How To Dress For Success At Your New Job

August 15, 2012

“You’re hired!” says your new boss.

Aren’t those two of the greatest words in business?

All your hard work has paid off. You networked like crazy, nailed the interviews and, now, you have an opportunity for a fresh start.

There is lots to do before your first day, including figuring out what in the world you’re going to wear on the job. You gave them a glimpse of how smart you are! Now you need smart office outfits to reinforce the message. Don’t panic!

The best way to dress for success at your new job is to have a wardrobe plan in place. I recommend first starting out with a two-week wardrobe plan.

Why two weeks?

This gives you enough time to see first-hand what your new co-workers, boss, boss’s boss and other movers and shakers at the company are wearing. Yes, you saw what employees were wearing during the interview process, but the fact is, it’s really hard to get an authentic picture of what will and won’t work until you’re actually at the office everyday. This is true even if you were previously an intern for the company. Your perspective and the company’s perspective of you have evolved.

Two weeks are also an adequate period to consider the way you want to present yourself in your new position. Remember it is a fresh start, and fresh starts may require a fresh new style…it’s an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Great style is a powerful business tool.

Here are my tips on what to wear during those first two weeks:

Newbie: If this is your first job or you’re jumping into a new field or you’re transferring into a completely different work environment, this option is for you. The trick during the first two weeks is to buy only a few necessary staple garments (ie. black trouser pants) and accessories appropriate to your industry, environment and position and combine those with as many pieces as you can, already stocked in your closet. Spend as little as possible initially, so that you spend wisely in the long run after you’ve completed your two week evaluation period. Outfit repeats are allowed.

Old Hat, New Tricks: If your new job is a lateral move for you, then go for this option. The same principle applies as a newbie, but it’s switched. Buy just a few necessary accent pieces (ie. purple blouse) during those first few weeks and wear with staple garments you already have in your wardrobe.

At the end of two weeks, you will have gathered enough workwear information from the office to make wise purchases and truly build your influential work wardrobe. Now is the time to buy what you want and need for the rest of the current season. This is the second and final phase of your new job wardrobe plan.

But wait, you’re thinking, “Isn’t it wise to look your best from the get go?” Yes, it is, but the two-week wardrobe research period is more important. It will save you time and money, plus after you’re all done, you will return to the office with a mini-makeover and people love makeovers! Your workwear mini-makeover will not only inspire your colleagues, but it will also make them wonder what other cool tricks you have up your sleeve. You’re showing them you mean business!

When it’s time to start your new job, be confident in the fact that you have a successful work wardrobe plan in place. Trust me it works!

How much emphasis do you put on your wardrobe when you start a new job? Do you think it’s important to do so?

Image credit: Weekend By MaxMara Ofridi Roll-Neck Sweater $256, MaxMara Studio Lory Herringbone Skirt $268 and MaxMara Kabir Tote $952, each available at Matches.

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  • Where is that purse from? It’s gorgeous!

  • Corporate Fashionista

    I agree! It’s also by Maxmara. I went ahead and updated the post with this info, but here is the direct link: http://www.matchesfashion.com/product/130362

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  • I think it’s critically important to pay attention to your wardrobe when starting a new job. Your new bosses and colleagues are still deciding what they think of you and you want to make sure to present yourself well. That said, you don’t want to focus solely on looking the part – you’ve got to act the part as well. I’ve had interns in the past who looked great in crisp dark suits and spiffy shoes but performed horribly! In that instance, looking so put together actually worked against them. They left the impression that the ONLY thing they cared about was fashion!

  • Ha! You are so right…the ‘package’ is intended to convey the value of what’s inside…a smart, capable woman who is passionately engaged in the commitment she has made to her job! She has to both look and walk the talk, corporate fashion may be both serious, and even sometimes fun, but it definitely is not a frivolous, empty suit or dress or pumps!