NAO dress codeThe biggest bit of advice I’d give to anyone about how to dress while you’re working out of the main NAO offices on Buckingham Palace Road and in Newcastle would be to take note of what others are wearing. Sadly, that doesn’t work if you can’t look around the cafeteria and judge for yourself. So, here is my take on how the NAO dresses.

Men – For men, suits are the norm though jacket and tie are often forgone. An average more relaxed look would be a pair of smart trousers with an open-collared shirt but ties are still common and some choose to go a bit more dapper with a waistcoat or pocket-square or both. Some advice says you should always keep a tie around in your bag or locker in case a big meeting crops up but I suspect even that is a personal choice.

Women – As is often the case, women have more options than men for how they dress in the workplace and this may make it a bit harder to gauge what’s suitable when you can’t take a look at some examples. Ultimately, what you wear will depend on your personal style – tailored skirts and smart tops abound, alongside dresses both formal and fashionable. Cardigans and blazers are both common and a bit of colour is definitely allowed – though a lot of people stick largely to neutrals. My pre-starting advice would be to buy some safe basics that you feel comfortable in but don’t go too overboard on formalwear if it’s not really your style. (More power to you if it is and do feel free to suit up daily, you wouldn’t be alone in doing so, but you should know it isn’t mandatory.)

I’d say that just a few days in the office will get you attuned to the general tone of the implicit dress code and you’ll probably be able to work out how you want to fit into it soon after that, so don’t sweat it too much before you join.

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