One of the first questions our Jobblers (workers) ask when they’re hired to a new gig is, “What do I wear?” As a gig worker myself, I know how crazy our schedules can be. When you’re picking up work with new companies in new places and maybe even in new job types, it can be overwhelming. The last thing you want to do is have to go out and buy new clothes for a temporary position.
To help alleviate wardrobe worries, here are 3 items every gig worker should have in their closet. This default unofficial gig uniform can help ensure you have at least some of the most common clothing items companies want their workers to wear.
1. Black Shoes
When I say black shoes, I mean plain, all-black shoes. There are different types of shoes that can fit this category, and I recommend taking a minute to think about the types of work you do.
If you’re like me, I tend to seek out brand ambassador or event roles. That means I have a pair of comfortable, all-black shoes that don’t have logos or designs on them. They’re also comfortable (not too tight, no major heel) so I can be prepared to stand or walk for my whole shift.
If you’re in hospitality, food service, or even a cleaning role, you should consider finding plain black shoes that have non-slip soles. They don’t have to be expensive – I found a pair at Walmart and the Tredsafe brand has gotten me through years of restaurant shifts (without any major slips!)
Some hiring companies may specify that they want black shoes that are not sneakers. If that’s the case, keep an eye out for shoes like flats, loafers or even dress shoes. And don’t forget black or dark colored socks — no one needs to see white crew socks peeking out from your otherwise professional-looking outfit.
2. Plain Black Top
Some gig jobs will tell you if you will receive a t-shirt, sweater, vest or jacket as part of your gig uniform when you arrive at your shift. But, even if you’re getting something to wear, we recommend going to your job in a plain black top. Staff often wear black for it’s easy uniformity and because it’s subtle (you’d stand out way more in a bright red or yellow top). Going in something that is plain and logo-less will help you look professional even if you’re not on the clock yet!
You can choose between a short-sleeve or long-sleeve shirt based on your environment. If you’re likely to be indoors (like at an event or conference), a long-sleeve shirt could be perfect to layer under your provided shirt if you get cold! I recommend reserving your plain black top for work-purposes (that way, you know it isn’t going to get too worn out or be dirty when you need to wear it next!)
3. Plain Black Pants
Just like your plain black top, plain black pants can help you look professional while also being simple enough to match to any top. It’s important to note: some employers will specify if denim (like black jeans) or yoga/athletic pants are allowed. It’s okay to ask a hiring manager to specify if they say “black pants” and you’re not sure. Better to ask than be turned away for not wearing the right clothing.
I absolutely recommend having a durable pair of black dress pants to rely on as part of your gig uniform. Like the plain black top, I’d advise that you keep your work pants aside and only use it for work, so you know it’s clean and ready to go whenever your next shift comes. (The worst thing is to have to stress about getting laundry done before you need to work the next day!)
- Amazon Essentials: Men’s 2-Pack Regular-Fit Short-Sleeve Crewneck Pocket T-Shirt
- Target: Haggar H26 Men’s Tailored Fit Premium Stretch Suit Pants
- TredSafe: Men’s Gary Slip Resistant Oxford Shoes
- Amazon Essentials: Women’s Studio Relaxed-Fit Lightweight Crewneck T-Shirt
- Women’s Wide Leg Bi-Stretch Twill Pants – A New Day™
- Easy Works by Easy Street: Leeza Women’s Slip Resistant Clog Work Shoe
*Note: These are not affiliate links and are just examples of the items outlined above.
Okay, What Else Should I Wear?
This post is full of generic, cover-your-bases advice that I’ve found helped me over my years as a gig worker. But, when in doubt, the best thing you can do is ask your hiring manager. Each gig could be different. These three suggestions are best for indoor, brand ambassador or hospitality gigs. If you work outdoors or more hands-on, labor-intensive gigs, there’s a whole different set of recommendations we will post later on.
At the end of the day, my best advice is this:
- If you’re not sure, ask
- Having plain, comfortable and un-logoed clothes can get you a long way
- Make sure you’re looking out for things your managers don’t want (like denim or sneakers)
Comfort and professionalism will help guide you with what to wear. And, it’s corny, but don’t forget your smile too!
About the Author: Jesi Bolandrina is the Content Marketing Manager at Jobble. As a former gig worker, she knows how hard it can be to feel like you know what you’re doing in an ever-changing workforce. She’s your go-to for news and information from career development, to health and wellness, to finances and more. She curates Jobble’s blog, articles and is the editor of The Everyday Hustle newsletter. If you have any ideas for topics Jobble should cover, let her know.