I recently wrote an article about how to figure out what the dress code for an office is so that you are ready for your first day. Once you’ve done that the next step is picking out a look that is going to make you feel confident. The look should obviously be tailored to your style, but this article is going to outline a few things to keep in mind to make sure you look great on your first day from head to toe.
For your shoes, you want to make sure that whatever you are wearing look nice and clean. If you’re wearing fancy dress shoes, casual suede brogues, or a pair of white sneakers, making sure they’re polished and not covered in scuff marks is key. For your dress shoes, pick up a shining kit and watch a Youtube video on how to shine your shoes to keep them looking clean and new. For suede or casual dress shoes, stop at your local shoe store and buy some suede cleaning wipes. They really work well and make a noticeable difference if you scuff your shoes walking home from work. For white sneakers, a Mr. Clean magic eraser actually does a fantastic job of getting marks off. With one of those and a damp paper towel you should be good to go.
Another really easy way to express yourself at work is with your socks. I don’t think I spent one day at work last summer wearing plain black or white socks. Go out and buy a few pairs with patterns, stripes, or polka dots. I would advise to stay away from your more ridiculous designs (neon green monkeys, beer mugs, etc…), but wearing something with a fun element adds a little originality to your look. Surprisingly, my go to place for fun socks is Express. You wouldn’t think it, but they’ve got some cool designs that are easy to pair with almost any look.
Additionally, you could just ditch the socks all together, buy a few pairs of no-show socks, and #freetheankle for the summer. I’ve said it before but if you’re walking home from work on a hot summer day, the air flowing around your ankles actually makes a big difference.
For pants, two things are key: the colour and the fit. For summer I’d recommend going with lighter shades for summer. A light green, white, or baby blue chino is a nice touch and fits well with the season. As for the fit, I always go for a slimmer look, but if your style is a little more relaxed, a wider fit is fine. The key is making sure whichever way you go, you are fully committing, and the pant fits the way you want it to. Nothing looks worse than a pair of baggy jeans walking through the office door on a Monday morning.
Shirts are the region where you have the most freedom in men’s office wear. As with pants, getting a shirt that fits you properly is key. For fancier dress shirts, make sure you know your neck and shirt size, and spend some time checking out different stores to find the look that you like best. If you have a little more liberty to be original in your office, then shirts are the ways to go. I was lucky enough to have a working environment that allowed me wear really what ever I wanted, so patterned shirts became a staple for me last summer. The tend to be light-weight so they’re great for a hot day, but they’re also really fun and allowed me to show a little originality at work.
Figuring out what your office look is can be a challenge. Don’t be afraid to stand out, experiment, and try new things. Every time I took a bit of a risk with an outfit at my job last summer I received a lot more positive feedback than I did negative. Wear what will make you feel good and confident, because being in a positive headspace will make the work you do that much better.