What To Wear on Your First Day of Work

Updated June 9, 2023

As you prepare for your first day at your new job, you'll need to decide what to wear. Knowing what to wear on your first day of work can help you feel more comfortable when you arrive for day one and confident when meeting new people.

In this article, we will discuss what to wear on your first day at a new job to make a positive impression with your new coworkers.

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Why is appearance important on the first day of work?

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Your appearance on the first day at a new job is important because it’s your first opportunity to make a positive impression on your new colleagues. You want your appearance on your first day of work to tell your new colleagues that you're professional and able to perform the work the company hired you to do.

What you wear on the first day of work is also important because it impacts how comfortable and confident you look and feel. The more comfortable and confident you feel, the more likely you'll be able to focus on learning your new role and performing your best.

Related: What To Say on Your First Day at Work: 18 Tips With Examples

What to wear on the first day of your new job

What you choose to wear on the first day of your new job may vary based on the type of work you'll perform and the environment you'll work in. It's important for you to wear clothing that, at a minimum, fits into the company's established dress code. This list can help you decide what to wear on your first day of work:

1. Formal business attire

Business formal
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Business formal might include clothing choices similar to "business professional," including dark suits and ties, pantsuits, skirt suits or suit dresses. This dress code can also align with "black tie," so depending on the function, a long evening dress may be appropriate.

Shoe options include Oxfords or loafer shoes with clean lines, flats and heels. Avoid wearing brown shoes with a black ensemble. Accessorize a business formal outfit with belts, a tie clip and/or minimalist jewelry.

If you know your new company's established dress code requires employees to dress in business attire, choose clothing that falls under the formal business attire category. If you're not sure what your new company's established dress code is, it's also usually best to choose clothing from the formal business attire category. It's always better to be over-dressed on your first day than to be under-dressed. Formal business attire includes:

  • Suits: Formal business suits typically include two pieces made of matching material intended to be worn together. Business suits usually comprise either trousers and a suit jacket or a skirt and suit jacket. Some suits include a formal business dress and suit jacket.

  • Blazers: Blazers are like a suit jacket but have a slightly more casual cut than a suit jacket. You can usually identify a blazer by its naval-style metal buttons.

  • Tops: Formal business tops typically include solid-colored, button-down dress shirts with a collar.

  • Dress slacks: Dress slacks are pants made of a smooth, wool knit or blended material. Dress slacks are like formal suit trousers but have a more casual cut and trim.

  • Ties: You can wear a tie when dressing in formal business attire such as a suit. You may wear a tie with dress slacks and a formal business top with or without a blazer.

  • Dress shoes: Dress shoes are closed-toed shoes that are not a sneaker or a boot. Dress shoes for formal business attire are typically made of black or brown leather and a high polish.

Related: How To Succeed in Your New Job: First Week, 30 and 90 Days

2. Business casual attire

Business casual
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Business casual includes trousers, pencil skirts, slacks, khakis, blouses, button-down shirts, polos, sweaters and sports coats. Accessories may include simple jewelry, belts or ties. Business casual shoes include loafers, lifestyle sneakers (with leather or canvas), mules, flats, Oxfords, boots and heels.

Some companies encourage their employees to dress more comfortably and establish their dress code under the category of business casual attire. The clothing appropriate for a business casual workplace can vary based on your employer's specific guidelines. Typically, the following clothing types are appropriate for your first day of work in a company with a business casual attire dress code:

  • Polo shirts: Polo shirts have a collar and a neckline with three buttons. Polo shirts are usually short-sleeved but can also be long-sleeved and may or may not have a pocket on one side of the chest on the front of the shirt.

  • Blouses: Blouses are loose-fitting tops. They usually gather at the waist or hips and hang loosely around the other upper part of your torso.

  • Dress shoes: For business casual attire, you can wear the same dress shoes you would wear for formal business attire. It may also be appropriate to wear slightly more casual dress shoes such as flats or leather boots.

  • Dark denim: If the company you're working for allows employees to wear jeans and you want to wear jeans, choose dark-colored denim.

  • Dress slacks: When dressing for a business casual dress code, you can wear the same type of dress slacks you would wear for a formal business attire dress code.

Related: Guide To Gender-Neutral Attire

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Tips for making a positive first impression

Here are a few general tips to help you make a positive first impression on your first day of work:

Research the dress code

When you go to your interview, pay attention to what the people in the office are wearing. This can help you determine what type of clothing is appropriate for the company. You can also directly ask the interviewer or hiring manager what their dress code policy is. Having this information before your first day can help you confidently choose your outfit for your first day of work.

Avoid new trends

Instead of choosing an outfit that follows current fashion trends, try to choose classic pieces that are always in style. The goal is to choose a look that's both professional and understated.

Consider choosing pieces you already own

Many people like to buy a new outfit for their first day of work, but this is usually unnecessary. Choosing pieces of clothing that you own and have already worn can help you ensure you will feel comfortable throughout your first day of work.

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