It’s a thrill to walk into a new office on the first day of work. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are, and now it’s time to show them that you belong. Your work will do most of the talking, but your wardrobe in the office can help you make a killer first impression during those opening introductions.
An office with a formal business dress code doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility. You’ll have your essentials: navy and grey suits, ties, socks, shoes and a few accessories. But there are details within these parameters that can help you stand out in subtle yet stylish ways.
Stick around, keep reading, and we’ll talk about the details that can make you look the part for your next promotion.
A Suit that Does More than Fit
Building a wardrobe for your first office job with a formal dress code starts with the fit. This doesn’t mean go out and buy a tailored suit (unless you can). Pay attention to how the jacket and pants drape along your body. It shouldn’t feel loose or pinch. Sit, stand, and move around in a suit when you’re trying it on. It should move with your form, not tug against it.
As for the pants, just say no to pleats (for the style novice). They add unnecessary girth. Flat front suit pants offer fewer distractions and sharper lines.
You also need to consider the number of buttons when choosing your suit jacket. Avoid 3-button suits and opt for one or two buttons. Depending on your office, you can get a single-buttoned suit for a more modern look that gives length to your torso with its deeper V-shape. For a more athletic and broader build, a two-buttoned suit can bring attention to your chest and less to your waist.
Shirt Collars (There’s more than one style!)
When you choose a shirt collar, you’ll want to pay attention to the length of your neck. Stick to standard height collar bands if you have a short neck. Longer necks can consider slightly taller collar bands. It’s all about proportion and balance. A shirt collar that’s too short or too long can make you look like an optical illusion.
The type of collar you choose can say something about you too. If you’re in a traditional office, make the safe choice and go with a spread collar.
In an office where you can be a little bolder, you can consider a more modern cutaway collar. The collar points finish farther apart, which allows your tie to peek a little underneath the collar.
Speaking of ties…
Subtlety. Versatility. Durability.
When building a wardrobe, begin with the essentials. Choose ties that complement your navy and grey suits. Versatility is key. Loud ties can undermine your overall outfit’s subtle sophistication.
Browse our collection of curated ties for business. See what catches your eye. If you’re building your wardrobe from scratch, we suggest starting with a Navy Blue Grenadine. Its eye-catching texture and construction make it built to endure the daily grind of the office.
Thinking about what kind of knot you should sport? Take a look at our go-to: The Four-in-Hand.
Socks: We Can Do Better
People don’t put a lot of thought into their socks. They spend the majority of their time hidden inside shoes and underneath pants. Don't get overly cute with your socks; stick to basic navy, grey and black and leave the dog or pirate prints for the weekends.
But the wrong socks can make feet sweaty and uncomfortable. They can slide down your leg to form a puddle around your ankles. Try leading a meeting with that mess going on at the bottom of your leg.
Ditch the department store socks made from synthetic fabrics. Invest in soft and breathable materials like merino that stay up and keep your feet comfy.
Yes, They Looked at Your Shoes
When you meet your new co-workers for the first time, they’ll look you up and down. They’ll notice your shoes. Don’t spoil the look you’ve crafted with worn-out tacky-looking shoes.
Choose an Oxford with a simple, clean and elegant plain toe. For a little extra oompf, a cap-toed Oxford has an extra piece of leather on the toe that can help you look like you belong in any boardroom.
Now that we’ve gone top to bottom with the details that enhance the essentials, let us know if you have your own suggestions. In the meantime, work on that handshake, get ready to put in the hours and show them what you’re made of.