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How to dress for your first job

You first day in the office can be daunting. Learn to dress for the occasion

That first day in the office can be daunting. It’s your first step into the world of gainful employment, and you need to be well-dressed. First impressions can be everything in the office place, so roll up in a pair of jeans or Hawaiian shirt at your own peril. Instead, here are a couple of tips to get you started.

We spoke to Grace Donnelly, from job and recruitment agency Reed, to ask her professional opinion on what threads you should be throwing on for your first day. “Knowing what to wear to your new job can be a tough call to make,” she told us. “Should you go formal, casual, or somewhere in-between?”

How to dress for your first job

If you’re unsure, send a friendly email

“To avoid any awkward situations, it’s always a good idea to send a friendly email asking about the dress-code before you start – either to the company’s HR team, or your interviewer – who you’ve probably had previous communications with.”

How to dress for your first job

If you’re still in doubt, remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed

There’s nothing worse than having to hide your trainers from your co-workers all day, so when in doubt, dress up. Even if that means throwing a tie on, you can always sneak to the bathroom to take it off if you’re the only person wearing one. Otherwise, stick with neutral colours, clean cuts and a smart pair of chinos.

How to dress for your first job

Smart casual is always a safe bet

“Offices continue to move away from shirt, suit and tie,” says Donnelly, “with many now substituting traditional office attire with ‘smart casual’. Play it safe on your first day with a crisp white shirt, chinos and brogues or boots.”

How to dress for your first job

There’s no list of must-have garments, but there are some you should avoid

“Remember, it’s important to keep things professional. Avoid flip-flops, sandals and crocs. Shorts can also be a problem, as most employers don’t allow their staff to wear them. The bottom line is: dress like you’re ready for work, not like you’re ready for the beach.”

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