Workplace fashion

It’s that time of the year again – job hunting season. Though most of you are sprucing up your resumes and CVs, maybe it’s time you spruced up your wardrobe.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about first impressions. What you wear on a first impression makes a big impact – and you’d be hard pressed to find a more important first impression than the big interview or the first day on the job.

Whether you’re going for a post-grad career or just a summer job, wardrobe matters. Luckily, I’m here to give you the dos and don’ts of dressing for the office.

Saying that a job interview is intimidating would be an understatement. When you’re not rehearsing your strong handshake or crafting the perfect response to the tough questions, you’re freaking about what you’ll wear.

My best advice is to get a feel for the employer. Playing it safe is the best option, but do your research – depending on the workplace, creativity might be encouraged.

The classics are a fail-safe option. A pair of khakis (black or tan) and a smart button-up shirt is a perfect look for guys and girls. For girls who want a little pop of colour, a skinny belt in a bright shade is fun, but subtle. Brave guys can wear a colourful tie – just make sure it coordinates with the rest of your outfit.

So lets just say your fashion finesse pays off, and you get the job. What happens next?

Office dress codes can be strict. It’s a good idea to show up overdressed for your first day on the job. You’re there for four months (or more) – you want to start off on the right foot.

Speaking of feet, we need to talk about office footwear. My advice? Stick with flat shoes. High heels are nice, but only for a few hours. When you’re working a nine-to-five job, you want to be professional and comfortable.

The same goes for the guys. Make sure your shoes are smart, but also make sure they’ve been broken in. You can only get away with bare feet under your desk for so long.

One of the downsides of working in an office is that you can only wear denim once a week (thank god for casual Friday). That goes for jeans – blue or otherwise – and denim shirts.

Girls – you might be able to get away with wearing black skinnies to the office, but proceed with extreme caution. I still recommend investing in a good pair of black pants.

Though subtlety is good for the interview, it need not apply once you get the job. Though button-down shirts will likely become your office uniform, don’t be afraid of patterns.

Dressing for a “real job” can be intimidating at first. But with a few simple tips and tricks (and a few trips to The Gap), you’ll be dressing like a pro.


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