These days, you never really know what to expect when you start a new job in a new office. Not only do you need to learn to navigate the unfamiliarity of the space itself, and get to know the people, but it’s also vital that you know how to present yourself best. They say that all it takes is 90 seconds for someone you meet to decide if they like you or not. It’s all based on that super crucial first impression. Another common thing you’ll come across is that every office has its dress code. In any office dress code scenario, we’ve got the dos and don’ts for all genders, so you never have to stress about what you’re wearing.
Wear Clothes That Fit
Wearing clothes that fit especially applies to any of the latest oversized, too-large or too-small clothing trends that the fashion world has innovated. Avoid wearing anything that isn’t well fitted to work. Shirt too big, or jacket too small? Don’t wear it in the office. If your clothes don’t fit right, this could distract your colleagues when you’re working with them. As well, it could leave a negative impression that you don’t put care into presenting yourself in an elegant, respectable way. This tip also applies to accessories, like glasses or belts.
Keep Your Bag Clean
This particular tip is probably a bit unexpected, but believe it or not, the cleanliness of your bag matters. Whether you take a knapsack, purse, or briefcase into the office with you every day, keep it clean. Throw away all of those receipts and bits of paper you got lying around in there, and make sure you do an excellent re-organizing session now and then. You never know when someone could get a glimpse of the contents, from colleagues to a client. At the end of the day, if everything is messy, that says a lot about you as a worker.
Avoid Strong Scents
An easy rule to break, this is important because you don’t want to be labeled as “that guy or girl” who wears way too much cologne or perfume. Every office has at least one of those people. When you spray on that morning scent, be careful of how much you apply. If you’re not sure how loud it is, ask a friend or loved one to be honest with you. Another top tip – wear perfume or cologne that smells refreshing but is subtle. Don’t go too wild in the workplace.
Take Care of Your Footwear
People notice shoes. This is why the fashion industry is overwhelmed by varieties of footwear. In the office, you want to make sure the type of shoes you wear is indicative of you as a put-together, reliable employee. Do not wear shoes that are in dire condition, stained, or scuffed up. These are massive don’ts in any business dress code. Instead, depending on the formality of the workplace you are in, wear shoes that say you’re polished and presentable.
Bet this tip comes as a bit of a shock! Did you know that colors have been linked to affecting moods? Based on that knowledge, it should no longer surprise you to know that colors can convey messages you want to send in an office setting. We’re not talking outright, direct points, but rather the colors you wear can influence how others perceive you. Darker colors for one, send out the impression of authority. Avoid lighter colors in your clothing if you’re giving a presentation or vying for a promotion.
Be Bold, but Demure
A pretty evident theme in this article is that what you wear conveys a message of who you are in the workplace. One big thing to consider here is that there is a level of appropriateness you need to abide by in an office setting. Don’t wear anything too short, provocative, or exposing. While fashion is all about freedom of self-expression, in a work environment you want people to remember you for what you did and said, not what you wore.
Dry Your Hair
Another sly technique, but a relevant one. How many times have you seen someone rush into the office with damp hair? Arriving to work with freshly-showered hair says that you had poor time management and didn’t put enough time into looking professional that morning. Even if that’s not the case, and you’re merely someone who would rather not blow-dry because it damages hair follicles, wake up early enough so that your hair can adequately air dry before you reach the office in the morning.
Watch Your Watch
Say, what? A career expert at LinkedIn, Nicole Williams told Executive Style about the importance of wearing a good, sharp watch in the workplace. In Williams’ etiquette classes, she says the first accessory that both men and women notice is a person’s watch. A watch is a common answer because of how it’s displayed openly on the body. So, Williams advises that this accessory is one you want to get that matches your style, overall workplace dress, and isn’t too overstated.
Be Careful with Accessories
Speaking of accessories, another common mistake in workplace attire is something all of us do at one point: over-accessorizing. Too many bracelets, rings, earrings, or other accessories in the like, can take away from your full outfit. When it comes to anything that’s not a core part of the look, make sure they don’t overpower the clothes themselves. A good thing to remember? Accessories are meant to compliment the look, not take away from it. Especially in a work-setting, avoid anything that screams, “too much!”
Get to Know Your Office Dress Code
What you wear should depend on the setting you’re in. The office itself should have a dress code policy in the employee handbook that we recommend you read. In there is outlined the absolute rules about what you’re allowed to wear and what you are not. If your office is somehow missing these rules, base it on the general industry you’re in. Business formal, dressy casual, or casual looks tend to relate to the space the company sits in. That shouldn’t be too hard to find out. If all else fails, take to Google and find some in-office photos!