It's pretty much common sense not to wear belly-baring tops or short shorts to the office. But the rules of workplace grooming, from self-tanner and concealer to nail art and shaving, are a little tougher to decipher.
So we bravely suspended all our pre-conceived notions about what's appropriate in the office and called up Lauren A. Rothman, author of the new book "Style Bible: What to Wear to Work" (and one of our favorite HuffPost Style bloggers).
"A first impression is made every day," Rothman told us, emphasizing that even the small details count. While every office environment is different and no list of rules is "one size fits all," Lauren has 12 helpful basic guidelines that women in traditional workplaces should be following. Are you getting all these rules right?
1. Cover those under eye circles. If you've got dark circles, it will make you look sleepy, committing a major workplace sin. "Don't look tired at the office," Lauren told us. "It doesn't help you."
2. Make sure your skin tone is even, i.e. grab that foundation. Or BB cream or CC cream or tinted moisturizer or whatever face makeup you prefer. Either way, Lauren said, "Get to at least a neutral face." Before leaving the house, stand five feet away from the mirror. Are there any parts that appear patchy? Any age spots or any zits? Cover up what you can see from five feet away.
3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Nobody wants to see dry, flaky skin. Plus, as Lauren pointed out to us, more hydrated skin will look more awake and fresh.
4. Mascara is a must. "Adding a little bit of mascara will help you look more awake," said Lauren, plus it makes your overall makeup look more polished.
5. Add some lip color. Whether it's a lip gloss or a subtle lip stain or more saturated lipstick, Lauren recommends a tint on your pout. "It will just draw a little attention to the one place on your face where words come out," she recommends, "and you want people to listen." A bright lip is only OK with a neutral eye.
6. Electric blue eyeshadow is a no-no. Or any other super bright, super noticeable eye makeup choices. Elaborate eye makeup is overdoing it.
7. No falsies. Ever. "If you're not on TV, you don't need to be wearing false eyelashes to work," Lauren said.
8. Keep your nails short, clean and neutral-colored. One of the biggest offenses is overly long, false nails or elaborate nail art. "If you're typing and you can hear your nails," Lauren told us, "that's when you know your nails are too long."
9. Go easy on the perfume. "Someone should not be able to smell you unless they come in for a hug," said Lauren. Plus, everyone has different scent preferences -- you don't want to be associated with a bad one. Some people are also allergic to certain perfumes. To that end, several offices have actually instituted no-perfume policies. Either way, said Lauren, "I really consider perfume to be like lingerie -- it's something for you to enjoy, and for somebody who comes in close."
10. Step away from the self-tanner. "Inevitably, most people mess up when they do a tanner," Lauren told us. A bronzing oil, which is a little more foolproof, is preferable if you really need that extra glow.
11. Shave your legs. "If you wear something that reveals your legs, then you must shave your legs," said Lauren. That's a hard and fast rule.
12. Cover up any skin issues that might make you self-conscious. Many people have eczema or other skin problems they just can't avoid. Lauren understands there are many ways to draw unwanted attention away from troublesome areas and offers advice from clothing strategy to makeup tips: "Let your best image and personality shine through, rather than creating an opportunity for people to judge."
While you're at it, avoid these clothes: