Congratulations. You’ve got the job. Now, knowing what to wear to a new office is your next test. And, one you don’t want to get wrong (gents in the past have been fired for less).
While no two offices are ever the same, contemporary workplaces are generally on par when it comes to professionalism and appropriate business attire.
But, an investment banking firm will have a different dress code to a relaxed creative agency. So, before clothes can be considered, you need to know the expectations of your new role.
“First and foremost, you have dress job-specific,” says Brent Wilson, owner and designer at Brent Wilson. “Then, keep it simple. It’s better to create the best impression by showcasing your experience, knowledge of your craft and conversational skills, not your loudest and most flamboyant outfit.”
Which is why, this guide is a little more on the formal side, keeping it corporate to appease most office taste. Save your statement blazers and cropped vintage denim for the weekend, and read on for a sartorial and simple guide to dressing for a new job.
First up, jeans and a t-shirt are never acceptable new job clothes. In corporate circles, a suit or separates are best, or at least until you have assessed the dress code properly and decided you work in a business casual environment.
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While a standard black suit is fine, the formal colour doesn’t really say much about your creative or innovative side. Instead, try a navy suit with matching trouser and jacket. That way, you’ll have the option of splitting the two and injecting a pair of khaki chinos if the full suit look is a little formal for your new stomping ground.
“Personally, I would wear a beautifully cut two-button notch lapel suit in either navy or charcoal,” says Wilson.
As for fabric, avoid pure cotton and linen (it’s not a summer garden party). So, stick with medium-weight wool and harness your style prowess with a subtle weave: think herringbone, which adds as sophisticated edge to a midnight blue tone.
Finally, a contemporary office expects modern silhouettes. Keep the suit slim cut (never skinny) for a deal-winning fit.
Shirt’s The Word
Much the like the suit, the shirt is best kept simple and quality-made, not outlandish in colour and print. Stick to business blue or go for a traditional white, says Wilson: “A navy work suit looks great paired with a crisp, white shirt.”
As for style, a button down Oxford is a timeless, fail-proof choice. And stick to natural fibres – going for pure cotton — to help with those first day nervous sweats. And, tie or no-tie?
“It depends on the work environment,” adds Wilson. A modern workplace is generally more relaxed. For this, take a point-collar shirt and leave the top two buttons unbuttoned. And, for a more corporate environment: “Opt for cutaway collar shirt with a silk tie.”
If you’re in doubt, layer in a cashmere sweater and cardigan. That way, you can lose the jacket if you’re overdressed, and you still look kept.
For a new job, a leather shoe is a must, cautions Wilson: “Either an Oxford or Derby in black or chocolate.”
Avoid lighter neutral shades such as tan, which tend to dress-down all that hard work you put into your dapper suit, leaving them for casual Fridays. This goes for brogues and leather loafers too, always wearing socks — you’re not a Pitti Uomo sprezz and a new office is no place to parade those mankles.
Finally, no sneakers or coloured or embellished shoes. “This isn’t a disco,” says Wilson.
Accessorise To Personalise
Accessories are the icing on your new-job-new-look cake. And they’re the perfect way to give insight into the type of guy you are (you can tell a lot about a man by his bag).
“Investing in a bag is a great idea,” says Wilson. “When starting a new job, I believe in coming prepared with computer, diary, pen and paper. You never know what you may be asked, so being over prepared and organised is key.”
Opt for a leather briefcase if you’re more the corporate purist, or a leather tote for a bag that is just as practical but softer on formalities.
Finally, keep your flashy rings, lapel pins and bracelets and cuffs at home on the dresser. “When it comes to jewellery, don’t be showy and keep it simple.” A quality watch is ideal, showcasing a classic taste for man’s most trusted accessory.
“First impressions are often lasting impressions when you start a new job, warns Wilson: “So, keep it simple and don’t let your outfit overpower your expertise and ability for the role.”
But, don’t be a stiff about your outfit either.
“Still be yourself on the first day. But, over time let your personality shine through as you develop in your role, and your outfit choices should follow,” concludes Wilson.
If you’re a style peacock, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to rule the office roost, after you’ve settled in a bit. Your first day (or week, really) at a new job isn’t one of them. Flourish slowly, no one likes a fast burner.