Dress for Success "Clothes make the person." How a person dresses makes a statement about one's self-identification, image conveyed to others, and level of occupational aspiration.
Business Formal Do’s and Don’ts
The Do’s • Chose a solid color, 2 piece skirt or pants suit. • Chose Dark or neutral colors such as black, navy, or charcoal never bright colors such as red and never white! • Select a 2 or 3 button jacket. • Women, select a skirt length complementary to your build but is no shorter than two inches about the knee.
Do’s Continued • Women select a white or ecru silk or silk blend shell for your suit. • Men select a white or light blue shirt and a blue, red, or neutral tie. • Do be sure your suit fits properly. Have your suit professionally altered if necessary. • Women: ALWAYS WEAR HOSE (select neutral color hose).
Do’s Continued Women: • Select a conservative necklace/or scarf, wear 1 pair of earrings, 1 watch and 1 or 2 rings. • Wear light makeup including: blush, and mascara. • Men: • Depending on the industry, any jewelry beyond a watch and wedding ring may be inappropriate • Facial hair is discouraged, but it must be neat and trimmed if you don’t want to get rid of it completely. • Polish your leather shoes before each day of interviewing. • Be sure you have well manicured nails. Women may wear polish that is a pale or natural color.
The Don’ts • Don’t select print blouse or shirt. • Don’t arrive in either a suit that is too big or too small. • Women: Don’t wear a shirt that exposes anything below your collar bones. • Never, ever arrive in a Business environment without stockings or socks • Men- never wear white socks. Socks should match your pants.
Don’ts Continued • Don’t wear open toed/heel shoes • Don't arrive in a sheer blouse. • Don't arrive in clunky jewelry. • Don’t wear perfume or cologne. • Don't arrive with chapped/unsightly hands.
The Suit • While men are usually limited to either solid or pinstripe suits, a woman can add to this list the varied category of patterns. • Dark colors are best, whether it’s charcoal gray, navy blue, or black. • Dresses with a matching jacket are an acceptable alternative to a suit for women in less conservative fields.
No saggy pants Make sure the hem of the pants don't get caught in the back of your shoe as you walk, don't get stepped on, or aren't too short. Generally your pants should cover the top part of your shoe. The Suit .
The Suit Women: How long a skirt should you wear? • In general it is best to stay knee length or below! • Make sure you can sit down in comfort without having the skirt soar up! • You want to be concentrating on your interactions with employers not worrying about staying covered up!!
Men’s Suits - Style • Single-breasted style is appropriate • 2, 3, or 4 button styles are fine, but always leave the bottom button undone. • 4 button style may not be traditional enough for some jobs. • Sleeves should fall at wrist, with the shirt ¼”-1/2” longer
Shirts & Ties • White, 100% cotton is best, but light blue is acceptable as well. • Wear a plain t-shirt underneath • Silk ties are preferred, as they tie easier. • Ties can be visually bold, and look best when the contrast the shirt and suit colors.
Alternatives to the Suit • Women can choose a dress-and-blazer combination or separates instead of the traditional suit. • Men can wear slacks with a blazer or for more casual environments, slacks with a button up shirt and no jacket. • A blazer with sweater with a skirt or slacks is acceptable. • Neatly pressed chinos, khakis are also acceptable for the very casual business environment.
Shirts and Sweaters • Underneath a suit jacket, wear a tailored shirt. • A fine gauge, good quality sweater is also appropriate. • Women: A white, off white or light blue cotton or silk blouse with conservative necklines and hidden or conservative buttons.
Cosmetics • Women: A little make up is usually better than none for a polished look but be conservative in your color choices. • Nails should be clean and well groomed and in conservative tones. • Women: avoid extremes of nail length and polish color, especially in conservative industries.
Jewelry / Accessories • Keep your accessory choices simple and leaning toward conservative. • Definitely limit pierced jewelry to ears only. Do not wear nose or tongue jewelry. • Cover any tattoos and avoid gaudy jewelry. • If your industry is creative, you may have more flexibility than someone pursuing a conservative industry.
Shoes • Women: • Black, navy or brown closed-toe pumps or sling backs. • Avoid mules or slides. • Men • Wing tip, cap toe, or split toe are standard. • Lace-up is preferred over slide-in. • Dress shoes in black, burgundy or brown are best. • Shoes should be polished, and comfortable!
Bag / Briefcase • Women: • If you carry a purse, keep it small and simple, especially if you also carry a briefcase. • Purse color should coordinate with your shoes. • You may choose to carry a briefcase • Leather is the best choice for briefcases; micro fiber or fine wovens are also acceptable. • A leather folio is a great choice for both men and women.
Examples • The following pictures are examples of common interview attire for women.