You want to succeed. That is why you put yourself through education. Books, knowledge and abilities aside; impressions count. That is the hard truth.
If there is one take-out from this: Dress as you want to be seen by others.
If your employer has a written dress code, good for you. You can go out to the relevant shops and get the duds you will need. However, if there isn’t one, size up your new office. Look at the successful managers in the office, check out the rising stars; wear what they are wearing.
Elegance is key. Up to this point, perhaps the extra money that you have been spending has gone to party clothes. Keep in mind that you are now not aiming to pick up that hot chick from the bar or neither are you going for the gawks from the boys at the club.
You are likely to want to go for the “I’m a serious young professional” look and come across as someone that is ready and moving up.
For men, you can try to fill your wardrobe with:
- Shirt; button-down (start with the white and blue shirts, as you expand your collection, you can add in the other colours)
- Jacket; blue, black or grey
- Slacks; something that complement the jacket.
- Neck-tie; stay away from the loud prints for a start
- Black shoes; polished
- Socks; get dozen of blacks and another dozen of blues (then you don’t have to worry about matching them in the morning)
For women, you could try:
- Skirt; just above the knee
- Slacks (worth considering a pant-suit).
- Flats or heels (not the killer stilettos); clean, polished.
- Simple jewellery; understated, not clubbing bling.
- Make-up; go for that light, fresh look with lightly applied perfume
You might want to consider sweaters if you get cold easily; go for something classic and easy to match. And depending on the office, Pantyhose might be expected; so please check.
Just keep these points in mind:
- Your dressing will tell the boss how you see yourself and how you approach the job.
- You want to be noticed for the quality of your work, not your fashion faux pas.
- Dress for task at hand; are you on an engineering site or are you making a presentation?
To close, here is a first day tip: It’s better to overdress on your first day at a new job. The jokes might come, but it is better to have the jokes, then to be written off for being a slob, or worse, someone that is not serious about the job.