During the last years of my studies and for the first year after I finished, I was working for different companies that required different dresscodes – and although they sometimes used the same terminology, mostly they had different interpretations. To make it easier for you to dress the right way when starting on a new job, I wrote a little dresscode guide for you!
Companies without dresscode | Casual
Most companies don’t really have a dresscode – as long as your shorts and skirts are long enough over the summer months, you can wear almost everything you like. It’s a bit as in highschool. Just pay attention that it’s not too sexy and you’re fine. This is the easiest dresscode mostly, as you can just wear your every day outfits to work.
Business Casual & Smart Casual
Most companies require a business casual or smart casual look. For smart casual, jeans and sneakers are fine, for business casual not. Mostly, when the dresscode is business casual, you also need to pay attention that you skirts or dresses are not too short or too tight. Better go for khaki pants, longer skirts and some nice shoes to go with your blazer and blouse.
Also, make sure not to choose colors that are too bright. Black, grey, white and dark blue are your best friends when it comes to business dresscodes – but that’s something that can be very different depending on the company you’re with!
The business professional dresscode is the one that limits you the most in your personal interpretation. It usually means suits for both, men and women, as well as nice blouses and flats or heels (but obviously not too high). Again, the color rule applies here.
Some companies have rules that go even further: they specify the colors you are allowed to wear, how thick your tights have to be and how high the heels of your shoes can be. And that women are not allowed to wear flats. In these cases, you just have to stick to the dresscode – which is not too bad either, as you don’t have to think about what to wear every morning. It’s pretty much the same every day anyways!
How do I know what I have to wear?
Sometimes you just know – when working for a big company or a bank for example. And if you don’t, you usually get a good indication when you are there for your interview (for which you should always wear business professional, except if the nature of the company is more casual).
I had two jobs where I didn’t get an indication during my interview, because it was on the phone. In these cases, the company will inform you beforehand which dresscode is applicable – usually. And if not: ask! It’s always better to ask than to show up underdressed just because you didn’t know.
My tip: overdressed is better than underdressed. Stick to the “official” definition of the applicable dresscode on your first day or even during your first week. Take a look around – and then just adapt to your colleagues!