THE BLOG
08/08/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

5 Things You Should Never Wear to Work

They say that clothes make the man, and that's often true of women, too. Your choice of clothing speaks volumes about your personality and your level of professionalism. A black figure-flattering suit with a punch of color says "I am savvy and stylish." A miniskirt and stilettos says "I'm the office slut." Here are a few more items that may send the wrong message.

1. Anything resembling lingerie. We know you're too savvy to have a lace thong peaking out of that pin-striped suit. (Right?) But even clothing that looks like underwear can be distracting, like that white lacy cami or that bustier-style shirt. If you don't want give anyone the wrong idea, then cover up with a cardigan or a fitted jacket until after work.

2. Excessive perfume. You may love Jessica Simpson's new fragrance, but your co-workers might be sensitive to strong smells. One or two spritzes should be more than enough to get you through the day. If not, you can always touch up in the ladies' room after work, but there's no need to assault your cubicle mates with perfume. Scented lotions offer an even subtler smell in moderation.

3. Workout wear. This should go without saying, but if your office is ubercasual you might need a reminder. Sweatshirts, Pilates pants, track jackets, and especially spandex shorts should never see the inside of your office. We're willing to compromise on running shoes, especially if you walk to work, but other items should be safely stowed in your gym locker or yoga bag.

4. Sequins. Unless you are Cher and you're working on your Vegas club act, sequins are a definite don't for work. A patent-leather belt or bag offers a bit of shimmer with a more modern, work-friendly vibe. Or use earrings to add bit of bling for happy hour. But a sequined shirt or jacket is a little too loud for daytime wear.

5. That "Barack My World" T-shirt. Or any clothing with a message on it. Though you might enjoy shirts that make a statement (literally), others could take offense at political or religious messages. Best to play it safe and save that outfit for the weekends. Instead, stand out with a beaded necklace or a colorful scarf.