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What to wear during the first week at a new job?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by AntiHero84, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. david809

    david809 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    If no one else wears a tie, don't wear a tie. Ditto on the sports coat.

    I work at a law firm where the only person in the office who wears a tie is the managing partner (of the entire firm). During his first couple of weeks, a former Supreme Court clerk wore a tie and was harassed mercilessly by others (partners, senior associates, junior associates) and thought to be different (and not in a good way). And he was a genuinely nice (and smart) guy. He took the tie off, and all was well. We lawyers can be (are) dicks, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Even though it would be great to work in an environment where you could dress however you wanted and be judged only on your work, it just ain't so. You are going to make a first impression, and wearing a tie and coat when no one else in the office does will inevitably make a negative first impression on at least some people. Why get off on the wrong foot?

    FYI, I hate business casual, and I hate wearing a sport coat without a tie, but that's what I do. You just have to find ways to cultivate your love of clothing in the boundaries of your office environment.
     
  2. josepidal

    josepidal Senior member

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    Big Hint: If you are dressing better on a regular basis than your immediate boss, you better be the best damn employee he's got.
    To sum up the advice: You can wear a jacket and tie on Day 1 but you have to dress like everyone else on Day 2 onwards. Otherwise, before people can see your friendliness, brains and work ethic, they will instinctively brand you as "that guy". Another big hint: Given your description, your idea of overkill and other people's will likely diverge.

    There are many ways of going up half a notch (and no more, not at first) without a jacket or tie in this situation:

    A well fitting dress shirt with an interesting pattern
    Dress slacks over khakis
    (Especially) Great shoes
    French cuffs if you like

    You get leeway if you've been there a while and people know you, and more leeway the more senior you are. If you're the new entry level guy who comes in with jacket and tie, you most definitely will be "that guy" regardless of what strangers on the Internet say.
     
  3. bowtielover

    bowtielover Senior member

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    Cincinnati OH
    i would try and dress a touch better then everyone else not so much that you come off as arrogant but enough to say I am here to stay. Eventually you will find a look for yourself that works, untill then try out a few things untill you find that nitch.
     
  4. josepidal

    josepidal Senior member

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    May I ask what the OP ended up wearing and the results?
     
  5. Ziss

    Ziss Senior member

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    Apr 6, 2009
    Big Hint: If you are dressing better on a regular basis than your immediate boss, you better be the best damn employee he's got.

    This.

    It's very easy to become "that guy who thinks he's better than the rest of us" by dressing too well. Sadly.
     
  6. shallysingh

    shallysingh Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Black Suits with white shirt n tie. Its looks like a very professional.
     
  7. zalb916

    zalb916 Senior member

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    Dec 26, 2006
    wear a tie or a jacket, but not both at the same time.

    -1

    Never wear a tie sans a jacket

    +1

    The tie without jacket look is terrible.
     
  8. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Senior member

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    Location:
    Cambridge, England
    Black Suits with white shirt n tie. Its looks like a very professional.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. bluemagic

    bluemagic Senior member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    If no one else wears a tie, don't wear a tie. Ditto on the sports coat.

    I work at a law firm where the only person in the office who wears a tie is the managing partner (of the entire firm). During his first couple of weeks, a former Supreme Court clerk wore a tie and was harassed mercilessly by others (partners, senior associates, junior associates) and thought to be different (and not in a good way). And he was a genuinely nice (and smart) guy. He took the tie off, and all was well. We lawyers can be (are) dicks, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Even though it would be great to work in an environment where you could dress however you wanted and be judged only on your work, it just ain't so. You are going to make a first impression, and wearing a tie and coat when no one else in the office does will inevitably make a negative first impression on at least some people. Why get off on the wrong foot?

    FYI, I hate business casual, and I hate wearing a sport coat without a tie, but that's what I do. You just have to find ways to cultivate your love of clothing in the boundaries of your office environment.


    I am also in BIGLAW (but as support staff), and echo these sentiments.
     
  10. madaboutshirt

    madaboutshirt Senior member

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    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney
    Just wear what everyone else is wearing. Having said that, I work in the IT industry where most ppl couldn't careless what they wear, I used to rock up to work in thongs (as in sandles).

    At my current work place, its a mixed bag. Some ppl wear dress shirts whereas other wear t-shirts but no one wears a tie. The only person who wears cuff links is the CEO, and the guy has a lot of nice shirts. I dont really care what I wear to work. So usually its just T-shirt and jeans for me. Occasionally when I dress up to work people would look at me funny.
     
  11. kcc

    kcc Senior member

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    Generally its difficult to measure: first day on the job, I appeared in chinos, an oxford shirt and tie and was brazenly told I'm overdressed. What's next flip-flop and board shorts? [​IMG]
     
  12. AntiHero84

    AntiHero84 Senior member

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    Location:
    Long Island
    Ok, so the first day is Monday. Moment of truth time.

    I've been thinking of wearing my navy blazer and a tie the first day, switching to just a jacket the rest of the week, and then blending in a bit more after the first week.

    This has been my plan up until recently, when a friend asked if I would be wearing a suit on my first day. Initially, I waved this off guessing that I wouldn't want to be too formal. Now I'm not so sure. The organization emailed me an orientation schedule where I'm scheduled to meet the Director of Communications, the CPO, and the CFO.

    So, I'm definitely wearing a blazer and tie, but should I consider wearing a suit for the first day?
     
  13. GBR

    GBR Senior member

    Messages:
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    Mar 15, 2006
    If you know what the general office attire is then FOLLOW THAT.

    Do not set your self up as something special to be revered by wearing clothes that are demonstrably higher up the latter - you will not endear yourself to your colleagues.

    When you have been there a month then maybe test the water with a suit occasionally - you will see what others do so you can adopt that idea also.
     
  14. AntiHero84

    AntiHero84 Senior member

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    Long Island
    The place seems pretty casual. It's not that I want to revered by anyone. I'm not that good of a dresser. I just want to let my superiors know that I take this position seriously.
     
  15. furo

    furo Senior member

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    You did that during the interview.

    You have to acclimate to the environment around you, then set your standard slightly above it, but that isn't possible on day one. Give it some time imo. Wearing a suit to a place that has people at your level wearing chinos and button downs will NOT be appreciated by many, if anyone.

    I've been at my job 8 months and I'm just now starting to up my dress code to something slightly more polished than my colleagues, but I'm doing it without taking bold steps, such as showing up with a coat and tie. I'm choosing better shirts of good quality, better shoes (today was my first day in Allen Edmonds), etc, etc...
     
  16. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    Aug 20, 2008
    I started my first week of work out of college wearing suits (because that's what I was told by a clueless manager who works at a different site..). After that I toned it down to the dress shirt, tie, slacks, shoes routine which is what everyone else at my level wore. However after finding SF I've slowly been upping the level of clothing I wear. I started with nicer shoes, then shirts, then pants, then ties. I then moved on to wearing sport coats and the occasional suit. About 4 months ago I started wearing pocket squares.

    No one has said anything derogatory about the way I dress now, 1.5 years after I started, except for one junior consultant who asked if my pocket square was pre-folded or real... Sure I dress better than most managers and directors, but I think since I did it very slowly people had time to take in each step of the progression. It also doesn't hurt that I've established myself as a go-getter and hard worker and not just a well dressed guy trying to compensate for a lack of skill/work ethic.

    I've also noticed that most of the men here are taking their dress a little more seriously (at least the younger men). Some are wearing sport coats on the occasion now! However the fit and styles leave much to be desired...
     
  17. LesterSnodgrass

    LesterSnodgrass Senior member

    Messages:
    581
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    DC
    If no one else wears a tie, don't wear a tie. Ditto on the sports coat.

    I work at a law firm where the only person in the office who wears a tie is the managing partner (of the entire firm). During his first couple of weeks, a former Supreme Court clerk wore a tie and was harassed mercilessly by others (partners, senior associates, junior associates) and thought to be different (and not in a good way). And he was a genuinely nice (and smart) guy. He took the tie off, and all was well. We lawyers can be (are) dicks, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Even though it would be great to work in an environment where you could dress however you wanted and be judged only on your work, it just ain't so. You are going to make a first impression, and wearing a tie and coat when no one else in the office does will inevitably make a negative first impression on at least some people. Why get off on the wrong foot?

    FYI, I hate business casual, and I hate wearing a sport coat without a tie, but that's what I do. You just have to find ways to cultivate your love of clothing in the boundaries of your office environment.


    I disagree. I work for the Man, but in my office, it's generally suits only for court or meetings. Business casual is the norm for my coworkers. Nonetheless, I wear a suit 3 or 4 days a week, highly polished shoes, pocket squares, etc. I get razzed a bit about being overdressed, but over time, all came to realize it is just who I am and how I feel most comfortable.

    The bottom line is that you should dress how you feel comfortable. If it is "over dressed" to others, just say that it is what you have in your closet from your last job and you can't justify buying a whole new wardrobe for your new job. If other's insecurities run so deep that they make you feel awkward for dressing your way then it is time to look for a new gig.

    Just my $.02.
     
  18. furo

    furo Senior member

    Messages:
    6,188
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    Apr 6, 2009
    I disagree with the above. In most business environments, perception, not reality, dictate many things, as pathetic as that sounds. If you want to stand out every day due to your wardrobe being overly dressy, that sends a signal out that a lot, including me, would rather avoid. Unless you run the place. Then who gives a shit.

    But if we are talking about "dressing comfortably," how does a suit accomplish that? The purpose of changing an office dress code to "business casual" is so that folks can get to work rather than worry about impressions and high dress codes.

    If you really are comfortable wearing a suit to work, that's cool. I just can't fathom it being an expression of "comfort." It clearly broadcasts that you are sending messages out to the people around you. How can that make anyone feel comfortable, let alone yourself?
     
  19. Seattle Bits

    Seattle Bits Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Location:
    By Seattle
    I'll be in the same situation but I intend wearing a suit from day 1. I'll also be working for the MAN and I think that gives a bit more latitude. There are some people in the office who are stalemated and then there are people who are still interested in promotions. The dress between the two are vastly different.
     
  20. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Messages:
    12,590
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Princeton, NJ
    You guys worry too much, honestly.

    Its simple, you buy clothes that fit you well and/or have them tailored, so that regardless of whether you are in casual, formal, or somewhere in between, you still appear to be put together.

    I wouldnt go around explaining 'why' to everyone who asks, unless they're above you in the chain. Who gives a shit what the guy next to you thinks, really. And BTW, if they're asking you about it, there's a SkinnyGoomba probability of 95% that they're bating you. In a way they're trying to find out if that's how you usually dress, or if you're trying to one up them.

    If anyone at your level presses you hard for answer, just say: "I dressed up for you, buddy, wasn't that nice of me? [​IMG] "

    Couple things, if the office is casual, dont show up in a suit. Thats easy, if you love your tailored clothes, keep it simple:

    Cotton/wool/Linen pants
    OCBD's, especially patterned ones, a square patterned OCBD rarely looks formal enough to be threatening.
    Tweed jacket.

    No tie, pocket square if you like.

    No one will mistake it for a suit, and you can easily remove the jacket if you feel your are over-doing it.

    You put it on when going out to lunch. or commuting, and you can go back to looking like your a big timer outside of work.
     

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