CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW JOB AND ALL THAT, BUT WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO WEAR?
Day one at a new job is the adult equivalent of your first day of school. There’s a whole new timetable, a new set of faces, lunch cliques (some things never change) and, above all, the opportunity for a fresh start. Despite your long list of professional accomplishments, you are the new boy, and the best way to introduce yourself is by nailing your office outfits right out of the gate. As they say, first impressions last longest, and we need not remind you that the people you’re looking to impress will be your desk mates for more or less 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Often, they hold the fate of your career in their hands. Jobs aren’t stressful at all!
That’s why we’re here to make sure you start your new gig on the right foot, whether you’re stepping into a den of old-school businessmen or a more laid-back start-up environment (either way, leave the hoodie at home for now). Dress codes are dress codes, but a few universal tips and tricks will guarantee you’re well prepared from the jump. Nothing is set in stone and you can tweak your look to better suit your workday needs. Start here and you’ll go from new guy to dapper colleague in no time.
1. GATHER INTEL
A little reconnaissance during the interview process will come in handy when you’re preparing for your first day. Take mental notes of what people are wearing around the office and try to get a sense of the general vibe. If it isn’t obvious, or you’re confined to a sterile conference room, don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager about the culture and if there are any dress code requirements. You can also get some inspiration from your career heroes, unless their rotation happens to consist exclusively of black rollnecks faded jeans and dad shoes. They say dress for the job you want, so why not aim for the stars?
2. WEAR IT. ALL OF IT.
Take your outfit for a dry run well before your first day. Not just your trousers, not just your shirt or blazer. The whole thing. Your first day of work should not be the first time you’re wearing everything together. Consider it a dress rehearsal that will allow you to make any necessary adjustments to the major components, such as swapping out chinos for navy dress trousers or opting for a plain suit over stripes. Putting this off until your start day is self-sabotage. Which brings us to our next point...
3. ACE THE FIT
The perfect fit is paramount. Trying things on early will give you the opportunity and time to visit a tailor if necessary. And chances are, if you’ve completely refreshed your work wardrobe, some nips and tucks will be required. If you don’t already have a tailor on speed dial, now is the time. Keep an eye on where your sleeves and trousers hit if you’re wearing a suit. Get them slightly tapered for an ultra-polished look. That applies to more casual trousers as well. The sock-to-shoe ratio is up to you, but more conservative offices will probably appreciate a little less ankle.
4. NIGHT SHIFT
Get everything in tip-top shape the night before, not while you’re juggling your morning coffee and beard trimmer. Give everything a thorough run under the iron or a nice steam so you’ll look fresh from head to toe. Ditch the tags and any extra stitching. Shine your dress shoes or swap out your laces for a clean set. This due diligence will ensure you won’t have anything to worry about the next day, except for a quick lint roll before stepping out.
5. THE FINER POINTS
Add some details, but don’t over-peacock. This is not your moment to go big. Being comically overdressed is a style sin on par with being underdressed. A subtle splash of colour won’t hurt, but wearing the entire colour wheel will. For suit accessories, stick to neutrals, such as a white or simply patterned pocket square. Socks are an easy way to make a statement, while a luxury watch will give you a sense of refinement – so long as it’s not decked out in diamonds.
6. BE PREPARED
Brace yourself for the unexpected, such as stains, wardrobe malfunctions and unpredictable office climates. Throw a stain pen into yourbriefcase for the inevitable coffee spill or lunchtime mishap. A traveller’s sewing kit is a smart addition if you’re prone to rips or losing the odd button. Keep a light bomber jacket or zip-up cardigan on deck if your dress code is more casual – arctic office air-conditioning is no joke. Going to work fully prepared will prevent you from running into any roadblocks that could knock your confidence.
7. FIT PREP
Don’t just plan for day one. Plan for week one. There’s no need to force yourself to struggle every single morning when you can plot things out in advance. Playing the long game will help when you’re shopping, too. Think of it as meal prep, but for clothes. Going into this with a well-thought-out game plan will stop you from stressing out. Trust us: there will be plenty of other things to worry about, such as figuring out how to use the printer.
8. IT'S ALL YOU
The most important thing is to strive for outfits that instil confidence and comfort. At the end of the day, you want to feel good on top of looking good. Self-expression is at the heart of how we present ourselves day in, day out, so make sure that doesn’t get lost along the way. Being confident in the clothes you wear will take you a long way on the road to success.