A few guidelines on how to dress for the first day at a new job
Starting a new job is stressful. And the seemingly innocuous task of deciding what to wear to your first day in a new workplace can be anything but. The first impression you make to your new colleagues is an important one and you should certainly consider the consequences of how that first impression will resonate.
If you are working in a larger office, I think this is especially important. There are going to be people who see you who have no direct day-to-day contact with you and, like it or not, they’re probably going to form an opinion of you based on how you look when they see you from afar.
So what is the best course of action? Unfortunately, like most things business casual attire-related, it depends. Mostly it depends on the type of job, environment and culture you’re entering into. Yet there are some key points that can be applied across a variety of fields.
Here’s some guidance to help you out.
Don’t overdo it. The first day of a new job is not the time to show off or “peacock”. Stay away from bright colors – pocket squares, ties or “statement” socks – and anything that might be scare-quote stylish. So maybe the first day isn’t the best day to wear a bow tie. Unless, of course, you’d like to be known as the “bow tie guy” for your entire career. And, hey, maybe that’s your thing!
Err on the conservative side. This follows logically from the first point. Stick to basic menswear colors such as blues, greys and browns. And unless your office requires you to wear a suit, try a simple blazer and trousers combo. If you’ve invested in well-tailored garments, you’re going to look better than most of the men in suits anyway. And a well thought-out blazer/trousers look can show a lot more style acumen than a suit.
Show your style…subtly. Even when dressing conservatively, you can let people know you’re a stylish guy without broadcasting that you are “into style”. A simple windowpane plaid on your blazer, a peak lapel instead of a notch lapel, a tie with an interesting stripe pattern and even a pair of tassel loafers are easy ways to do this.
Get a read on the office culture and style. As you integrate into your new office, you’ll begin to get a sense of what’s possible (or acceptable) from a style point. I think it’s always best to ease into these sorts of things rather than to be upfront and in your face about it, especially if your office is more conservative. If you’re working in the fashion or fashion publishing industry, none of this applies to you!
People, dudes especially, will be more accepting if you ease into it. And, in fact, if after some time you start introducing some more advanced elements into your office look – think double monks, a cutaway collar or even a double-breasted blazer – the same dudes who might have given you a hard time at first will probably want some style advice from you. I know this because I’ve been there.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
He Spoke Style