Dressing to Impress: Appropriate Professional Attire

  • Skills and abilities are important, but appearance counts

  • First impressions are made within minutes of meeting someone and shape all future impressions

  • Research the company style beforehand and dress appropriately - It is helpful to dress for the position you want


Learn The Employer’s Dress Style

Research the culture of the employer. A more conservative employer (accounting, finance, law, etc.) will require more conservative dress. A more creative employer (retail, marketing, real estate, etc.) might offer more flexibility. It is okay to ask employers about their organization's dress code.


Trust Your Instincts When Selecting Interview Attire

If you have to ask "can i wear this?" then the answer should always be "no." When in doubt about what to wear err on the conservative side. Avoid low-cut blouses, high stilettos, miniskirts, flashy ties, etc. Always try on your outfit prior to the interview day. Don't forget to look at the back of your outfit to ensure you have a polished look coming and going.


Business Professional Attire

Business professional suggests a conservative style. It is expected when interviewing with an employer unless stated otherwise. Attention to detail, impeccable grooming, and a well-fitting suit are vital to making a good first and lasting impression.


Business Casual Attire

Dress code policies have been changing for the last decade. Appropriate business casual dress typically includes slacks or khakis, dress shirt or blouse, open collar or polo shirt, optional tie or seasonal sport coat, a dress or skirt at knee-length or below, a tailored blazer, knit shirt or sweater, and loafers or dress shoes that cover all or most of the foot.


The Suit

Choose a classic, neutral suit in charcoal, black or navy. Avoid suits that conform to trends. Skirt suits are appropriate feminine attire as long as the skirt hits or covers the knee and there are no large slits. Make sure the suit flatters your body type and fits well, not too tight or loose.


The Dress Shirt

Choose shirts in a pale, subtle color (i.e. blue, white, ecru). Avoid shirts with insignias.
Long sleeved, button-up shirts are most appropriate. Pointed collars give a more professional image than button down collars, yet both are acceptable. Wearing a crew-neck undershirt or camisole under your dress shirt is advisable to preserve modesty and add finish to the look.


Shoes & Belt

Shoes that match your suit or are slightly darker are the best choice in colors, such as brown, black, tan, or navy. The shoe should have a real sole (no sneakers, sandals, or street shoes) and a closed toe. Avoid platforms and heels higher than 2 inches. Shoes should be polished and in good condition. Be sure to wear socks that cover your calves and match your pants. Belts should be in good condition and match the color of your shoes.

Find the balance between showing your personality and dressing according to what is appropriate for the job. You got this!