Professional dress is a big factor in the first impression you give, so it's important to put thought into your attire. However, your outfit should not steal attention from the skills and experience you offer.
For job interviews, career fairs and in many work environments, it is generally better to over-dress than to under-dress. While there are some distinctions between dress across industries, at a minimum you should dress business casual.
In selecting a dress shirt or blouse, it is recommended to avoid distracting colors or patterns. Ensure your shirt is wrinkle-free. Avoid low necklines, open backs and see-through materials.
Slacks or a skirt should be worn rather than jeans or leggings. For skirts, knee-length is recommended. Slacks or pants should not be too tight.
For a more formal look, a suit jacket can be paired with a coordinating pair of pants, a skirt or a dress. Business formal jackets are typically darker colors and should not be excessively loose.
Shoes should complement the professional outfit and are typically black or brown. Avoid open-toed or flashy shoes, as well as worn-out or scuffed footwear. Heels should be less than three inches.
Hair and Accessories:
Hair should be clean, neatly styled and out of your face. It is highly recommended that facial hair be trimmed and neat. Accessories should never detract from your professional image, so err on the side of simple jewelry, ties, watches and makeup.
- Overall, your aim is to look professional and put-together but NOT to draw attention to your outfit.
- One of the best ways to figure out what to wear is by observing successful managers and employees within the organization.
- Don’t feel that you need to spend a fortune on a workplace wardrobe. Stores like Target, Ross and Marshalls all offer professional attire for affordable prices, and in many cases, thrift and consignment stores can be a great place to find gently worn slacks, jackets, skirts and shoes. Invest in at least a few professional outfits so that you will always be ready to dress for a job interview.