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What to wear? dress codes in the workplace

Congratulations on your new job! Now it’s time to figure out what to wear to work.

Often the appropriate work attire is obvious; nurses are expected to wear scrubs, security guards and paramedics wear a uniform.

Other times the dress code is not as obvious, such as in the office environment where attire can range from business formal to business casual; a paralegal working in a large legal firm is usually expected to wear a suit, whereas a paralegal working in a small boutique firm might wear more casual attire.

5 Tips to Work Appropriate Attire:

  • Learn from others – observe other employees and take cues from what they wear. If you’re unsure always err on the side of caution and dress professionally until you have learned what attire is permitted.
  • Review your contract and employee policies – your employer might have a formal dress code in their employee policies. Some jobs require specific attire, a lab technician might need a lab coat, and a construction worker might need a safety vest. Be sure to read every document provided, and start your job off on the right foot!
  • Business formal vs. Business casual – business formal usually involves a suit, button-down shirt, closed toed shoes and a tie for men. Business casual is a wider category and can include khakis, (dark) jeans, and polo shirts. Know what is expected of you!
  • Casual Fridays – some businesses relax their dress codes on Fridays. This is an opportunity to show some personality through your attire. Remember, this not an invitation to dress unprofessionally.
  • Dress for the job you want! If you would like to be considered for a promotion show your ambition and demonstrate that you have the professionalism required.

BONUS TIP – your online identity matters! Learn how to be safe online and protect your identity.