Congratulations on your new role! Starting a new job can come with a lot of questions, and nowadays, the question of what to wear to work is more prominent than ever.
As there is less formality and hierarchy at work than there was a few years ago casual offices are increasingly common. With that comes a plethora of new questions. What do I wear? How casual is too casual? Is it okay to wear shorts in the summer? What about sandals?
Wear What You Feel Confident In
We can’t stress this enough, if you’re starting a new a job then the absolute most important factor that you will get judged on is how well you are able to do your job. Although it’s unlikely that your clothes will be too restrictive for you to type on a computer, wearing clothes that you’re not comfortable in may make you feel less confident if you are tasked with presenting your ideas in front of a group.
Although you may be trying new things and it takes time for your confidence to develop in a new role, don’t let your choice of clothes hold you back!
I dress in my own ‘uniform’ or my own dress code, which reflects my personal method and work ethic.” - Giorgio Armani
Think Casual Night Out
Although you may be in a workplace with ‘no dress code’ that still doesn’t mean you don’t want to look your best. When it comes to dressing for work, apply the same logic you would as dressing for a relaxed night out. Whether it’s a bite to eat in a casual restaurant or going out to a bar with a friend you will no doubt want to look nice.
Wear something that you’d be proud of representing you on social media
Nowadays modern offices are a hive of activity. Whether it’s your first day, first week or first month you can expect that someone will ask you to take a picture to add to a company ID, website, or even social media pages. Especially bear this in mind if you work for a creative or start-up company. You never know if someone is going to ask to take a picture or video of you and it’s important to be camera-ready.
Dress up a dress down look with some accessories
If you come from a more formal environment then it may seem somewhat unnatural to go to a workplace where no one wears anything smarter than a t-shirt. If you still want to keep a more formal style then a great idea can be to add a few extra bits to still feel at your best, whether its a simple scarf, a blazer over a t-shirt or even some jewellery to really feel like yourself.
Shoes are also a point of contention for casual office workers. Formal shoes can be seen as being a bit OTT in such a relaxed environment but equally, so can getting your toes out and wearing sandals. The rule here is to use your judgement, try and err somewhere in the middle initially, clean sneakers are a great start, as are slip-ons, boots and loafers. Sandals should be okay provided they are on the smarter side, but you do not want to be the first person to wear flip flops as this may not be appropriate for an office environment.
Mix Prints and Colours for a Fun but Professional Look
Just because you’re in a workplace doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun with what you wear. Prints, textures, and patterns are all a great way to express your personality. Feel free to wear salmon khakis over beige ones or patterned or printed tops instead of boring black or white ones.
Little touches like this are a great way of operating in the space between ‘business casual’ and ‘too casual’ which is what most offices are trying to find these days.
Wear Workplace Appropriate Workout Clothes
With the new ranges of refined athletic apparel that companies are releasing it is now becoming more and more acceptable to wear workout clothes to the office.
Despite this, it’s still important to apply common sense to your outfit choices, anything that’s too tight or too revealing may not be appropriate in an office environment. The most important thing is to do yourself and your coworkers a favour by only wearing clean gym gear - no one wants to work next to someone who smells sweaty all day.
First Impressions are Still as Important as Ever
If the vagueness of ‘casual dress code’ still confuses you then you’re not alone. It’s tricky to gauge the dress code without having been to the office before. If possible search the company website and social media and take notice of what they wear. Of course, bear in mind that you are still interviewing for a company so aim to dress on the smarter side but still without wearing your business best.
If you’re still unsure
If ever you’re unsure then make sure to overdress. You are going into a place of work and the last thing that you would want is to wear a t-shirt on your first day when everyone else is wearing button-up shirts. Despite the advice given in this blog, it’s important to gauge what the mood is in the office. Certain companies, and indeed, certain teams within those companies often have their own unique dress codes so follow their level. Ultimately, if you’re still unsure then there’s no harm in asking.