While performance is key to succeeding at your new job, so is presentation. Your style reflects who you are, which is why it’s important to be mindful of what you wear and how you wear it. With these helpful style suggestions you’ll be prepared to put your best foot forward (in your best shoes, of course) for your first day or your first pitch.
The scenario: You’re an entrepreneur
Owning your own business and being your own boss means first impressions matter that much more. It’s all about the pitch, so your outfit should help sell your personality while reflecting your professionalism, too.
The problem: Your budget’s limited – especially if you’re just starting out.
The solution: Invest in versatile staples – owning just a few can provide you with a plethora of outfit options.
- A black blazer. Ensure it’s tailored for your body type.
- Button-ups. White, black and pinstripes are always in fashion.
- Light knits. They’re great on their own and even better when worn over a collared shirt.
- Fitted khakis and dress pants. Like a blazer, fit is paramount, so ensure they’re well-hemmed.
The problem: You’re always on the go – from pitches to meetings and everywhere in between.
The solution: Opt for functional footwear that’s also fashionable.
- Slip-on dress shoes. Shoelaces can easily come undone, so spare yourself a slip or a trip with slip-ons.
- Low pumps. Always a fool-proof way to command attention, just be sure you can walk in them first!
- Sneakers. Depending on your field (and your personal style), this type of footwear scores top marks for comfort every time.
The problem: To underdress or overdress – that is the question!
The solution: Always overdress – it’s better to appear put-together than lazy.
- A blazer. Again, ensure it’s well-fitted.
- Crisp shirts. Whether that’s a button-up or a t-shirt worn beneath a blazer, make sure it’s wrinkle-free.
- Dress pants – just so long as they’re hemmed, fitted and never wrinkly, of course.
Related watch: Joe Mimran’s tips for dressing for success»
The scenario: You work in an office
When it comes to office fashion, owning just a couple of high-quality pieces can provide you with the versatility you need to conquer the boardroom ten times over.
The problem: Your office has a dress code – and there’s little room for self-expression.
The solution: Focus on the details. It’s not uncommon for corporate workplaces to have a dress code, but fret not – your personality can still shine through.
- Ties and pocket squares. This is a great opportunity to show a little bit of personality with a subtle pattern or even a subtle hue.
- Socks. Like ties and pocket squares, opt for a pattern, a print or a colour.
- Accessories and jewelry. Watches, glasses, briefcases and purses are a great way to polish off your look.
The problem: Suits are never a perfect fit.
The solution: Have your suits tailored – the payoff is well worth it. In fact, you can even go so far as to build a relationship with your local tailor to ensure the most consistent fit.
- Blazers. Remember to have a proper fit around your waist and have the sleeves at a good length.
- Pants. Ensure they’re hemmed and the legs are well-fitted.
- Button-ups. These shouldn’t be billowy – otherwise, things can look sloppy (think of Jerry Seinfeld’s puffy shirt).
The problem: Your wardrobe lacks versatility.
The solution: Invest in just a few, high-quality pieces and splurge on the extras.
- Blazers and pants – these are the items of which you only need a few.
- Shirts, shoes, accessories – these are the extras. Pending your office’s dress code, here’s where you can have a little bit of fun with patterns and prints that will look just as good during work hours as they will after hours.
The scenario: You work at a startup
Depending on the industry, startup fashion offers a little more flexibility. Think comfy casual – sans track suits and yoga pants.
The problem: You work long hours. When it comes to startups, nine-to-five is far from the norm.
The solution: Get comfortable with being comfortable.
- Khakis or dark jeans. Here, a belt can really help pull your look together without being over-the-top.
- T-shirts – just make sure they’re well-pressed.
The problem: You’re unaccustomed to startup casual (think hoodies and graphic t-shirts).
The solution: Ease into it.
- T-shirts. Start with a basic but well-fitted shirt – just remember to keep it tucked into your pants!
- Blazers. You can still wear one – just pair it with a t-shirt instead of a button-up.
- Sneakers. Forget neon or other bright hues – opt for the classics, like a pair of black and white low tops.
The problem: There are two extremes – dressy or casual – so where do you fit in? When “anything goes” it can be difficult to pinpoint what constitutes appropriate work wear.
The solution: Dress in a way that feels true to you. Whether that’s a button-up and bow tie or jeans and joggers, this is your chance to make a statement, so make a lasting impression!