The first day at a new job is always exciting and, let’s be honest, a little scary. Even if you feel confident in your new role and know that you’re the best person for the job, there are plenty of other concerns. Will you get along with the other employees? Will you understand the office culture. These days, with everyone working from home, will you become friends with the other employees?
We all know that first impressions matter. That’s why, when you walk into the office for the first time, you want to look and feel your best. Even if the office is a Zoom meeting, that’s no different. Either way, you’re meeting your co-workers and learning the lay of land. You need all the good juju you can get. If that means carrying your lucky briefcase or eating a breakfast of champions, don’t hesitate to go for it. Whatever makes you feel great about your first encounter with your new job is fair game. That being said, if you’re looking for ideas on how to put together a great looking business outfit, read on.
Slacks, blazers, and blouses are the way to go.
First things first—you don’t need a bunch of suits for your new job. Even if the dress code leans more to the fancier side, it’s much smarter to buy a few staple pieces that you can then play around with. This way, you won’t be stuck with two or three outfits that you’re always rotating. Instead, with many basics and only a few signature pieces, you can always look fresh without spending a ton of money on a whole new wardrobe.
For example, dress pants for women come in plenty of solid colors (dark blue, cream, black, and more), and so do blouses. Head online to buy yourself some inexpensive but very classy looking dress pants and blouses. Then throw a standout blazer on top, or a plain blazer with a special scarf, and—ta-dah! You’ve got a whole new outfit that’s actually made of pieces you wore yesterday and the day before. After all, you just got this new job. You don’t want to spend your whole first paycheck on looking fab before it even gets deposited.
Get a few pieces of jewelry to mix and match.
While you’re in the business of picking up signature pieces, don’t forget to think about jewelry. Nothing spices up an outfit like a chunky necklace or some sparkly earrings. You’ll want some staples when it comes to jewelry as well, and you shouldn’t wear anything that you don’t feel comfortable with, but having a few pieces of nice jewelry, whether it’s bracelets, earrings, a nice watch, or an artsy necklace, can really make you stand out from the crowd. If you like big, chunky, plastic pieces, go for it. If you’re into rustic copper and artisanal gemstones, that’s great, too. There’s something about a person wearing tasteful jewelry that just makes them seem more trustworthy. Again, don’t break the bank on this, but do make sure that your pieces are unique and make you feel confident when you put them on.
Make a vision board for inspiration.
There is certainly no shame in taking inspiration from those who came before you. If you’re looking for some style and fashion inspiration, it might be a good idea to take an afternoon and put together a vision board of sorts. Spend some time on the internet looking at businesswomen who you admire. Who do you want to emulate when you walk into a room? Do you want to look like a Senator? A CFO?
You can even go more specific. Maybe you’ve always wanted to bring the savvy and wisdom of Julie Iskow to the boardroom. Or maybe you’re more of an Oprah or a Shonda Rhimes. Once you’ve figured that out, look up and save some iconic pictures of the women you admire. What do they wear? How do they do their makeup? Whoever you feel connected to, let their style guide your style decisions. You’ll feel more confident if you know you’re walking in the footsteps of someone you admire and respect.
Get your hair done.
Don’t stop with the fashion—take care of your whole self. Many of us are suffering from a bad case of quarantine hair these days, but you don’t want a rat’s nest on your head when you appear in the Zoom window for the first time. Take some time to figure out a solution to this, quite literally, messy problem. Some salons are offering services by appointment only, one person at a time with masks on. You can try to get your partner or roommate to cut your hair if you’re feeling bold. And there are plenty of ways to dye your hair at home, DIY style. Whatever it takes to make you feel great about your ‘do, take some time to plan what your move is. The last thing you want is to wake up on the morning of your first meeting and decide if you should wear it down or up. You’ll end up throwing a baseball cap on at the last minute, and that certainly doesn’t pair well with a pair of dress pants and some gemstones.
Making the first impression is important, especially if you want to start on good terms with your new colleagues, but remember that it’s not the be-all-end-all of your new position. You earned this job. You worked hard, studied hard, interviewed well, and have the experience that convinced the company that you’re the best person for this job. You have the grit and smarts to take the company to the next level, and you know it. So, despite the importance of finding the right outfit, the right jewelry, and the right hairdo for your first day of work, don’t let it cloud the excitement of the day. Don’t forget to enjoy what you’re doing, even with all the nervousness. That’s what really matters, anyway.