How to costume for your very first occupation

If I solid my head again to the time I joined womenswear brand name Wallis — which was my initially career, not counting Pizza Hut and the kitchens of Warwick Castle — I don’t forget the thrill, the enjoyment and the panic all mashed into just one. And, then, oh God, what on earth to don? It is an significant query to have viewed as effectively in progress of your 1st day.

Assume again to the job interview procedure: how were the interviewers dressed? Use that as your first cue. I am not suggesting you copy particularly what they had been putting on it is extra about noticing what form of apparel they had on. Was it straightforward intelligent like a newsreader (fitted tailoring, change dresses, fits, ties, blazers, pressed shirts and polished shoes)? Or quite casual (consider Mark Zuckerberg: T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies with pale denims or sweatpants with a knit and trainers)? Alternatively, maybe it was the so-referred to as “business casual”. Dark jeans, for instance, with a V-neck sweater and a shirt but no tie chinos or cotton trousers, with a shirt and cardigan, or heaps of knitwear.

You could possibly even uncover all of these workwear designs jointly in just one organization, but this does not signify you can dress just as you would like.

Preferably, request to pop in to the business ahead of you start off so that you can be launched to the staff. We from time to time do not see the environment when we are focused on an interview so this is your possibility to see what all people is carrying, and exactly where your desk is — handy for gauging the temperature. Question your line supervisor for guidance on what to dress in if you are not absolutely sure.

I truly want I’d experienced a manual on how to costume when I started in my initially task. I hope these dos and don’ts can help you navigate this interesting new commence.


  • If you ended up despatched recruitment literature or a firm brochure (this might be on their web page), examine it for gown codes or clues as to what variety of attire is anticipated. Is there a “dress down Friday”? This normally signifies a slight comforting of the dress code, alternatively than wearing the things you use to slob all around the house. Also, see if there are tips for what not to wear.

  • Be yourself and, somewhat than attempting tendencies, purpose to continue to be on the side of common — at minimum to get started with until eventually you see how the land lies. I realise this is uninteresting but it means you have a minor respite until finally you work out your groove.

  • Know the environment. Is it very hot or cold? Have a back-up merchandise in your bag in case the office is like the Sahara (or you are beside the radiator) or the air conditioning tends to make it Arctic freezing. Have a cardigan or a very long sleeved best to modify into. Like a cub scout, be organized.

Tailoring wool stretch Jackie jacket
Tailoring wool extend Jackie jacket ©
Fashionable match vacation blazer ©

  • You will probably not have a ton of money to spend so borrow, swap or prioritise obtaining just a few of model-new products if you can. I’d commit my revenue on a very good shoe, this sort of as a good loafer, brogue, slip-on coach or a low heel. Glance at Business office and John Lewis for a mix of brands at excellent price tag details, or suppliers these types of as Russell & Bromley or Oliver Sweeney. I would also commit in a tailored trouser, as you truly do get what you pay back for in tailoring. Devote as a lot as you can here: try out Reiss, Concept, Joseph or J Crew. Alternatively, try second-hand. Then you can add a tee or a shirt, a sweater, and a blazer if desired. You could call for a match — not the close of the globe as it can be broken into separates and worn in a extra smart everyday way, way too.

Fools gold chain loafer
Fools gold chain loafer © place of isles
Amara tote bag
Amara tote bag ©

  • Can you borrow a nice bag, these kinds of as an A4 sized tote, for your necessities? That manky rucksack won’t lower it, I’m scared. Consider John Lewis, Asos or Whistles for clever alternatives.

  • Approach outfits to address five times (if you’re whole time) and rotate.

  • Be presentable. This implies garments are ironed or steamed, and hung up.

  • Examine for holes, marks, or, God forbid, stains. Make certain the pieces are as immaculate as they can be. Many others recognize our clothing and you want to experience very pleased, not uncomfortable.

  • If you use make-up, continue to keep it minimum and as purely natural as probable. You can usually commence to specific your self when you are really founded.

  • Look at items healthy you nicely. If they never, you will be endlessly fiddling and sense distracted. You will need to know that, after you are dressed, you really do not have to consider about it any longer then you can focus on the remarkable new surroundings you are in.


  • Keep away from slogan tees, knits or tops. You do not want to offend anybody unnecessarily in your very first 7 days.

  • If you have several piercings, you may possibly want to take out them for the time currently being. Request if there is a policy on tattoos — some corporations are fine with them, but you may want to retain them covered.

  • Ditto severe quantities of make-up — conserve it for the weekend.

The writer is a stylist and FT columnist

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