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What to Wear! Professional Dress for Men and Women

First impressions are everything! When you are going to a job fair or interview you never get a second opportunity to make a great first impression.

For each business the level of appropriate dress is different, so dress conservatively for an interview. Remember it is better to be overdressed than under dressed. You want to be remembered for what you say and not for what you were wearing.

Professional Dressing Tips for Women

  • Dress suits (can be pants or skirt) in conservative colors (black, gray, navy)
    • Skirt length should be just above or right below knees
    • Wear nylons that match your skin tone
  • Wear a shirt with a collar or high neck line underneath
    • Tuck in collared shirts so the tails are not hanging out from under the suit coat
    • Make sure the shirt is IRONED
  • Socks or nylons should complement outfit
    • No holes
  • Shoes should complement outfit
    • No scuff marks, polish them
    • Close toed lower heeled shoes that are comfortable
    • Make sure you can walk in them!
  • Makeup – Subtle amount
  • Longer Hair
    o Tie all back or put half of it up, this way you do not play with it
    o Side swept bangs make sure to keep them out of your eyes
  • Select small and simple jewelry pieces
    • Example-watch, a single ring, and small earrings
    • No dangly earrings or bangle bracelets
    • If you play with a necklace or ring when nervous do not wear them
  • View Interview Dress Candid Career Videos for more tips and tricks

Professional Dressing Tips for Men

  • Suit coat or sports jacket (darker colors)
    • ALWAYS button top button of jacket, SOMETIMES button second one, and NEVER button the third
  • Dress pants (black or charcoal grey) 
  • Long-sleeved button up solid colored shirt underneath (blue or white)
    • Must be IRONED
  • Ties - wrinkle free, simple but complementary to suit
  • Socks – complement suit, should be mid-calf in height
  • Color of belt and shoes should match
  • Polished lace up shoes
    • Could wear slip-on shoes but tie are more formal
  • Clean Shaven
  • Shorter Hair – if longer MUST tie back
  • Jewelry should be minimal-wear a simple watch and either a wedding or one ring
  • View Interview Dress Candid Career Videos for more tips and tricks

General Dressing Tips for Everyone

  • Practice good grooming habits
  • Do not use too much cologne or perfume
    • The interviewer(s) could be allergic or highly sensitive to smells
  • Rule of 13-No more than 13 pieces of jewelry including buttons
  • Remove facial piercings (lip, eyebrow, nose, tongue)
  • Tailor pants and/or suit for appropriate fit
  • Check details of clothing--look for loose buttons, remove tags, and use a lint brush
  • Cover tattoos
  • No gum chewing
    • It can be distracting if you are chewing your gum while talking.
    • Use breath mints
  • Carry a professional binder with resume, pen, notepad, and questions

On a budget:

  • Suits are a great investment
    • Talk to parents about lending you money or purchasing you one for Christmas or birthday presents
    • Ask for gift cards to a mall instead of a specific store
  • Shop on the off season
  • Watch for coupons and sales
  • Check out multiple stores before deciding on items
  • It is not necessary to purchase high-priced designer items. QUALITY is the key.
  • Invest in classic, well-made separates in order to mix and match your wardrobe 
  • Can’t afford a new try:
    • Consignment shops
    • Goodwill
    • Borrow from a friend or family member
  • You do not want to wait until the last minute to do this, so start early!

Last Modified: 9/9/22 10:21 AM | Website Feedback