A Young Man’s Guide To His First Work Outfit[Featured Photo Credit: everydayinterviewtips.com]
Whether it’s for an interview or you managed to land yourself a good apprenticeship, we all experience going shopping for the first time for that all important first work outfit. I’ll touch on some of my experiences and then give you some advice on how to make sure you wow your new employer (in a good way.)
I remember what it was like buying my first proper dress shirt. It was for work experience in a desk job at the councils recycling center. I had no idea what people would be wearing in the office so I went into Burton with £30 and picked up a light blue shirt and a black & gold shirt. Needless to say, this was at a time when social media was limited to MySpace and Bebo, so there wasn’t much in the way of fashion inspiration. As time went on, I learned how to dress while making horrible fashion mistakes at the same time, including the classic Michael Jackson look, black suit with white socks.
P.S – I bought at least six suits from Primark when I first started out.
When you are first starting to dress formally in suits and shirts outside of school, it can be a bit daunting, just know that it will take time but you will get there. Pay close attention to the way you dress, and build your wardrobe slowly in accordance to your income. Below are some tips to help you pick out your first work outfit.
Have A Plan
Having a clear plan before you start splashing out the cash is important, especially if your funds aren’t unlimited.
When going to buy your first work outfit, I don’t recommend buying it online. Go into a few stores that you like and that are in your price range and try on as many different sizes as you can. Get a feel for what size fits you, don’t just buy the same size blazer you wore in school.
Know what colours you want, for the suit, keep it dark. Black and blue are the two best suits to buy as a beginner. They are so easy to match with things and they’re suitable for many occasions.
White shirts are always an easy start, but if you’re feeling adventurous then you can try for a light blue or a light pink shirt. Stay far away from dark colours for now – trust me.
Keep ties simple, no weird patterns or cartoon characters. Go for a colour that matches the colour of your suit.
Keep your socks black or navy blue, at least for now. Never wear white and leave your crazy colours at home. Once everyone at work knows your name and they like you, then you can wear your yellow and pink socks.
Expect To Fail
This is something you should be used to, failing. We all do it. Don’t expect to go shopping and spend £80 on your first work outfit and expect it to look like those Instagram gurus. A lot of the men on Instagram spent upwards of £2000 on their outfit and they’re in their thirties. Your time will come.
Try to limit your failures but if you do end up wearing an outrageous tie and people make you feel uncomfortable for it, don’t sweat it. We’ve all been there – on more than one occasion as well.
Dare A Little & Enjoy It
You’re young (if you’re not young then you’re young at heart right?), enjoy yourself and don’t take all this fashion stuff too seriously. It’s definitely not worth being late to work just to fix your tie. Fashion is something that’s enjoyable, I have this blog to have fun and I do enjoy it a lot. The moment you start stressing too much over what shoes to wear to the point you’re late to work, is the point you need to do a 180 degree turn and assess yourself.
Remember: Have fun with your outfit!
Educate Yourself & Copy Others
The fact you’re reading this is a great sign. When I started there weren’t many blogs around but I remember clinging to GQ Magazine. Knowledge is power and the more you learn, the better you will look.
When you’re traveling to work, waiting for someone or just sitting on the toilet – read some blogs and fashion tips. Obviously I’d recommend my own but there are loads online.
Go on Instagram or Tumblr and follow people who dress well and have great taste. Screenshot what you like and when you go shopping pull up those pictures and use them for inspiration. Forget this original nonsense, I copy the New York gents all the time and it works great for me over here in the UK.
Keep It Simple
I hope this helps a little, I wanted to keep it short and just get across the message; keep it simple and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That’s the exact advice I would have given to myself ten years ago when I bought a £80 silver suit (cringe.)