What Should You Wear On Your First Day At A New Job?

In some offices you'll look ridiculous without a collared shirt; in other places wrinkled T-shirts thrown on in haste are the norm. How can you choose what you wear on the first day in a new job?

Ironing picture from Shutterstock

Requirements vary greatly depending on the culture of your workplace: in finance businesses, it's not unheard of for the IT staff to be expected to deploy the same suit-and-tie wear as the client-facing sales guys. In other offices, no-one cares how the IT team dresses as long as the servers stay up.

It's always a good idea to ask about the office dress code in advance if you're unsure. Smarter Admins suggests a basic smart casual dress code if there's any doubt: a shirt and pants for men (but no tie), and a similar blouse/pants or skirt combo for women, in neutral colours.

Sensible advice, but we're wondering: what would you recommend as first-day wear? Share your suggestions (and any personal horror stories) in the comments.


    In my humble opinion, unless it's a job that is absolutely guaranteed to NOT be suit & tie, then you cannot go wrong with suit & tie on the first day. Even in an advertising job as a creative, at most you'll cop flack for a day but it's always better to overdress rather than underdress.

    Are there any jobs one might go for where they don't get a chance to see their potential workspace prior to starting? Honest question here because every job I've applied for, the interview itself at one stage or another included a walk around the office to get to see the layout. Not getting said opportunity may be more common than I personally would think. From this walk around however, you'll be able to answer the initial question on dress code.

      Oh, and as someone who's had many a sysadmin job, if you're going for tech support/sysadmin, you should always dress closer to the upper management.

      One day you're guaranteed to bring yourself infront of a high profile client for one reason or another, and in such situations presentation of all staff and all systems is everything. Any upper management involved will be highly relieved and quite glad to see you dressed in a completely professional manner.

      I've had a few contract roles where my first day was my first contact with the employer on site. Either they outsourced the entire interview process, or conducted the interview at the recruitment agency's office.

      If I could, I'd scout out the employer myself, but if they were on a locked floor, that wasn't an option.

    I recommend wearing a suit for your first day. If you aren't sure, maybe wear something similar to what you wore to your job interview (on the basis that they weren't turned off by what you were wearing).

      This. Full business attire on the first day.
      Realistically something you should ask about after you've been hired but before you start.

    Suit & Tie. You can always dress down if it looks like everyone else is more casually dressed - lose the tie, take off the jacket.

    Being the only guy dressed well on your first day is fine. Being the only guy dressed like a slob when everyone else is in suit & tie is a terrible feeling.

    Agree with bastardsheep's comment regarding it being rare to show up for one's first day at work without having had the opportunity to observe the company in action at an interview. Then again, if one is a consultant, this has happened to me from time to time.

    Even when I've had the chance to observe the company and seen that it's a jeans and t-shirt kind of place, I have always worn smart casual -- a well-tailored pair of dress pants, good quality knit shirt (generally silk... I'm busty and there's no way to alter a blouse so that I don't look frumpy and dumpy, resulting in the need to find other alternatives), and a high-end blazer or jacket of whatever type is in that year. If nothing else, I've been able to joke, "So, now you see that if you need to put me in front of someone outside the company, and that person expects to see a suit, I can play token suit for a day quite effectively." And once there, a quick trip into the restroom is all that's needed to dress up or down by changing jewelry. (Yeah, I know, most guys can't use that trick... although if you took a piercing out, you could possibly go put it back in.... ;-)

    I never wear a suit to work on the first day. I don't want to establish an unrealistic expectation that I'll be turning up in pants consistently.

      Neither. But I'm more of a pants off Friday type of person

    I'd agree with suit and no tie (but maybe take one with you). Rule of thumb would be try to mirror the person who interviewed you, if possible.

    Your interview should give you some idea too. In my interview for my current job I came in a full suit, jacket and tie in the middle of summer no less and noticed my interviewers were much more casual. I got invited back for a second interview and told to come a little more casual next time. So I just came in pants, shirt and tie and got interviewed by some of the other developers - one wore a singlet and boardshorts with bare feet, the other wore jeans, a Hawaiian shirt and mismatching socks. I got hired and my clothing slowly relaxed over the first month until I was wearing casual stuff too. I'm still working there.. 18 years later ;)

    Never do Suit and tie, suit and tie to me screams "will not get my hand dirty" collared shirt long sleeve, pants and dress shoes.

    Worked in IT for 15 years, through basic onsite stuff/sales/management and high end gov't face to face interaction.

    I find when i know what im talking about in an interview they pay no attention to my clothes as long as i look presentable.

    I'd go with either suit and tie or a collared shirt and good pants depending on which I thought was more likely. I'd keep the suit jacket and tie in the car if I went with the shirt though, then I can walk in and if I realise I should/shouldn't be in a suit and tie it's just a quick trip back to my car to fit the correct dress code.

    You're there to do a job, not win a fashion competition,
    Unless you're facing customers or clients, dress how you want as long as you don't look or smell messy (no PJs, no torn jeans, not a singlet if it's a office job),
    If other people want to wear nice but uncomfortable clothes, they are free to do so, but it does not have to be your choice.

    Why should I wear something uncomfortable to make you happy, especially in the middle of Summer!

    But of course no boss wants to hear that because they're afraid of not having control of their employee, and the perpetual office slavery dictatorship continues.
    The tie is a leash for humans

    I was always told to dress for my bosses job (where this makes sense of course). Neat and well presented is simple to do at all levels, just dress up that little bit more on the first day without going over the top.

    Turn there stereotypes upside down and earn some respect by out dressing the office.
    No Suite! Never! Nothing Khaki! Never!
    Designer shirt, something embroidered or paisley perhaps.
    Bright colours or black; nothing neutral.
    Get a great pair of jeans from a quality brand and a leather jacket your boss would kill for.

    If you have the hair for it; go long. 1990's Bon Jovi or what a quality hair stylist recommends.
    If you don't, go bald, it looks great guys.

    This advice is all assuming you are male. The Female of the species is a mystery to me.

    Then tell people you disagree when they are being stupid.
    Say you don't know when you don't know.
    All in all, be confident and honest.

    Your best off with the suit on the first day for so many reasons. First days for me have involved surprise meetings with people at executive level, company profile photos for network systems and security cards (and even a school newsletter) and introduction to large groups, all for which I was glad tohave the suit on or at least avaliable to give a good impression. That said, I was arm deep in printer sorting a jam not long after. Long story short, better off prepared than not

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