What to Wear: New Job Edition


A new job comes with new opportunities, challenges and, most likely, a new dress code. A friend asked me this week “I need new clothes for my new job, but I have no idea what to wear.” There are a lot of pressures about starting a new position and your wardrobe should not be one of them. Guys, here are a few guidelines to help you look your best in your new job. (I’m linking each main point to some of my previous Fashion Friday post of relevance for more in depth information).

what not to wear to the office


Ask. Don’t interpret. Business, business casual, casual, Friday casual, west coast casual, east coast casual are all subjective to interpretation down to the part of town you’ll be working. I have seen branches of the same company in the same city have different dress codes because of the area of town they were located. So don’t assume you know what the employee manual says, just ask and dress appropriately. 

When in doubt, step it up. Sometimes even after asking, you might not feel 100 percent sure of what to wear. Most of the time the difference between “casual” and “business casual” falls on being able to wear jeans in a casual environment. You will not regret wearing the nicer option inside any category. For example not all jeans are created equal. If you are allowed to wear jeans, you cannot go wrong with a dark pair that’s simple and yet stylish. Safe brands like Guess and 7 for All Mankind have great options and will set you apart with those who know the difference.  Avoid big embroidered pockets or jeans with holes. Stay away from Diesel and True Religion brands unless you know what you’re doing. It could be disastrous. People ask me about skinny jeans all the time. You can only wear skinny jeans if

1) you have girl legs,

2) your job is to be the lead singer of a boy band,

3) you’re a middle age worship leader holding on to your dream of being at the Catalyst stage, and you have girl legs.

If everyone is wearing khakis (no pleats, for the love) your shirt will set up apart. Here’s a rule of thumb: the better fitted the shirt is, the better you’ll look. Make sure the shirt does not droop at the shoulders or has a ton of extra material around your midriff . If you’re not a fashion forward kind of guy, avoid bold patterns. And, unless you’re an actor in a 80’s play, please no button downs. No one has ever gone wrong with a long sleeve shirt. Short sleeves are tricky and you need the right stuff and attitude to pull them off. Try them at your own risk.

Take your lead from above. No, I don’t mean prayer. Even though I know some guys who don’t pray because if they did, God would have told them to change clothes. Look at what your boss and his peers are wearing. You cannot go wrong with emulating your supervisor. But whatever you do, please don’t buy the same clothing items otherwise very bad things will happen to you.

It’s casual Friday not casualty Friday. Please don’t be “that guy.” You know whom I’m talking about. He takes casual to a whole new low and ruins it for the rest of us. Be casual not sloppy or dirty or smelly.

whew! This is way more than I intended to write.

Anything critical I forgot?


  • Awesome post Maurilio!

  • Mark Jeffress

    What about wearing ties? 

  • Christian

    Guy friends don’t let guy friends wear skinny jeans.

  • Rick

    Recently enjoyed a dinner cruise with my wife (it was our 20th) and the dress code was semi-formal – never knew that ball caps & shorts were semi-formal. 

    Needless to say, I was one of only 3 guys with a coat on, but it was easier to dress down by removing it than dress up after the fact. 

    • It’s a sad day when goobers show up in ball caps and shorts for a “semi formal dinner.” However, the venue is at blame for allowing them to attend. When I went to Commander’s Palace in New Orleans I didn’t have a coat but they provided one for me. And I rewarded them by spending a boat load of money on a dinner for myself.

      You’re right. It’s always easy to remove a coat or tie than to do the opposite.

  • Great tips man!

  • Maurilio – Thanks for the tips.

    I know this doesn’t really apply to “what you wear”, but I think it’s related. We need to mention jewelry and body piercings. It has to be situation-appropriate. If one’s applying for a business job, then less is better. If one’s applying for a job at a retail store which sells jewelry, then maybe a little amount of jewelry is good. If you’re at a dinner party, jewelry is appropriate. If you’re at a night club or concert, then body piercing might be appropriate.

    Another think I find bothersome when interviewing, is when someone has too much cologne or perfume. They don’t realize that when they step into someone’s office or conference room, and the door is closed, all the smelly stuff can be a distraction.

  • canderson

    never choose your wardrobe with the sole intention of staying “relevant”… it always turns out badly.

    Relevant Dress, Fail

    • My rule of thumb is never to buy anything that you are not comfortable wearing, because you most likely will not be able to pull it off. Upgrade your style and don’t try to be something you cannot.

      • Canderson

        Agreed! Love Craig Groeschel’s comment, young people are looking for authenticity from their leaders. Not someone struggling to stay relevant. I think that’s true in all arenas of life.

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