Guide to Professional Dress

The Career Services office recommends a conservative, professional approach to a person’s dress. While it is best to stick to simple and well-established styles, Individuals should make sure to identify the culture of their potential workplace prior to their interview.

Clothing styles evolve and change over time but by keeping it simple, you can relieve some stress of picking the perfect outfit. What we hope you accomplish is for you to feel comfortable and professional in your attire. The more comfortable you feel the both you and your potential employer can focus on what you have to offer as a potential employee.

Basic Dress

  • Matching suit jacket and pants or knee length skirt
    • Choose a darker color
    • If you do not own a suit, a coordinating blazer is a great substitute

  • Stick with white or lighter colored solid shirts/blouses
    • Faint prints are acceptable

  • Coordinating solid or conservatively patterned neck tie

  • Dress shoes or closed toe heels in coordinating color
    • Heels should be sturdy and at a height you can walk comfortably in

  • Matching plain dress socks; or black socks

  • Good leather belt that coordinates with shoe color

Details to Strengthen Your Look

  • Test fit your interview attire when you begin your job search
    • If clothes are too tight or loose fitting this provides time to tailor the fit

  • Have garments press or dry-cleaned prior to date of interview

  • Keep your pockets from bulging by keeping personal items in a brief case or good quality bag or purse
    • Cloth or tattered bags or purses should not be used

  • Clean and shine your heels or shoes
    • Coordinate your belt with your shoes

  • Get a haircut a few days ahead; stick with a natural hair color

  • Go clean shaven or, if you have facial hair, have it freshly trimmed

  • Finger nails should be clean and without distracting color

  • If you choose to wear makeup, pick a fresh natural look that avoids bright eye shadow and liner

Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Avoid smoking cigarettes; smoke can linger on your clothes

  • Heavily applied cologne or perfume

  • Distracting or excessive jewelry
    • Flashy, large or long earrings, necklaces or chains
    • Limit rings to wedding or class rings

  • Sport, digital or casual watches

  • Keep shirts and blouses conservatively buttoned

  • Stay away from novelty socks

  • Do not wear “dress” sneakers