How to Dress Professionally
for Your First Office Job

See also: Positive Body Image

When you start your first office job, you likely want to make a good impression. Even if a dress code is outlined in your contract, it’s not always easy to know what to wear or what will make you look professional.

You will be off to an excellent start if you take on board some of the following advice:

Professionally dressed woman.

Make Sure Your Clothing and Accessories Fit Well

Even before you pair accessories with clothing and make sure your colors match, take the time to ensure your clothing and any accessories like jewelry fit you well. If you’re wearing trousers, you should be able to fit two fingers inside the waistband. They should also be snug enough so that you can tuck in a shirt but not tight to the point of discomfort.

The seams of your shirts should have a small amount of ‘give’ while not looking baggy, and you may even see the value in learning how to tell if a ring is too big. If it is too big, it will slide right off your finger when you dangle your hands with your fingers pointing toward the floor. If it’s too small, it won’t slide to the bottom of your finger with ease once it’s past the knuckle.

Iron Your Clothing

Wrinkles on a shirt or even a pair of trousers can stand out for all the wrong reasons. To prevent making a poor first impression on day one of your office job, make sure you iron your iron-friendly clothing before making your way into the office.

Fortunately, this process is fast and easy. Simply lay out your clothing flat on an ironing board, run your iron slowly across the fabric with a degree of firmness, and smooth out wrinkles as you find them. Alternatively, consider using a dry cleaning or ironing service to save time and ensure your clothing is in excellent condition from day one.

Opt for Classic Accessories

Letting your personality shine through is important in any workplace when you want your colleagues to know the real you. However, taking a conservative approach when you’re learning the ropes at your new place of business may be in your best interest.

Many different accessories can be simple yet statement pieces while tying an outfit together beautifully, such as a ring, a necklace, a handbag or briefcase, and a watch. With time and by learning more about the office culture, you may be able to add more decorative pieces at a later date.

Don’t Be Afraid of Color

You may have worn neutral colors like black, white, beige, and cream to your job interview, but that doesn’t mean you can’t inject any color into your wardrobe once you are newly hired. Add some personality to your outfits with colorful accessories, vibrant pairs of shoes, striking ties, or gorgeous lipstick shades.

You may still prefer neutral colors for your outfit, but there’s no reason why you can’t show your new colleagues the real you with color.

If you know you want to add color to your outfits but you’re unsure which colors to choose, consider making your decisions based on color psychology. Yellow can represent youth, optimism, and happiness, while red is the color of confidence, intensity, and passion. You might even consider orange for its warmth, fun, and energy, or green for how it inspires hope, success, and healing.

Don’t Forget Your Comfort

Sometimes, you can be so busy focusing on which outfit in your closet will look the most professional that you can forget to choose one that allows you to be comfortable. It’s possible to strike a balance between the two.

Make sure you can sit down and walk comfortably in the clothing you choose and that seams, tags, buttons and accessories do not irritate your skin or become a distraction.

Your shoes are also a worthwhile consideration. Ensure they are clean and tidy yet comfortable to walk in and wear for an entire standard working day. If you’re unsure whether something will be as comfortable as you think it is, wear it at home first. If it proves at all irritating, it may not be suitable for an office environment.

Get Professional Help

Landing your first office job can be exciting, especially when you’re eager to put your administrative or other skills to good use in a professional environment. However, as you may have never worked in an office before, you may not believe you’ve got the right clothing or fashion knowledge to look as professional as you might have hoped.

In that case, consider asking professionals for help. Visit your favorite clothing store and try on different garments with the help of a shop assistant. You may even like to visit tailors to ensure the perfect fit. When you’re unsure about how accessories like rings fit, you may even be able to visit jewelers to assist with your sizing requirements.

Wear Clean and Tidy Footwear

Shoes may only be one small component of your entire outfit, but they can stand out the most when they don’t match your outfit or aren’t clean and tidy. While you’re putting thought into the suits, trousers, shirts, and skirts you wear, make sure your footwear factors into the equation.

Keep them clean with shoe cleaning products like darkeners, whiteners, and cleansers, and avoid wearing shoes with scuff marks. If you notice discoloration, imperfections, or stains that you can’t remove, reconsider making them part of your office attire.

Feel Confident

One of the most important things to remember when learning how to dress professionally for your first office job is that you should feel confident. Above all else, you should feel entirely happy with your outfit and how it makes you feel.

Sometimes, you can get caught up in making sure you follow the dress code to the letter that you forget about being yourself and letting your personality shine through. While it’s vital to appear clean, tidy, and professional, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your self-esteem and sense of worth.

Starting a new job can be an exciting experience, especially as you get to pick out a new wardrobe and dress to impress. If you’re not yet confident in your office style or the best clothing to wear, some of these tips above may be helpful as you’re browsing the racks of your local clothing stores.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.

The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

About the Author

James Allison oversees content writing services at Globex Outreach.