Whether it's your first day or fifth year in the job - what you wear to work matters.

Late last year former teacher Nadia Bokody revealed she was once summoned to her boss's office and told her figure-hugging and low cut outfits were "too sexy" for teaching teenage boys English.

The Sydney based woman ended up resigning two days later because she didn't want to change her wardrobe style.

In New Zealand workplaces have their own dress code with some more conservative than others.

If you have a certain style and don't want to change it might be wise to find a workplace that doesn't require conformity.

Schools, in particular, have strict dress codes for teachers.

One of Auckland's poshest schools, Auckland Grammar, banned plunging necklines, high hemlines, spaghetti-­string straps, sandals, and ­jandals.

Male teachers were told to ditch walk shorts, knee-high socks, and sandals for a ­corporate wardrobe of ties, business shirts, dress pants, and ­formal footwear.

So what is appropriate for work and do you have to tone down your usual style in the workplace?

Auckland designer Tanya Carlson said being aware of your workplace's dress code was important.

"Jeans with the front ripped out might be ok if you are working at a magazine because that is fashion, but the same look won't work elsewhere," she said.

"I have a lot of customers who are doctors and lawyers so we have certain cuts that are not going to be too revealing when you bend over because they don't want that."

Carlson said no matter what your job, from building site to office, being well presented and groomed was key.

Here are some top tips to make sure it's your work and not just your wardrobe that gets attention.

Dress for the role

Take notice of what other people in the workplace are wearing and go from there. If you are out and about meeting clients or in important meetings, think about how what you are wearing might be perceived.

If you are meeting a potential customer or trying to land an account on 'casual Friday' make sure you are dressed appropriately.

Know your company's policy

Some organisations have a dress code so find it and read it before spending large on your work wardrobe.

If your company is more formal perhaps keep your spaghetti-strap tops and ripped jeans for the weekend.

Having a jacket on hand to throw on if you are called out for something more formal is a great idea.

Be groomed

It should go without saying but being well-groomed whether you are in the office or building site does matter.

Chipped polish, un-kempt hair or body odour can be as offensive as wearing a pair of Crocs on the catwalk.

Ill fitting clothes

Muffin tops, bare midriffs, plunging necklines, sports caps, and exposed chest hair are not the best look when you are trying to make an impression at work.

If you need to flaunt flesh it's best left for after-hours.

Check twice

Before you leave the house check yourself in the mirror. If you have to ask yourself if something is suitable for work, it probably isn't. Get a second opinion or get changed.

Neat feet

Depending on the formality of your workplace sandals or jandals might not be acceptable footwear.

Skyscraper heels that look uncomfortable to walk in also fit in the 'best for weekend' category.


Not just yours but others in the workplace.

If what you are wearing is distracting or making others feel uncomfortable it might be time to overhaul your wardrobe.