People learn a lot in high school and college, but one subject that is not taught is how to wear appropriate clothing to work. Here are some basic dos and don’ts to help you on your way.
1. Do remember that if you are uncertain about a dress code initially, dress upwards. No eyebrows were ever raised because a man wore a suit instead of khakis and polos to an interview.
2. Don’t decide that you, the new employee, are going to single-handedly change what everyone else wears with your own personal style. If everyone else in the office wears a suit, and you wish to get ahead, you need to wear suits also. It may not be fair and may be uncomfortable but that is just the way things are. Once you become CEO, you will have the right to change it.
3. Do wear underwear. In the unlikely event that you are not wearing underwear because you don’t have any, try web sites like rounderwear.com to see what styles you like and order some. And for Pete’s sake, if you’re not wearing underwear, don’t share that information with anyone.
4. Don’t wear shorts. Shorts are great, but not for work. Men need to wear long pants in an office environment. If you are not in an office environment, you still shouldn’t wear shorts. HVAC experts and auto mechanics don’t, so why should you?
5. Do wear clothes that are kept well. Torn or dirty apparel is not acceptable at work, even on casual Friday. Your clothes need to look neat and pressed when you come to work so that you can make a favorable impression on co-workers and clients you come in contact with.
6. Do wear cotton buttoned shirts. Long sleeve cotton shirts with sleeve cuffs and buttons down the front make a man look authoritative and in command. Don’t sacrifice the advantages the look can give you for a polo shirt, unless your particular office environment requires you to do so.
7. Do take time to build your work wardrobe. Everyone around you at work knows what it is like to be a new entry into the work force and will not think less of you if you wear the same suit pants (as long as they are clean and pressed) twice a week instead of once. To be honest, unless the pants are an outrageous color, they probably won’t even notice. They will notice clothes that don’t fit well or of a noticeably inferior quality than the clothes around them. If you have extreme budget concerns, start out with the bare minimum that you can get by with. The only exception is underwear – you should always have at least two weeks’ worth of underwear in case you are out of town one week and unable to do laundry that weekend. If you need to stock up on underwear, check out rounderwear.com for the latest styles and fashion.
8. Don’t wear jeans. The only exception is if your office participates in a casual Friday rule. Then and only then can you wear new-looking jeans to work.
9. Do wear chinos and khakis. If your office is comfortable with a less formal look, chinos and khakis are excellent choices for office wear. Comfortable and easy to wear, these are good basic wardrobe staples to build upon. Remember to shy away from wild colors.
10. Don’t wear too much cologne. Many people are allergic or sensitive to the perfumes and materials found in men’s cologne, so use it sparingly. Better that than being known as the man who people can smell coming down the hallway three offices away!