Dear New Found Lust: I got a new job! What should I wear to make a good impression?

Tuesday, June 17
Dear New Found Lust,

I just got a new job! I'm very excited and I start next week but I've realized my wardrobe is not very corporate. When I went to the offices I didn't see a specific dress code but I want to look professional without standing out too much. So I guess I need to go shopping! What should I get to survive the first weeks? I've got a small budget. And what about shoes? I barely can stand in high heels!


Starting a new job is always exciting and scary at the same time and the clothes we wear to work should help us feel confident from the start. It's hard to know how casual or formal your collegues will be and what the company dress code is like (if any) until you are actually working there. It's very easy to go overboard when going shopping with a new job, but be careful and only buy ahead what you really need until you test the waters and define how you should dress once you have started. Otherwise you'll end up buying tons of clothes that will be of little use for the day to day. Here are some essentials you should consider and look for in your wardrobe as well. It's easy when you relate all the pieces to two basic color coordinating bases: black and beige.

Job Attire

A.-Tailored Jacket by Stella McCartney; B.-Black Strip Tie-Neck Top by Old Navy; C.-Fine Stripe Jacket by Warehouse; D.-Classic Button-Front Shirt by Old Navy; E.-Silk Tie Neck Blouse by Nina Ricci; F.-Loren Patent Pumps by Jimmy Choo; G.-Laura Straight Leg Pants by K Karl Lagerfeld; H.-Wedges by Topshop; I.-Bubble Sleeve Belted Top by Wet Seal; J.-Carlene Pumps by Pink Studio; K.-Myahh Wide Leg Pants by Tory Burch; L.-Chain Detail Flats by Topshop.

Black base coordinating pieces:
  • Gray or black tailored pants - preferably with a straight to wide leg and with no visible back pockets (which make them instantly casual) - perfect for coordinating your white, black and colored tops.
  • Tailored jacket that goes well with the black or gray pants plus white, black and colored tops.
  • White or colored tailored shirt
  • Black shoes - opt for a kitten heel especially the first few days while you get used to walking on taller heels. You will feel comfortable, add the "click-clack" when walking about the office and look put together without suffering impossible high heels. Also consider wearing office-appropriate flats, the designs available are endless.
  • Black or gray handbag
  • Black belt

Beige base coordinating pieces:
  • Beige or khaki pants - perfect for your navy, brown and white tops
  • Tailored jacket - to go with your beige or khaki pants, navy, brown and white tops
  • Light blue shirt
  • Brown, camel or navy shoes - the same kitten heel or flat principle can apply.
  • Brown, camel or navy handbag
  • Brown belt

  • Simple day to day tops- preferably with 3/4 sleeves or long sleeves which make them dressier.
  • Pencil skirt in black, gray, brown, camel or navy

Take a look in your wardrobe and you'll probably have some pieces already, don't rely on shopping only to create your outfits especially when you haven't received your first pay check! With these basics you will survive the first weeks while you adjust your outfits to a more casual or formal environment. Don't forget to ask a collegue what the usual dress code for Friday is...not every company has a casual Friday or sometimes it might even involve jeans and sneakers. Think about jewelry and makeup as well - less is more until you know what is commonly "approved of".

The most important thing of all is to wear a friendly smile and have a positive mindset at your new workplace - you can look a million dollars but a bad attitude ruins any first impression.

For more work appropriate solutions, click here.
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