Choosing the Right Attire for Your First Day

People in UniformIf you’re about to start your first day at a new job you’ve probably given a lot of thought to what you’re going to wear, but have you figured it out yet? Check with your employer to make sure you know what the company dress code is. Do you know what they mean by professional or casual dress? Do you wear something like what you wore to your interview, or should you dress more casual? Does the attire you have in mind fit into the dress code? Knowing exactly what to wear can be confusing, but it’s important to dress to impress from day one to reassure your employer that you’re the right person for the job. Here are some guidelines for five common dress codes to help you figure it out.

Professional
This is the most formal dress code, and it’s usually reserved for business environments. It includes suits, button-down shirts, ties, and dress shoes for men. For women, this attire includes blouses and pant suits or skirt suits with nylons and high-heeled dress shoes. Some professions require this type of dress on a daily basis, while others require it only on certain occasions, such as business meetings, presentations, or sales calls. Suit jackets are typically a must for the professional dress code, so don’t leave home on your first day without one.

Business Casual
The business casual environment is professional yet relaxed. Men wear dress slacks and button-down shirts but often leave their ties at home, and women wear skirts or dress slacks with blouses. Jackets are optional, but are an easy way to dress-up your attire, so it might be a good idea to keep one handy just in case. Wearing khakis and a polo shirt embroidered with the company logo is also usually appropriate for this dress code for both men and women. For men, casual loafers and dress shoes are acceptable, but sneakers and sandals need to be left at home. Women can wear high-heeled shoes or flats, but sneakers, flip-flops, and beach sandals are not appropriate.

Casual
For some offices, a casual dress code is only allowed on Fridays. For workplaces with an every day casual attire, khakis, jeans, polo shirts, casual shoes, and clean sneakers are generally appropriate. Make sure to leave jogging suits, worn-out attire, sandals, and revealing clothing at home. If your new workplace allows casual attire but you’re not sure how much to dress up or down for your first day, khakis and a polo shirt are a safe bet to start off with until you learn what’s acceptable.

Industrial
There is no set standard for an industrial dress code because jobs within the industry require different attire for safety and necessity. For example, construction sites may require steel-toed boots while other businesses simply require closed-toed shoes. Jewelry or baggy clothing may be prohibited for safety precautions. Shorts may even be acceptable for some positions, while others might require long pants. So, check with your employer to ask for specific details about the dress code to show your professionalism and safety awareness.

Uniform
If your new position requires a uniform or special attire, make sure you know the guidelines for how to wear it. Depending on the company and type of position, you might be required to iron your uniform or wear additional accessories such as a belt. You might also be limited to what you can wear in addition to your wardrobe, so ask about whether or not it’s OK to wear jewelry or hats. Check with your employer to see if you’ll be provided with a uniform or if you’re required to purchase all or part of it yourself, and whether you’ll need to pick it up prior to your start date or during your first day on the job.

With these guidelines you can choose the right dress code for your first day. Whatever type of dress code your new work environment requires, you can demonstrate your respect for the employer and your professionalism in the workplace by following these guidelines.

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