How to Dress Appropriately For The Office

Presented in Partnership with Calibre

A first impression is a lasting impression, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

I’m picturing my Dad saying these words to me years ago when I walked out the door for my first job interview. I brushed it off like, yeah, alright Dad, whatever. The more and more I interacted with people in a professional environment, however, the more his words would begin to play on repeat, slowly rising to the forefront of my thoughts before that all important business meeting.

He unfortunately couldn’t have been more correct; we live in a superficial world where someone decides if they like you or not before you’ve even thrown your arm out for a handshake. At least two-thirds of this impression, we believe, is down to your clothing. If you nail the outfit, you look good, you feel good and your success in that environment will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Be it signing a new client or setting yourself apart from the pack in the search for a promotion, we’re here to help you breeze through any uncertainty you may find in your weekly office routine and lock down that perfect outfit for any corporate situation.

The Board Meeting

It’s daunting, right? Your appearance needs to be more on point than ever before. We’d recommend starting with a tailored suit in neutral colours. The last thing you want to do is be that guy screaming ‘look at me!’ with an audacious blue or purple three piece he wore to the races on the weekend. Try and match your colleagues and superiors, but don’t try to outdo them. A tie is usually a necessity, but again, if your boss isn’t wearing one, you shouldn’t be either. Your time for creativity and eccentrics will come later, so play it safe, accessorise sparsely and get the business done. Shop Suits.

The Daily Grind

This is your standard day in the concrete jungle, where you may be surprised with a chance meeting, but there’s a higher likelihood you’ll be smashing out work all day at your desk. As a general rule, follow the board meeting criteria, but take the chance to swap out the plain white for a checked shirt, perhaps. You might like to don a more eye-catching watch (match leather bands with the same colour leather shoes and belt). If the suit jacket is getting you down, try a navy bomber or a blazer with some clean, contrasting chinos. Wear a tie if you like, but try one that’s not too bold or wide, and to add to the effect, you may like to roll your sleeves half way up your forearm.

First Client Introduction

This one loops full circle around to nailing that first impression. Your best option is to do your research. If you’re meeting with a creative media firm, don’t go full Harvey Spectre as it will be overwhelming and off-putting. Clothes are an expression of your personality, and similar personalities get on well with each other. It’s important not to try and match them – let them do them and you do you. Simply aim to balance their level of sophistication and not attempt to out-dress them.

Only you know your industry, but if you haven’t quite learnt the ropes yet, then you’ll more than likely be partnered with someone who has. If you need dress advice, just ask them. This especially resonates with a more traditional client meeting where you should play it safe and find a middle ground between the styles from the boardroom and your daily grind.

Casual Fridays

Ah yes, casual Fridays. The ambiguity of this elusive concept has kept many of us awake on countless Thursday evenings. The best approach for your Friday is to treat every week on the job as an experiment, it will most definitely be trial and error to start with.

Don’t go into it with the mindset of ‘dressing down’ but rather shifting your weekly style across to a similar level of sophistication all about creating that consistent impression. The only difference will be its adaptation to more comfortable clothing.

You should keep this clothing crisp and skilfully chosen. Swap your business shirt for a button down, oxford-style look. If you’re going to try the sneaker game, ensure they are clean and not too high profile. Jeans are generally a no-go, industry dependent of course. We’d recommend chinos as an undoubtedly safe bet, and as a bonus you’ll have a plethora of colour matching options; you can even turn up the hem if you’ve gone for a low-cut sneaker or loafer look.

Keep in mind that shorts aren’t usually acceptable, unless you’re in the innovative start-up, wannabe Google HQ type company. And yes, unfortunately that still applies for the 38 degree summer scorcher.

Boss Hunting
Boss Hunting

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