What To Wear On The First Day Of Work?

Congratulations, you've landed the job! Call your mom, grab your friends and go out and celebrate...then, start thinking about what you're going to wear.

The first day at a new job is about making a good impression and validating the fact that you are a well-dressed, responsible new hire. We've asked five experts to share their styling tips for women starting a new job.

What are some general style tips for the first day of work? 

Stacy Gatto, cofounder of First Seven Consulting, specialising in workwear wardrobe selection:

Day one of a new job is critical for so many reasons. You're going to be meeting colleagues and clients for the first time and the impression you make on them will last, so you better make sure it's a good one! What you wear and how you present yourself are key components of that first impression.

If you've been through a couple rounds of interviews at your new company, you have a distinct advantage because you've been exposed to the company and their culture. You've also observed what other people have been wearing. Take this knowledge and let it influence your wardrobe choice. If your interview has been virtual, then you should do a bit of research and see if you can get a sense of what would be appropriate.  

These general tips are relevant for all office environments, from super casual to business formal:

• Make sure you're physically comfortable and confident in whatever you choose. If you're uncomfortable with your outfit choice, for whatever reason, that will show. If you're not confident in what you're wearing, that will come across too, and you won't be presenting your best self.

• It should go without saying that each piece must be in impeccable shape (no pulls, scuffs, stains, etc.) and that everything must fit properly.  

• Keep your day one outfit relatively simple. You'll have time to push the envelope and showcase more of your personal style later.    

Roxanne Carne, personal stylist and blogger:

When it comes to first day of work outfits, my recommendation for women is to always go classic! Why? Because classic clothing always look great so you’ll never go wrong and on your first day, you should keep things simple! You’ll make lots of first impressions on that day so you want a look that shows who you are without being overshadowed by the clothes you’re wearing.

In general, you should wear an outfit that’s comfortable, neat, and well-tailored. I also recommend staying with neutrals and solids on your first day. While bold colors and patterns can be fun, your look shouldn’t be too busy on this important day. Keep in mind though, that you can show some personality and round out your look with some smart accessories!

Saskia C, fashion and career blogger at My Kind Of Monday:

When you start a job it’s important that you make the right first impression. That means dressing in something that is suitable to your new working environment, whether that is somewhere highly professional or more laid-back. If you had an interview at the new office, think back to what your colleagues were wearing and dress accordingly. 

Jane Scudder, coach and workplace & leadership consultant:

A good baseline indicator of how formal or casual the office may be can be taken from your interview. Though, even if you spotted some to-be colleagues in jeans, my advice is to elevate your look, even if just for day 1.

That said, unless you know the office is very formal I recommend my clients and students go with a polished look versus overly formal.

Can you suggest some practical outfit ideas for women starting on a new job?

Veronica Wendy, creator of a women's evening wear brand J'adore Vee:

I would recommend wearing basics and adding your own personal style with accessories. A white button down oxford shirt and a pair of slim cut dress pants to keep the look classy. To really dress it up, add a pair of basic black patent leather pumps for some style points. Jewelry can really make your outfit stand out from the rest. Depending on the season, adding larger, brighter or shinier statement pieces may tie up your outfit. A pair of studded diamond earrings with a larger statement necklace will complement each other.

Statement pieces are great conversation starters as well, especially if there are other women in the office, it will easily break the ice on your first day of work. Putting more thought into jewelry and accessories can make what seems like a traditional outfit more vibrant. 

Saskia: A blazer is always a hit as it can be used to dress up any outfit and can always be taken off if you feel like you overdressed. Pair it with a dress and heels or trousers and simple top – something you feel comfortable and confident in. 

Jane: My go-to if I'm meeting a new client or speaking at a new firm or class? A blazer with a blousey top underneath, narrow slacks, comfortable heels, and a bag large enough for a laptop but one that I am confident and comfortable carrying around all day. Throw in some essentials like powder and a great lipstick and you'll be set!

What should one wear on the first day of work in a business casual office?

Roxanne: In a business casual office, you have some options. If you want to keep things simple, wearing a well-fitted sheath dress that hits right above the knee is a great option. This type of dress is flattering on most women and there’s not a lot of fuss around wearing one. You can opt for a dress with a small capped sleeve, or if the dress is sleeveless, pair it with a cropped cardigan in a complementary color (just in case). Add interesting minimalist jewelry for a smart, sleek look. For shoes, you can go with a heeled pump or sandal to complete the look.

If you prefer to wear pants, choose well-tailored trouser pants paired with a comfortable knit top that either has a mid-length or ¾ length sleeve. An opera-length necklace or bracelet/bangle would be a nice addition to the look. Wear a sensible pump for comfort while adding a nice, classic touch.

Saskia: If you are just starting a job it can be tricky to find the right balance in a business casual office. For your first day, I would recommend going more business than casual. A smart pair of trousers with a simple blouse and flats can be a good first outfit until you find your style.

Stacy: In a business casual office, lean more towards the 'business' end of the spectrum than the 'casual' end, for day one. Avoid denim and anything overly trendy (again, there's time for that later). You can't go wrong with a well fitting sheath dress in a solid neutral (gray, navy, black) and a classic heel. If you're not a dress person, opt for a straight leg trouser and a well fitting blazer.

What about casual offices?

Roxanne: For more casual office environment, I recommend wearing dark washed jeans with a shell top, comfortable blazer and a fun statement necklace. For shoes, ballet flats can be a good option here, but you can opt for a classic pump too! This is an easy look to pull off and has a subtle hi-lo mix that’s perfect for office casual looks.

Stacy: If your office is casual, then denim is probably OK. Avoid distressed styles, and again, you can't go wrong with a great blazer and heel. 

In all cases, avoid anything distracting; jangling jewelry and anything that's ill-fitting. You want your new colleagues to focus on and remember you, not your outfit.

Women's Beige Pea Coat, White and Navy Gingham Dress Shirt, Navy Skinny Pants, Tan Leopard Leather Loafers
This laid-back pairing of a beige pea coat and navy skinny pants is extremely easy to put together without a second thought, helping you look amazing and ready for anything without spending a ton of time searching through your wardrobe. A pair of tan leopard leather loafers acts as the glue that pulls your look together.View Details

What NOT to wear on the first day of a new job?

Roxanne: On your first day, you should stay away from tight-fitting (or ill-fitting) clothing, plunging necklines, mini skirts, graphic tees, loud colors, busy patterns, and shabby shoes. 

Saskia: No matter where you work, you don’t want to come into a new job looking like a sloppy mess. Whatever you choose to wear, make sure it’s clean and ironed. Other than that, I would stay away from open toed shoes!

Final thoughts?

Jane: getting and starting a new job can be difficult and stressful enough, don't let your outfit add any anxiety. Go with what makes you comfortable and will let you focus on the task at hand – rocking your new role!

Stacy: Day one is the first of many to come. The interactions you have and the impressions you make on this first day will set the stage for what's to come. Dress purposefully, appropriately and knock 'em dead!

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