Attire tips for the graduate heading into world of work

  • By Cristina Bolling The Charlotte Observer
  • Saturday, June 7, 2014 1:15pm
  • Life

You’ve earned the degree, nailed the interview and scored that first job. Now, it’s time to look the part.

Navigating out of the casual college wardrobe and into workplace-appropriate outfits can be a pricey puzzle, but it doesn’t have to be.

Every workplace has its own style from buttoned-up banks to the colorful creative environments. The trick is to quickly figure out what’s appropriate and practical for your line of work.

Some rules always apply: People who look put-together and take care in their appearance will make a better first impression than those who dress sloppily.

And new hires should try to draw attention to their work ethic and skills not to what they’re wearing.

“If you have to ask somebody if what you’re wearing is work appropriate, it’s probably not,” said Jessica Hensen, a corporate recruiter for the marketing company Red Ventures, based in Fort Mill, S.C.

Red Ventures has a relaxed approach to dress; even CEO Ric Elias wears jeans and a polo to work most days.

But Hensen stresses that although company leaders believe “you don’t have to be dressed in a suit to be professional and successful,” certain things are no-nos: short skirts, ripped jeans and tank tops.

At MetLife’s Charlotte, N.C., office, there’s a more formal approach.

Workers in sales who interact with customers wear suits and ties, while those who don’t see customers follow business-casual style with a collared shirt and dress pants.

Some departments allow jeans on Fridays, but not the ripped or casual kind; structured jeans in darker denim are the norm.

“We know everyone wants to be an original and stand out, but from a corporate standpoint, a little bit more conservative is better,” said Jason Moore, sales desk manager in MetLife’s office in Charlotte’s Ballantyne neighborhood.

Women are advised to wear closed-toe shoes instead of sandals, and men to wear lace-up shoes “that don’t resemble anything like a sneaker.”

“If you run into (a high-level manager) in the elevator, think about how you want to look in front of that person,” Moore said, “so think of it as an interview every day.”

More in Life

Secret garden: Privacy trees that won’t outgrow a small space

These plants offer some height to block out unwanted sights without taking over your yard.

‘Young Sheldon’ was born out of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

The hit TV show about Sheldon Cooper now has a spinoff series about him when he was a kid genius.

Reminder: Historic Everett’s self-guided home tour is today

The featured home depicted in the tour poster painting by Everett artist Elizabeth Person.

Home and Garden calendar for Snohomish County and beyond

Seattle Home Show 2: The fall version of the oldest and largest… Continue reading

Great Plant Pick: Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

This red-foliaged switch grass makes a good specimen but also creates a bold statement in a drift.

Plant these late bloomers to brighten up your shade garden

In this follow-up to a column on sunny borders, Steve Smith lists flowers to liven up a dark yard.

Do you know the joke about a set of special-order dishes?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A black-and-white design for colorful plates was sent to China…

Megyn Kelly hopes for a Trump-free zone with new daily show

She says her morning talk show, which debuts Monday on NBC, will not focus on politics.

Beer of the Week: 5 Rights Brewing’s Fresh hop imperial IPA

The Marysville brewery named its beer Wobbly the Laborer after the Industrial Workers of the World.

Most Read