When it comes to dressing for work, Indian women have a variety to choose form. There is a wide range of options that can be considered formal. Traditional outfits are highly accepted as formal wear as long as you accessorise them in the right way.

Here are some tips on how to look professional in the workplace

Pick the right hairstyle

Women should wear hairstyles that are formal, neat and elegant. A bun is one common hairstyle that working women wear. You can also tie your hair in a ponytail to keep it neat. If you cannot maintain a long hairstyle, a bob cut is just as acceptable.

Wear minimal Accessories

Traditional Indian jewellery is big, bold, and can never go unnoticed. Big earring studs, shiny necklaces and bangles, and cocktail rings are worn for festival and cultural events. Accessorising your outfit with such jewellery makes it look less professional and more casual. If you want to add jewellery to your outfit, try small earring studs and watches in place of big earrings and bangles.

Choose the right footwear

Shoes are worn for comfort and to accessorise an outfit and bring out a certain look. If you are a male in the workplace, you should avoid open sandals. You can select from a wide range of formal leather shoes that will match your formal wear.

Women have a lot of options to choose from. You can pair your outfit with closed sandals, chappals, flats and heels. Whatever shoes you chose to go with, make sure they are comfortable so you can have.

Avoid making fashion statements on normal working days

Work wear should be plain, sharp and sometimes blunt. Stick to conventional wear and avoid experimenting with new fashion trends if you are unsure about their formality. Bright colored clothes with prints and embroidery can be distracting to your colleagues. Casual wear like t-shirts and jeans may be comfortable but they won’t pass as formal, you should only wear these if your work environment involves advertisement, media, travelling and arts.

If you feel uncomfortable western styles and fashion, you can wear an ethnic outfit to your workplace. Some ethnic wears are formally acceptable in most parts of India.

These are some of the ethnic outfits you can wear to work

indian saree

The saree

It is common to see saree dressed for different styles and occasion in India. You can pair a saree with a paloo to create an official outfit. The saree comes in many colors, materials and styles. You should choose soft and neutral colors when dressing for the office. Bright colors with embroidery can be mistaken for festive and social outfits.

To make this outfit more formal, women wear their hair in a laid back hairstyle such as a bun and avoid any kind of accessories such as large necklaces, bungles and big earring studs. Women avoid makeup with this look to make it as professional as possible. For the shoes, formal sandals, pompom and heels will match this look perfectly to complete the formal style.

The kurti and kurta

indian kurtaKurta are the safest choice while picking a workplace outfit. You can wear the plain and printed, long and short, fitting or lose but they will still create that formal look. You can also easily pair these with other outfits to switch up your formal wear.

Kurta shirts are an ideal for working men. You can pair it with a pyjama and some leather shoes to make official. Although prints and patterns are acceptable, try using block colors to draw the attention away from your outfit.

Kurti come in a variety of styles. Straight cut pin tuck kurti is recommended for office wear. You can wear it bare only if it’s mid- length and longer. Pair a mid-sized kurti from Stylecaret with some culottes, palazzos and straight pants to achieve this office look.


Ethic outfits can be styles using different style pants but they don’t all fit in the wok environment. You should avoid wearing Leggings, jeggings, jeans and shorts to the workplace. They are casual wear and unacceptable in the workplace. Pair your straight kurta jacket or shirt with a pair of straight pants and some leather shoes. For women, palazzos, culottes and cigarette pants can be matched to create a formal wear. Palatiala pants are very popular in the workplace. They are paired with kurti and traditional sandals to create a Patiala salwar.

salwar kameez

Salwar kameez

Salwar kameez can be formal or casual depending on the style, design and accessories. The formal salwar kameez consists of a top, lehenga and a dupatta. A formal salwar kameez is block-colored and does not sweep the ground. Choose a Lehenga with minimal patterns and pleats. This outfit is paired with sandals or some classy pompoms. The salwar kameez is comfortable and respectable. If you work for long hours in humid environments this is the perfect office wear for you.

The sherwani jacket

Culturally, the sherwani jacket is used for weddings and festivals. The design and embroidery of the sherwani jacket can be altered to make it more formal and official. Men can wear this jacket over a kurta and pyjama to create an official look. Choose a sherwani jacket with shoulder pads and a curved hemline to emphasise on its formal look.

Indo-western fusion

Conservative western female wears can be won to the workplace. You can wear a business suit and nice pant suits. Ensure they are below the knee length and not too tight or low cut. If you prefer a pantsuit, cover over it with a kurti jacket to make it more appropriate. Western infused Indian wear is widely acceptable in the workplace too. Wearing plain western outfits can become boring after a while. Jazz them up with Indian garments. You can create a formal indo-western look by pairing a block colored khadi with some straight cut pants and heels.

Final thoughts

Dressing codes vary in different places and can be challenging to those unaware of different work cultures and rules. A good formal wear is the key to perfect relationship in the work environment. Your clothing should be respectful to the Indian culture even when you are at work.