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.
Check out our Pinterest page for pictures and examples of professional dress.
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, 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 & 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.