Young men who are entering the adult professional workforce for the first time sometimes have difficulty figuring out how to dress. In addition to dressing appropriately for the job at hand, a new employee has to choose clothing in accordance with his age and rank.
Overdressing for the job can actually reflect as poorly upon the young man as dressing sloppily does. It makes him look arrogant or as if he is above his peers. Respecting one’s rank is an important part of the corporate culture.
What to Avoid
T-shirts should never be worn to work. Jeans are unacceptable as well. Studies show that those who exude success are often rewarded with it. An employee who hopes to rise up through the company ranks should not appear to take his employment for granted.
Khaki pants are acceptable at some workplaces, but they should not be worn at a new job until the employee is sure that khakis are acceptable. Even then, he should hold off on introducing khakis into his wardrobe for a few weeks. He would not want to negate a positive first impression with a quick decline into apparent complacency. Polo shirts are also to be avoided initially for the same reasons.
How to Dress for a New Job
Hopefully, the employee took a good look around the office during his interview. This is the best way to get a glimpse into the company’s unique culture. He should do his best to approximate the best-dressed person of his age that is already employed there. If he was unable to sufficiently observe his future coworkers, he should err on the side of simplicity by wearing a plain button-down shirt with a pair of black slacks.
A sweater vest may be worn over the shirt and can be removed if deemed inappropriate. A casual blazer can also add formality to a simple outfit. Ties are no longer strictly necessary for young employees, but it never hurts to wear one.
This too can be removed if it seems too out of step with the general dress code of the office. It is important to appear modest and to fit in. Anyone who seems to be courting attention early on will be regarded with suspicion. Employers often wrongly assume that an employee who dresses above his rank is not willing to let his work speak for itself.
Shopping on a Budget
Sticking with plain black slacks allows one to get by on two or three pairs of pants until more can be purchased. Each pair can be worn a few times in between washes as long as they have not gotten dirty.
A week’s worth of button-down shirts in various pale colors will not make co-workers think that the new employee is always wearing the same clothes. Sweater vests and blazers can be added in rotations to further create the illusion of having a wardrobe full of work-friendly clothing.
Shoes cannot be overlooked. A recent study proves that people can make accurate judgments about others just by looking at their shoes. One high-quality pair of loafers made out of black or brown leather will convey the proper impression to employers and co-workers.