First impressions. In a perfect world there'd be no such thing and we could all be judged on a well-considered, thoroughly-in-context third or fourth impression. But as anyone who's crossed the road to avoid a menacing 18th century pirate only to realise it's a genial hipster with nautical tattoos, a voluminous beard, a cutlass, a tricorne hat with a massive feather and a king parrot on her shoulder knows: the world isn't perfect.
I started a new job recently and was unclear about the expected office dress standard. First impression anxiety kicked in and I erred on the side of caution. I turned up on my first day in a tuxedo and tap shoes. I panicked just before getting out of the lift and removed my cummerbund, which might be considered showy.
It ended up being a jeans-and-T-shirt deal but I don't regret my choice; my miscalculation became a brilliant first-day ice-breaker (mainly because everyone under 35 had never seen brown velour before and wanted to touch it).
The moral of the story is avoid hedging your bets. If you're not sure about what to wear, either dress for the ballroom or nude up.
If you're not sure whether to shake hands with those you're introduced to on Morning One, either reject their hand or go the full Mark Latham.
If you can't for the life of you remember your boss's name, either take wild stabs like "Storm" and "Quincy" or remain totally silent until week eight.
When it comes to first impressions, don't mess with Mr In-Between. Unless he's wearing brown velour. Or a king parrot.