Suspenders are a clothing accessory that have both a fashionable and practical function. They are a viable alternative to belts for casual and work outfits, but they can also make a dapper fashion statement in professional settings. Men have been wearing suspenders with business suits and business casual outfits for decades, and suspenders are considered acceptable for menswear. But what about women? Should you or should you not wear suspenders with professional attire?
Can Women Pull Off the Suspenders and Suit Look?
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when there was controversy over whether the professionally dressed woman looked too masculine in a power business suit. In those days, wearing suspenders would have been seen as over the top. Fortunately, those days are long gone, and women can now wear beautifully tailored business suits of all kinds without a second thought. This freedom of choice also extends to wearing suspenders with business attire. For today’s business-savvy woman, suspenders are simply another fashion option. If you’re thinking about adding suspenders to your professional wardrobe, there are plenty of stylish options for formal and casual business dressing.
Suspenders and Business Formal Style
Formal business attire refers to the classic suit, which includes a jacket and matching pants. Or you may have suits that have a nice skirt and some suits for ladies also include a vest. Your wardrobe may also include business separates consisting of fine-quality professional slacks, tops and jackets that can be mixed and matched in various ways. When it comes to adding suspenders to a suit or separates, the main thing to consider is whether the suspenders enhance the professional look or seem out of place.
Suspenders look best when paired with traditional style suit jackets that have some roominess in the front. When the jacket is closed, they are hidden from view and when the jacket is open, they look sophisticated. If the jacket is very form-fitting, skinny suspenders are the best option. Steer clear of suspenders for jackets with tie belt closures or non-tailored jackets.
Suspenders and Business Casual Style
Suspenders can add more pizazz to your business casual outfits, giving you more options for accessorizing with color and texture. Safe color choices for the office include black, grey, brown, tan and navy. Red is a power color that you may want to wear on occasion underneath a casual jacket. As for classic neutrals, these can be worn with or without a jacket over button-down shirts or sweater tops.
What About Interview Attire?
When putting together your interview outfit, suspenders can certainly be a professional fashion accessory. However, you should only wear them if you feel 100 percent confident that they don’t distract in any way from the image you wish to project. Always consider how your outfit comes across in a potential workplace environment. If suspenders help you look and feel your best, wearing them to an interview is fine.
Things to Consider When Choosing Suspenders for the Office
As you’ve learned, there is no problem with wearing suspenders with formal or casual business outfits. In fact, women have more options than men when it comes to accessorizing and that includes suspenders. However, always remember that work is still a place where you are expected to look and act professionally. Look your best with suspenders in neutral colors that look great with many different outfits. Stay away from bright colors such as orange and yellow, and only wear novelty suspenders to work on special occasions such as the office holiday party.