Office dress code causing you confusion? Put down that HR manual and read on. From the most formal of workplaces to more laid-back offices, below are four common dress codes explained (and ready for you to master).

Business Professional: Usually found in corporate offices, a business-formal dress code is all about power players. Translation? Suits, suits, and more suits. A structured (and of course, well-tailored) skirt suit or pantsuit shows you mean business. Be sure to keep it neutral (blacks, greys, etc.), and absolutely no plunging necklines.

Business Casual: More common in offices, a business-casual dress code allows for a little more freedom in the workplace, while still looking put together. You have the freedom to play with some color, so try incorporating neutral and bold-hued separates. A flattering pair of slacks with a (not-too-tight) sweater or blouse is usually a safe bet.

Smart Casual: A smart-casual dress code lets you bring a little more flair to the workplace. While still totally professional, there’s more flexibility to incorporate colors and accessories. A bright or printed dress with a blazer shows your professional side, while bringing in some more fun elements (and showing off a little personality).

Casual: More and more common in workplaces, casual means exactly that. While many offices permit jeans (usually in darker washes), a great simple dress is also perfect for a casual office. Lower necklines and shorter sleeves are also more at home here. After all, just because you can dress down doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look stylish doing it.

Now that you’ve conquered the dress code confusion, stock up on (stylishly) work-ready pieces. Our Tahari ASL Boutique opens Friday, November 9, at 11AM ET.

By Anna Kuchinsky, Staff Writer

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November 9, 2012