We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we believe in. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

How to dress to look smart at work

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Updated ·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Asian businessman who commutes with a smile. (Photo: Getty)
Asian businessman who commutes with a smile. (Photo: Getty)

Making good impressions is important, even more so when it comes to your career. But how do we dress to impress without going overboard?

The key is to look smart, even if you’re not. It is a way to gain the trust of your higher-ups, while building friendly ties with your colleagues. Here are some ways to make yourself appear smarter at work.

1. Dress in neutral colours

Colours convey feelings and moods. Sticking to neutral colours like black, grey, and beige will make you look more formal and serious. Presenting yourself like a professional ready to get some work done is what you need.

Michael Kors Collection Slim-fit metallic wool-blend pants

S$111 US$539 at The Outnet

MICHAEL KORS COLLECTION Slim-fit metallic wool-blend pants. (Photo: The Outnet)
MICHAEL KORS COLLECTION Slim-fit metallic wool-blend pants. (Photo: The Outnet)

James Perse Slim-fit herringbone stretch-cotton pants

S$110 US$270 at The Outnet

JAMES PERSE Slim-fit herringbone stretch-cotton pants. (Photo: The Outnet)
JAMES PERSE Slim-fit herringbone stretch-cotton pants. (Photo: The Outnet)

Joseph Jack slim-fit cotton and linen-blend canvas suit pants

S$135 US$329 at The Outnet

JOSEPH Jack slim-fit cotton and linen-blend canvas suit pants. (Photo: The Outnet)
JOSEPH Jack slim-fit cotton and linen-blend canvas suit pants. (Photo: The Outnet)

2. Choose fabrics that are smooth, plain, and don’t crease easily

Creases on your clothes will make you look unkempt. If you find it a hassle to iron your clothes, choose fabrics like polyester, wool, cashmere, and rayon, which don’t need to be ironed.

3. Top it up with a sleek pair of glasses

Putting on spectacles will automatically make you look smarter. But to avoid looking like a nerd, get a pair of quality glasses, preferably with square rims.

4. Go for a collared shirt

As a common attire in academic institutions, collared shirts make you look formal and smart. Compared to a blouse or a T-shirt, wearing a collared shirt gives off an air of intelligence.

Officine Generale Stan cotton-poplin overshirt

S$113 US$276 at The Outnet

OFFICINE GÉNÉRALE Stan cotton-poplin overshirt. (Photo: The Outnet)
OFFICINE GÉNÉRALE Stan cotton-poplin overshirt. (Photo: The Outnet)

Dunhill Wool, silk and cashmere-blend flannel overshirt

S$443 US$1,072 at The Outnet

DUNHILL Wool, silk and cashmere-blend flannel overshirt. (Photo: The Outnet)
DUNHILL Wool, silk and cashmere-blend flannel overshirt. (Photo: The Outnet)

James Perse Embroidered cotton shirt

S$111 US$270 at The Outnet

JAMES PERSE Embroidered cotton shirt. (Photo: The Outnet)
JAMES PERSE Embroidered cotton shirt. (Photo: The Outnet)

5. Add a second layer

Adding a second layer, like a tailored jacket, may not seem feasible in Singapore’s weather. But you can always go for a light cardigan, a sleeveless vest or a waistcoat that will help enhance your appearance.

Joseph Mélange wool-blend twill blazer

S$235 US$573 at The Outnet

JOSEPH Mélange wool-blend twill blazer. (Photo: The Outnet)
JOSEPH Mélange wool-blend twill blazer. (Photo: The Outnet)

Rag & Bone Parker Striped Cotton Blazer

S$274 US$497 at The Outnet

Rag & Bone cotton blazer. (PHOTO: The Outnet)
Rag & Bone cotton blazer. (PHOTO: The Outnet)

Acne Studios Cardigan

S$428 S$714 at 24S

ACNE STUDIOS Cardigan. (Photo: 24s)
ACNE STUDIOS Cardigan. (Photo: 24s)

6. Wear a pair of quality shoes

Have you ever come across people who dressed well but neglected their footwear? To prevent such a fashion disaster, invest in a pair of quality leather shoes. Keeping your image consistent is also a way to look smart.

Common Projects Winter Chelsea boots

S$611 S$1,020 at 24S

COMMON PROJECTS Winter Chelsea boots. (Photo: 24s)
COMMON PROJECTS Winter Chelsea boots. (Photo: 24s)

Carvil Dylan OZ boots

S$566 S$1,135 at 24S

CARVIL Dylan OZ boots. (Photo: 24s)
CARVIL Dylan OZ boots. (Photo: 24s)

Tod's Suede boots

S$522 S$870 at 24S

TOD’S Suede boots. (Photo: 24s)
TOD’S Suede boots. (Photo: 24s)

7. Get the right fit

Last but not least, all of the above will not be valid if the size doesn’t fit you. So, make sure your time and effort to achieve the smart look are not jeopardised by a poor fit.

Originally published
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting