Work Attire: The Art of Dressing for Success

While you’ve worked hard for this opportunity and you probably are confident, a few small doubts may linger in your mind. For instance, what should you wear for your first day at work? You weren’t thinking about that when you were sending out resumes!
Dress for Success

Congratulations! You have just been hired for the job of your dreams, and now you’re getting ready for your first day in a brand-new position.

While you’ve worked hard for this opportunity and you probably are confident, a few small doubts may linger in your mind. For instance, what should you wear for your first day at work? You weren’t thinking about that when you were sending out resumes!

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Although many people have an innate sense of style, others may have a difficult time trying to decide exactly what outfit to wear on their first day on the job. Fortunately, here are some tips to help figure out appropriate work attire for your new position (hopefully obtained with our handy job portal).

1. Even With No Dress Code, Dress Appropriately

Every city in the world has its own set of rules regarding food, culture, and especially business attire. Even within the same state, cities vary widely in business culture. For example, Los Angeles is laid back regarding workplace dress, with many companies having a very relaxed dress code. On the other hand, Sacramento is more conservative, and the dress code is strict compared to laid-back LA.

Most of these rules are easy to spot and shouldn’t cause the observant employee any issues. However, be careful about making assumptions. When visiting Miami, you may be tempted to think that most employers in the city only require casual clothing. However, that assumption is not true, and you may be shocked to see employees in suits walking down a street in 100-degree weather on lunch break!

2. Follow the Interviewer’s Advice

Before a job interview, it’s always prudent to establish what type of attire is appropriate for the interview. The interviewer should know exactly what the company expects and should clearly tell you those things. After the interview, consider wearing the same level of attire for your first day on the job. The interviewer knows the company better than you do.

Another suggestion may be to e-mail the interviewer and ask. However, this strategy is only recommended if the interview attire varies greatly the workplace attire. For instance, if you interview in a suit for a construction job, it would be a good idea to ask what the attire should be for a workplace environment. However, it may be a needless interruption for an interviewer to ask if the new employee should dress in business casual for a desk job. Always consider the other person’s time, and make sure that you have a legitimate question, instead of simply being pedantic. When in doubt, consider dressing a little more nicely than the job requires.

3. Make Sure Not to Overdo It

One temptation to avoid is to simply dress in a suit to evade these questions. Our friendly advice is “Don’t do it!”. While this tactic may seem logical, it generally results in mild derision around an office with a more tolerant dress code. At best, your first day may be remembered as “the day the new employee came in wearing a suit”. Even years later, your first day may be remembered with a bit of humor at your expense. Avoid this situation.

4. Take Cues from Peers

As a savvy networker, you probably know several people who work in your field. If you happen to see any of those people at work, pay attention to their attire. While no guarantee, their choice of clothing may make it easier for you to decide what to wear to the office. Even better, if you like your peers’ clothes, you can simply ask where they shop.

6. Frugal Should Not Mean Poorly Made

Some employees think that they are being frugal by wearing poorly made clothes. However, their peers will most likely know when they are wearing clothes of inappropriate quality. Wearing low-quality clothes will most likely impact the employee’s social status and may even hurt the employee’s job status. While this tendency may be unfair, it is an unfortunate human tendency and one that an employee in any field must tolerate.

Another reason to avoid poorly made garments is that they are likely to wear much more quickly than more durably made clothes, negating any advantage the cheaper clothes may have. Poorly made clothes may also rip at an inopportune time, such as during a presentation or at a business lunch. While clothing budgets are a great idea, wearing low-quality clothes should be avoided.

7. Be Professional When Dealing with Money

People tend to place trust in people with uniforms, such as police officers and nurses. Occupations that deal with money, such as accountants, lawyers, and financial consultants also have a uniform –  a full, three-piece suit for men, or a conservative dress for women. If you are working in an occupation that primarily deals with a client’s finances, you should probably dress as conservatively as possible in order to ensure that you appear trustworthy, at least at first. Perhaps after you’re established, you can buck this trend and be less conservative with your attire.

8. Avoid Flashy Accessories

While flashy necklaces and goofy ties may be fun, these types of accessories may be career-limiting. Some companies may be reluctant to give a promotion to an employee who is known for wearing “silly” apparel, for fear these employees don’t take their jobs seriously enough.

Also, try to avoid strong perfumes, deodorants, and colognes. The scents associated with these items may offend someone, or even worse, trigger an allergy! Always be mindful of your coworkers when considering how to dress for the day.

Above All, Use Common Sense with Work Attire

While dressing for your first day at the office can seem daunting, many people do it without incident every morning. Just be aware of your coworkers and supervisors.

Ignore advice columns and fashion magazines that dictate the “best” way for you to dress in the morning. Instead, simply find clothes that allow you to fit in with your peer group, are not distracting, and possibly allow you to indulge in a little self-expression. When you do this, you become more comfortable and your attire becomes a stepping stone in helping both you and your career.

If you’re a job candidate looking for that special position, contact us at Mapertunity! Our Geographic information system will help you locate a job in your area, and our job search power tool is second to none.

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Lonnie Ayers

On a mission to help every job seeker find a job. Co-inventor of mapertunity, the most advanced graphical job search tool in existence. A 21st century tool for jobs and businesses.

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