If you’re starting a new job, you could be shocked to find out the company may have a dress code. While we often think that in the modern age, companies have abandoned old ideas about how to dress at work, that’s not always the case.
Whether you love expressing yourself through fashion or not, the idea of working somewhere with a dress code can be intimidating.
Learning how to simplify your professional wardrobe will be one of the best things you can do in this situation.
The following are things to know about a workplace dress code and how you can make it work for yourself.
Why Do Companies Have Dress Codes?
You may be wondering why your employer or potential employer would even have a dress code, but there are a few good reasons. It should also be noted that a dress code doesn’t inherently mean you have to dress up. It can still be business casual, but you just have to follow certain guidelines.
Whether or not a dress code is formal will likely depend on how many outside interactions employees have on any given day with clients or customers.
Formality can also depend on the industry. For example, you’re likely to see a much more formal dress code in a financial firm or bank compared to a tech company.
So why have them at all?
First, it lets your company manage how its viewed by the outside world. Employees are representatives of the company. Your clothes can represent the overall corporate values of the place where you work.
Employees often end up liking dress codes because it takes guesswork out of what to wear for them.
There’s also a sense of equality that can come from a dress code. When everyone’s wearing similar clothes, managers can think about the skills and qualifications of employees and focus less on things like their appearance.
Dress codes also eliminate the uncertainty that can come with varying definitions of what’s appropriate to wear to work.
How to Dress for Work
Whether your workplace has a dress code or not, learning how to dress appropriately in a professional environment is an important part of your career.
The following are some fashion tips to keep in mind, most of which will likely be in line with your company’s dress code.
A Smaller Wardrobe Is Easier
There’s the term capsule wardrobe that you should get to know. A capsule wardrobe will usually have fewer than 30 individual items, and that includes your clothing as well as your shoes and accessories.
Each item should be as high-quality as you can afford but also as versatile.
Keep it focused on the season you’re in, and whatever’s out of season, store it.
This will make your life easier, and you can make sure that each item you select for your capsule wardrobe is in line with your employer’s dress code.
You’re cutting down on decision fatigue by having a small, succinct, and professional wardrobe.
You can put your energy on more important things when there’s less for you to think about as far as what you wear.
Since the idea of a capsule wardrobe is quality over quantity, you can splurge on special items when your budget allows, such as a great pair of shoes.
Building a Professional Capsule Wardrobe
As you build your wardrobe that’s going to be easy for you and in-line with your company’s policies, remember the following:
- Go through and do a bit of the Marie Kondo method on your existing work clothes. Keep only what you really love, and get rid of the rest. If your closet is filled with items you don’t even like, you’re just making things harder for yourself.
- Your wardrobe needs to be built on a foundation of neutrals. When you have mostly neutrals, it’s much easier to pair pieces together.
- Consider statement pieces, as long as they work with your company dress code. Think about whether that might be jewelry or shoes, for example.
- Choose items that are timeless and avoid trends.
Some people don’t like the idea of a workplace dress code but think of it in terms of the positives. It gives you a chance to be more productive because you’re less focused on your clothes.
It also helps you learn how to be a true professional, which can be one of the big perks of working somewhere with a dress code early on in your career.