It’s your first day on the job. You’ve studied the dress code from front to back, and you’re ready to nail that first impression. You show up in your super cute outfit, expecting everyone to be impressed… but your boss takes one look at you and frowns. Uh-oh. Now, you know you didn’t break any rules. Where did you go wrong?
If it has happened to you, don’t feel bad! Fitting yourself into a new job is tough for everyone. Besides the dress code, which can be anywhere from frustratingly vague to downright draconian, every business has an image they’re telling to sell, and you’re part of that image. Even if your outfit technically doesn’t break the dress code, it still might not be the right look for the job.
So what does it look like when you do nail it? Well, this barista Fashionista, whom I spotted at my school’s campus coffee shop—which, by the way, have the absolute best iced lattes this side of the Northwest—got her workplace’s wardrobe just right. When you think of a coffee shop, from Starbucks to the local place down the street, you probably think of a cool, artsy kind of place. With a fun and flowy patterned tunic and a pair of cowgirl leather booties that have just enough wear to be delightfully vintage, she looks right at home behind the counter of a cool cafe. When it comes to looking hip, you can never go wrong with vintage boho.
Her quirky jewelry, like her delicate necklace, her stunning statement ring, and her matching set of bracelets, is perfectly accessorized to give her look some sparkle without throwing off her look’s easygoing vibe, sticking with more subtle silver tones over gold. Finish it off with a windblown hairdo, streaked with some surfer roots, and she looks like she hardly had to try to look this good, which is exactly the look a coffee shop wants. Subtlety is key here. As much as you might want to make a statement (and who wouldn’t?), when it comes to rocking a workplace wardrobe it’s better to pull it back and keep it simple.
So, how do you get a feel for a new job’s vibe? If you can, try and see if you can take a tour of the place before you start working there for real. Take notes on what the other employees are wearing and, maybe more importantly, what they’re not wearing. What seems to be the running theme? Chic? Boho? Street? Most of all, remember that it’s always okay to ask questions. If you’re not sure what to wear, just ask! I promise, your boss won’t bite!