How to Dress at a New Job

Knowing how to dress for a new job can almost be as intimidating as the new job itself. The two basic standards of dress are traditional business and business casual. If your new office has a strict dress code, opt for traditional business attire. If it has a more relaxed dress code, start out by wearing business casual. Skip baseline casual styles, which are the most relaxed, until you determine with greater certainty whether these looks are appropriate for your office.


Traditional Business: Men

  1. Wear a button down shirt. Look for one with a straight collar in simple colors like white or blue. Avoid bright, flashy hues or patterns.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%201.jpg
  2. Look for a wool suit jacket. Stick with medium to dark colors, especially navy blue, black, or gray.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%202.jpg
  3. Match your trousers to your suit jacket. Buying the two as a set is ideal, but if you buy them separately, look for slacks that match the color of the jacket. Pants with a pleat down the front look especially professional, but plain front trousers will work, as well.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%203.jpg
  4. Invest in a good belt. A simple leather belt, in black or brown, holds your pants in place and keeps you looking well put together.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%204.jpg
  5. Keep your shoes polished. Black leather is standard here, but a dark brown may also work if it coordinates better with your suit.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%205.jpg
  6. Stock up on black socks. While your socks may be hidden by your trouser legs for the majority of the day, they may occasionally peek out. Your socks should blend into your shoe. Avoid white socks, which look sloppy and casual.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%206.jpg
  7. Add a conservative necktie. Stick with a long tie and avoid bow ties. Your tie can be a solid color or a simple pattern, but avoid anything flashy like pink flamingos or cartoon characters.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%207.jpg

Traditional Business: Women

  1. Wear a button-down blouse. Look for silk, knit, or cotton blouses. You can choose a fitted shirt with a collar in a standard color, like white, or you can opt for a more stylish design in a brighter color. Avoid distracting patterns or low-cut blouses, however. Your top can be stylish, but it should also be conservative.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%208.jpg
  2. Look for a knee-length skirt. Pencil skirts are the most traditional, but other simple cuts, like A-line, may also work. Look for subdued colors like black, gray, or dark brown, and avoid slits that extend above the knee.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%209.jpg
  3. Consider dress slacks. Dress slacks often have a glossy lining along the interior and may either have pleated or plain fronts. Look for trouser cut slacks in subdued colors like black or gray.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2010.jpg
  4. Try on a suit jacket. Jackets are optional for women, but they can go a long way in creating a polished, professional look.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2011.jpg
  5. Wear polished flats or low heels. Opt for closed-toe pumps and skip strappy heels and peep toes.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2012.jpg
  6. Break out the nylon pantyhose. You may be able to get away without it in some offices, but it is a part of most traditional business styles.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2013.jpg
  7. Keep your jewelry simple. A conservative bracelet or simple earrings can keep you looking your best, but too much sparkle looks inappropriate.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2014.jpg
  8. Apply light make-up. Only wear enough to smooth out your skin. It should not be noticeable.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2015.jpg
  9. Skip the perfume. Strong scents can be over-powering in a confined office space.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2016.jpg

Business Casual: Men

  1. Look for pressed cotton shirts in solid colors or subtle patterns. A little color is appropriate here, but avoid anything too bright or flashy. Polo-style shirts and knit pullover sweaters are also appropriate.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2017.jpg
  2. Break out the khakis. Your khakis should be high quality, and you must keep them pressed and wrinkle-free. Microfiber and gabardine pants also work well.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2018.jpg
  3. Wear leather loafers on your feet. Oxfords and other dressy lace-up shoes are not necessary here, but your shoes should still be in good shape. You should still avoid sneakers, which are too casual for mainstream business casual.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2019.jpg
  4. Avoid white socks. Black socks still look best if you plan on wearing black shoes, but other colors, like tan or brown, may coordinate better with light khaki pants and brown shoes. White socks generally look out of place, however.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2020.jpg
  5. Throw on a tie or leave it off. At this point, ties are mostly optional. You may also be able to get away with a brighter, bolder pattern, but you should skip anything that looks questionable.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2021.jpg
  6. Consider a sports coat or blazer. These, too, are also optional. If you decide to wear some type of outerwear, a blazer is a little more casual and a better fit for business casual than a traditional wool suit jacket.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2022.jpg

Business Casual: Women

  1. Select a nice blouse. It can be a button-down or pull-over style, but it should still look fitted and keep your cleavage hidden. Knit and cotton blouses work well, but most materials will be fine as long as the blouse itself is cut in a flattering style.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2023.jpg
  2. Throw on a cardigan. Suit jackets may look a little too dressy for business casual settings, but a fitted cardigan in a nice material can keep you looking appropriately clean-cut.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2024.jpg
  3. Skip the blouse and cardigan and head straight for the pull-over sweaters. Fitted knit sweaters can look feminine and professional at the same time, but you should avoid seasonal patterns and oversized sweaters.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2025.jpg
  4. Look for a knee-length skirt in a wool or cotton blend. Pencil and A-line skirts still work best here, but you have more freedom to play with color and pattern than you have for a traditional business dress code.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2026.jpg
  5. Consider a dress. There are a wide variety of office-appropriate dresses available on the market. In general, you should look for one with a knee-length skirt and a neckline that does not expose any cleavage. Opt for solid colors and simple patterns, and look for structured materials that give your style shape and form.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2027.jpg
  6. Opt for khakis or wool trousers if you dislike skirts. Stick with trouser-style legs and avoid skinny styles that taper off below the knee. Dark corduroy pants may also work for many offices, but you should wait until you have a firm grasp of the office dress code before attempting it.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2028.jpg
  7. Look for leather flats or low heels. You can play with color some, but you should still avoid shimmery metallic shoes or sexy, strappy designs. Closed-toe shoes still work best.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2029.jpg
  8. Keep your accessories to a minimum. A belt across your blouse or a simple pendant necklace can look fashionable without going over the top.Dress%20at%20a%20New%20Job%20Step%2030.jpg


Things You’ll Need

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