with Susan Wagner
The Working Closet is your source for the best of what's hip and fresh in fashion and beauty. Susan Wagner keeps you up-to-date on trends and offers tips and tricks for making everything in your closet truly work for you.
You can also catch Susan over at Working Closet.
Congratulations! You have a new job! New things are always fun, because change brings challenges and opportunities. But change is also scary because what on earth do you WEAR to the new job?!?
Moving from one office to another — or from your kitchen table to an office — can be daunting for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the whole idea of what’s appropriate attire for your new work environment. You don’t want to overdress, but you certainly don’t want to UNDERdress, and either way you want to make a good first impression on your new coworkers.
And all that is before you even start doing the work you are getting paid to do.
So what DO you wear to a new job? Do you dress up, dress down, try to wear what everyone else is wearing?
A little bit of all of those, actually.
Know the rules. Does your new office have a specific dress code or policy? If so, then be sure to follow it to the letter, at least for the first month. Some businesses have policies but don’t enforce them, while other places enforce only parts of the policy; in the beginning, assume that the dress code is the absolute law. Policy says no exposed toes? Don’t wear sandals to the office, no matter how hot it is.
Know the environment. “Business casual” means different things in different offices. Some business casual workplaces prohibit sandals and shorts, while others encourage you to wear your fleece and Tevas. Be aware of the culture in your new office and keep it in mind as you get dressed.
Know yourself. Wear what is comfortable for you, rather than trying to put together a costume that makes you look like the rest of the office.
So what specifically should you wear? Choose pieces that you know look and feel great; the first week at a new job isn’t the time to road test a new look. Mix and match things from your existing wardrobe, if possible; if you have to shop for things, stick with tried-and-true shapes and styles. Consider both the office style and YOUR style and find outfits that will work for both.
Finally, I am a big believer in the notion that it is always better to be overdressed than under dressed. If your new office is business casual, don’t wear a suit, but think about pairing a jacket with a pair of tailored trousers, or a skirt with a twinset. Making that little extra effort to look professional and polished shows your coworkers that you are serious about this job, and that you are excited to be part of their team. Because, as my father always said, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Tomorrow: how to make your Wall Street wardrobe work in a Casual Friday office.
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