Work Dress Code for Newbies

Your first day on the job is a little different from the first day of classes in college. You can’t walk in wearing your best Fresh Prince outfit, scoping out the room for the most attractive person to sit next to. Although if that was the game plan for the first day of school, you kind of got something right. You have to be well dressed in the proper attire, understanding the work place dress code.

A lot of companies still have written guidelines for employee attire, at varying degrees of strictness. Typically, your first day is more of a “getting to know you” day and the decisions you’ll have to make won’t be too difficult. But being that it’s your first big boy/girl job you probably haven’t had to deal with many of these decisions before now.

In previous posts, we talked about the documents that you would be completing. In this post, we’re going to focus on the proper work attire for your first day of work and beyond.

The attire at most workplaces can fall in one of two categories: business professional and business casual. Of course there are some companies that are an exception to this. Especially newer companies ran by millennials with a little more relaxed, casual dress code. Nonetheless, if you’re a fashionable person, you can maintain a level of style regardless of your new jobs dress code. Check out some of these fits for each dress code.



This may be obvious but still I must say, make sure that you pants match with the jacket. You can’t go wrong with a navy, charcoal or black suit wool or wool blend suit.


Stick with the Long sleeve shirts cotton or cotton blend shirts. A nice solid colored polo/collared shirt will suffice if you going business casual or casual


Pants should be fitted. Not too tight not too loose.


I’d stay away from clip-ons. If you don’t know how to tie a tie, there are several tutorials on YouTube. The tie should complement you suit. Ties should reach the top of your belt buckle. Also, consider some quality ties: those made from 100% silk, stain resistant and don’t wrinkle. Stick to geometric, diagonal stripe, small to medium dotted patterns, or solid a tie


The old school way of doing things require socks to match the color of your shoes and slacks. But the new fashion trend is colorful designed socks. The important thing that they cover or reach mid calf. Exposing skin due to short, especially sports cotton socks, is not professional.


 The best material is leather.  

Business Casual For Newbies

Jacket/Coat: Sports Coat

Tie: Ties are not a necessity

Shirts: collared/dress shirt

Pants: trousers, dress pants

Shoes: loafers

Business Professional

Jacket/Coat: Suit Jacket

Tie: neck or bow-tie tie

Shirts: dress/button up shirt

Pants: trousers that match Suit Jacket

Shoes: leather loafers


As a male, I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert in women’s fashion or clothing. But I do listen and speak to a lot of intelligent and fashionable professional women. I also did a little research online (just in case I misinterpreted my conversations with these fashionable women). With that, this section of the post will be structured a little differently.

The Essentials

  • A black pencil skirt
  • A blouse
  • Gray, Black, Navy or Tan trousers
  • Black pumps or flats



You’ll want to get pants or skirt with a matching jacket in navy, charcoal gray or black. The best material is pure wool or a wool blend.


Typically, a long sleeve cotton shirt will do if you’re going for the professional look. However, short sleeves are acceptable as well.


Through all the women I’ve spoken to and all the research done online, the most repeated word was “covered.” Whatever you wear make sure it keeps you covered. Blouse tops can be button ups, turtle necks, shells, or other fashionable blouses.


Skirts were another piece of clothing that more time and emphasis was spent discussing. The overall, consensus was skirts should, obviously, be a modest length, no shorter than 2 inches above the knee. Make sure the skirt is appropriate for walking, climbing stairs and it should still cover your thighs when sitting. A slit in the skirt is appropriate if not they’re too high. As for how the skirt should fit for professional wear, it should be fitting but not too clingy or tight and not flowing.


Comfort was the word for shoes. Wear comfortable ones. Heels should be no higher than two inches. In a professional setting, pumps or flats are preferred. However, open toed shoes are acceptable for a more casual look.

Business Casual

Jacket/Coat: Jackets aren’t necessary. But a sweater can be worn with a nice button up shirt underneath

Shirts: button up shirt or blouse

Pants/skirts: lacks or a modest skirt

Shoes: flats or pumps

Business Professional

Jacket/Coat: Jacket matching slacks or skirt

Shirts: button up shirt or blouse

Pants/skirts: Slacks or a modest skirt

Shoes: pumps or closed toe plain heels

Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to check with someone if you aren’t exactly sure about the appropriate work attire. And remember,it’s always better to be overdressed than under dressed in this particular situation.

Modern Work Dress Code

Each company have their own dress policies. The Muse have a great post on the evolution of the work dress code. It also have some stylish examples of what to wear

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