But, don’t panic and go buy an entire new wardrobe before Monday at 8:00AM, because I've got you covered. And remember, you've passed the interview, the second panel interview, and the meeting with the big-wigs. So, the good news is that you have already impressed them. And most likely you would not have landed this job without an appropriate and professional look on those days. So, really, the first day is a piece of cake! Right?
The first thing to do is ask your superior BEFORE you start what the dress code is. This is a must. You need to know what is expected of employees when it comes to apparel. Even ask about Fridays – casual or not? Also, keep in mind what industry you are in. Are you working in an office or a non-traditional space? Is there equipment or dangerous surfaces nearby? They may require a specific safety or non-slip shoe. Or maybe the president HATES jeans. You need to know these things.
Most companies, though, will simply tell you “business professional” or “business casual”. So here are some depictions to help you distinguish between the two.
Business professional means a suit. So, stock up on suit pants, jackets, pencil skirts, and sheath dresses. And while, yes, you can just wear a matching suit with a blouse underneath all the time, I like to mix and match. Even a nice blazer can be worn in my opinion. I tend to gravitate towards neutrals and saturated colors in general, but don’t be afraid of pattern and color as long as it’s sleek and sophisticated. You don’t have to be in a boring black suit every day. Find ways to infuse your own style like this gorgeous green printed blazer or a bedazzled pink blouse. And as always, rock some killer shoes.
Business casual allows you to get away with more color and pattern. It’s more causal so you don’t have to go super chic. Try fun printed dresses, blouses paired with dress slacks, and again, great shoes. Wedges and flats are your friends. Especially for those of you who have to walk a lot during the day. Also always remember that work attire needs to be appropriate. Shoulders shouldn’t be exposed so always throw on a cardigan or jacket if you just have a shell top underneath. Also, too much foot is bad. Peep toes are really the furthest you want to go with foot exposure.
If you are one of the lucky ones who gets to experience the bliss that is Casual Friday, know this: Casual Friday does NOT mean the attire you wear lounging on the couch on the weekends. No sweat pants, sweat shirts, or ratty jeans. I like to call it “Snappy Casual”. You can wear jeans but makes sure they are good cut and quality. Use this time to play with fun casual looks with layering and accessories. Yes, you should be extra comfortable on this day, but keep it classy! You are still in a professional environment. Never forget that.
And finally the most important rule of all, that I know you already know. “Dress for the job you want not the job you have.” It’s so true. It doesn’t matter if you are the administrative assistant or the CEO of the company, if the dress code is business professional, rock that look HARD every day. Don’t get caught up if other people are slacking and cutting corners. Dress like you are important and others will treat you as such.