This has been a question I often received from people. They ask me what they should use for their first day of work. My answer is always: “it depends.”
And it is so. There are no unique universal rules about right or wrong for certain situations. But we must be aware that first impressions matter and we always want to make the best impact to our bosses, colleagues, customers, and suppliers.
And they will ask me: “what does it depend on? Here I explain a little:
#1: What company you are going to and the sector
We have to know where we are working. All companies have a culture and corporate personality. There are those that are more formal, others more creative, some are more focused on customer service, others on production, etc. For that reason, we have to place ourselves in the company and the sector, since that will help us to identify that culture and personality that I mention to them.
#2: What post and position are you occupying
While there is a culture and corporate personality, it is also accommodating the area to which you belong and the position you occupy. It is not the same to be part of Customer Service, that of the Legal, Commercial, Production, Marketing, Human Resources, etc. area. Here you also have to read the implicit codes. The position is also important since it helps us to identify how accessible or authoritarian we need our look to be. If you are going to be boss to a large group of people, you may need to consider a high tone outfit coupled with a Cartier tank watch to command more respect and show some dignity.
#3: Your customers
Continuing with the first two points, knowing your customers is also essential. You could, for example, be in a formal company, in a sales area, but if your client is not formal and maybe he is a micro-entrepreneur, you may have to adjust your outfit a bit to make it closer to your client. There is a rule that says you always dress “just like your client.”
#4: Your age
It is not the same, to be 19-20 years old and a practitioner to be 40 years old and enter a position of trust. Like everything in life, there are stages and although, in each one, you must always show your best version, you must also go according to your age. I have heard many cases of people who look younger than their age, and that brings them problems. Many times, it’s just about choosing the clothes, cuts, fabrics suitable for our age.
Depending on the location, our attire may also vary. Either by the weather or by the environment. It can be in a mining company in the province, or perhaps in the industrial zone of Lima, or perhaps in the financial center of San Isidro. We must be able to adapt to look impeccable, but at the same time that this attire can be functional and practical.
#6: Your activities and lifestyle
It is also important to consider our lifestyle and what activities we carry out in parallel with our work. For example, at night, you may have to go to school, or you may head out to pick up the boys or do the shopping or some other activity that demands a more comfortable outfit. Here we also include our means of transportation and physical activity. There are people who can go by motorcycle or bicycle to the office, those who go in their own car, or those who use public transport.
#7: Your personal style
This is perhaps the tip of the cake cherry. Even with all the above-mentioned points, they cannot force us to be “uniformed” and fit into a mold where we do not enter, because being able to express our personal style is very important. With our style, we will also be building the Personal Image that we want to project, as well as the Personal Brand that we want to manage professionally and personally.
Surely if you read this far, you may want to ask what then you should use or what not to use. In that case, these are some general tips that we can consider:
- Do not choose a look too formal (stay within what is considered formal in your environment).
- Do not choose a look too informal (stay within what is considered informal in your environment)
- Opt for neutral colors of preference such as navy blue, gray, white. Avoid red for example, because it can be considered a bit aggressive
- Take care of the notch and avoid tight clothing or too loose. Both extremes will not play in your favor.
- Let the wardrobe basics be your best friends.
- Take care of the details: hair, makeup, perfume, hands, wallet, shoes, etc.
- Less is more. Basic rule of style.
And all this must be complemented with an excellent attitude, a sincere smile, and a lot of confidence in yourself.