Monday 15 July 2024

Young Professional Fashion: How To Dress For Your First Office Job

The time has finally come for you to enter the professional world and start a dedicated role for your chosen career path, congratulations! The working world can be a daunting place, especially straight out of education. Once reality sets in, the time comes to start climbing the corporate ladder and land a role at a reputable company. Despite contrary opinions, what you wear to your first office job can have a huge impact on your experience at said company.

Clothes may appear to be a simple way to dress yourself up, but the impact they have spans much further than that. Dressing appropriately for your first office job, and secondly to make a great impression are just a few ways in which your work attire can make a difference. From the halo effect’ to abiding by the office dress code, in this blog, we will discuss how to dress professionally for your first office job, in addition to creating a style that is synonymous with your style interests. Take a look at the following suggestions:

The power of dressing smart

Dressing smart spans beyond looking the part. Whilst superficial narratives should not have a place in the professional world, we can’t help but make a judgement on peers based on their appearance in some scenarios. For example, if you have landed a role in a high-end retail store and see a colleague dressed ‘sloppy’ and like they’ve rolled out of bed, they would be perceived as lazy and unprofessional. The Halo Effect comes into play here, with people having a positive perception of individuals who dress and look smarter/ attractive to society’s standards. In essence, you can positively influence your new co-workers and bosses’ options by dressing smart. 

Additionally, there is science behind looking your best supporting you feeling your best. It is estimated that self-confidence increases as much as 50% when individuals perceive themselves as looking great. For that reason, dressing for success plays a huge role in your early experience in your office job. You may be inexperienced at this stage, but why not dress confidently to reflect your work ethic and willingness to learn?

Always read the employee handbook

As part of the textbook rules, you should always read the employee handbook before you start choosing your office outfits. In there, you should be able to find detailed descriptions of what the office dress code is, and what they do not permit to be worn in the office. The last thing you need is to receive a warning in your first working weeks for wearing something against their guidance. 

Consult on religious wear 

Hopefully, you start working at an inclusive company that respects the varying cultures that require specific religious attire to be worn. However, it is always safe to relay your circumstances to your hiring manager as to what they should expect you to wear to the office. It is illegal for them to deny the use of such clothing and wholesale fashion jewelry, however, confirm what colours and styles they perhaps do not permit. For example, if your coworkers are limited to white shirts, trousers and skirts, you might be asked to wear solely neutral abayas. Have a conversation with your hiring manager to understand if any restrictions apply to your specific religious attire.

Dress for the job you want 

Next up, some of the most successful people in the world have all stated the same thing. Starting from zero, they all maintained confidence and discipline when starting as newbies early into their careers. ‘Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have’ is a powerful yet eye-opening quote. Say for example you start as a junior sales associate, however, wish to climb to the top as a director and dress as if you have already landed the role. This may mean dressing confident, authoritative and bold. Some may look down on you for it, but this will simply be a reflection of their insecurity. As long as they aren’t paying your bills, you should not care what others think when they start to try to bring you down as the new person. Assert your position with your clothing choices, and show the higher powers that you are reaching their level on your path of progression.

Keep it corporate for your first weeks

Keep in mind that not all office jobs have a strict dress code. It can be confusing entering a workplace and seeing a mixture of casual wear and corporate wear. If comfy is your go-to, no problem, but be cautious not to jump to a laid-back look straight away. People who are respected and good at their jobs have likely earned the right to wear what they like, so even if this is not the case, wait for the nod of approval before you start toning down the corporate wear. Stay as smart as possible for your first few weeks, and then move on to a smart casual look. Going in with full scrubs should not be a consideration, no matter how others seem to dress. Standing out from the rest means putting yourself above them, and dressing smart is one of the best ways to do this.

Keep the shoes comfy, yet classy

Shoes are a difficult one. Whilst wearing new, shiny and often uncomfortable work shoes is not the favourite option, it is the best rule to follow at a new office job. Shoes can make or break a good professional outfit. Perhaps you are weaning a new and beautiful office dress that has been ironed and pressed, yet your shoes might be old and worn out. Of course, you should not force yourself to wear heels, but pick a smart yet comfortable shoe that you will be happy within and out of the office. Leather loafers are always a good choice, or ankle boots also serve well in the winter months when tackling unpredictable weather. Choose the right shoe for you, and run with it. After all, trailing mud into the office on your first day will not give off the best first impression.

Bottom Line 

Overall, navigating work wear as someone new to corporate life is never easy, but by simply following the rules of the status quo and making an extra effort, you will be praised by all. It is difficult to stand out when you are a new person who still needs to prove themselves, but starting with a professional and admirable work ethic and wardrobe will get you the brownie points you need to excel!