When preparing to move across the world, one of the first questions incoming JETs ask themselves is what to pack. Japan is often viewed as an extremely conservative culture, and in many ways that is true. However, that does not mean you need to abandon your personal style and comfort. The important thing is being able to feel like yourself while still being work-appropriate. So what is work appropriate, anyways?

The strictness of dress codes varies by school or office, so you’ll have to contact your predecessor for specifics. However, most places follow the same general trends: guys wear dress slacks and a dress shirt (or polo shirt in the summer), girls wear dress slacks or modest skirts/dresses and dress shirts or modest blouses. Some schools require guys to wear a tie, but not all. CIRs may have a more formal dress code due to their placement in a government office. Elementary school ALTs may have a more casual dress code, as a lot of their job involves playing with the students at recess and getting dirty.

But that’s a very vague description, ne? So, we thought we’d put together a few examples and guidelines for you so you can get a good idea of what to start packing! Check out the categories below to help answer all of your packing questions.