Previous generations had it easy when it came to dressing for work. If you picked a suit that fits and kept your shirt and ties sober, you’d be unlikely to put a foot wrong. Yes, it was restrictive. But at least everyone knew where they stood.
The revolution against the dress code has unyoked us from style servitude but, with right and wrong now less clearly distinguished, it’s easier to take a sartorial stumble.
No matter how many rounds of interviews you aced or the number of glowing recommendations your former co-workers and employers gave on your behalf, the first day at a new job is stressful. During the course of the day, you’ll probably forget all your co-workers’ names, ask for directions to the restroom (at least) five times, and face a few glitches with your computer at your new desk. But perhaps one of the most stressful, and least discussed, challenges is not looking like such a newbie.
Nobody wants to look or come across as helpless in the office. Of course, fighting with your nearby printer and the back-to-back orientation sessions may be dead giveaways; however, the way you dress on your first day can read more stylish. Dress too formal and you’re a total department rookie, but too casual will look unprofessional.