive this trend. A sheer sleeve—on an otherwise opaque blouse, of course—is acceptable, but leave any other sartorial exploration to your off-duty hours.

8

Unless you actually squeeze your cardio in by running to and from work, leave the sneakers—and the backpack—at home. A cute pair of flats works just as well, and won’t result in an embarrassing “commuter outfit.”