There are three types of business attire.
- Interview Attire
- Professional Attire
- Business Casual Attire
What is Interview Attire?
- Black, navy, and dark gray suits with little or no pattern (i.e., pinstripes or
plaid). Well-pressed, long-sleeved white collared shirts (light subdued colors
like pale blue may be appropriate, but classic black or dark colors with white
- Simple ties with minimal patterns and tame colors.
When to wear Interview Attire
- Formal business meeting
- Formal presentations
- When a first impression is extremely important
- When you are uncertain of the attire
What is Professional Attire?
- More expressive and unique colors and styles can be incorporated, as can more
pronounced patterns (i.e., pinstripes and plaids).
- May include skirt suits, pant suits, and blazers and pants that coordinate but
are not matching colors.
- Suit jackets are not required.
- A nice shirt or blouse
- Ties optional
- Pressed pants or a skirt is appropriate.
- Long or short sleeves
- Less formal materials (such as tweed)
When to wear Professional Attire
- An established job that allows more freedom in attire
- Less formal meetings and presentations
Business Casual Attire
What is Business Casual Attire?
- Polo shirts, khakis, and sweaters
- Short sleeves
- More freedom in colors, patterns and materials
When to wear Business Casual Attire
- When the company dress code allows it
- When it is clear that all members of an organization are wearing it
General Tips and Guidelines
Regardless of the type of attire, the following guidelines should always be
- Properly iron clothing (pants creased, shirts neatly pressed).
- Have your clothing items for important interviews or meetings dry cleaned and
ready to wear.
- Wear properly fitting attire; avoid tight clothing or too big/loose
- Walk and sit in your clothing to ensure comfort.
- A black leather portfolio for note-taking or carrying resumes
- A black or brown shoulder bag or briefcase is appropriate.
- In the case of uncertainty, err on the side of too formal.
- Once a part of the company, be sure to gather as much insight into your attire
as possible through a company’s dress code and by observing what other employees
Guidelines more specific to women include the following:
- Subdued hair, makeup, jewelry, and nails (becomes less stringent in business
- Skirts should fall at the knee.
- If wearing a skirt, wear nylons that match your outfit.
- Avoid knee-high boots, stilettos, and open-toed shoes.
- Shoes comfortable for walking and standing
- Belt and shoes that match
- A small black or brown handbag is appropriate but consolidating all items into a
single bag is ideal.
Guidelines more specific to men include the following:
- Pants that hit the shoe and never touch or drag on the floor
- Socks that are calf-length and neutral colors matching your pants (black, navy,
brown, gray, or tan)
- No earrings
For more information about Dress for Success guidelines, click
here for our Dress for Success