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students in suits

Dress To Impress - Professional Attire

Preparing for an interview, job fair, or other professional event? Never fear--Career Services is here! We've provided illustrations, videos, and articles to help you prepare for any professional occasion. Dress for the success you deserve!

When polling college recruiters, 40% cited image as the reason they reject qualified candidates. Proper dress/appearance may not be a reason for getting a job - however, improper dress/appearance is the most common reason candidates do not get a job. The job seeker should dress for a position two levels higher than the one he/she is being interviewed. When in doubt, conservative clothing choice for your interview is usually the safest.


What to Wear

What to wear?

This guide demonstrates acceptable Business Professional and Business Casual Attire for your upcoming events.

Note: For interviews, always choose Business Professional attire.

  • Light button-up shirt
  • Portfolio
  • Pressed suit
  • Appropriate length skirt (if applicable)
  • Polished, closed-toe shoes
  • Natural looking makeup (if applicable)
  • Fresh haircut
  • Clean shaven (if applicable)
  • Appropriate tie (if applicable)
What Not to Wear

What Not to Wear

Have you ever made any of these non-professional fashion "fopaux"? Use this guide to find out what's NOT appropriate to wear in any professional setting. Don't be embarrassed by making any of these mistakes at your next Job Fair or interview.

  • Sunglasses
  • Casual shirt and shorts
  • Unprofessional bag
  • Unprofessional bracelets
  • Backpacks
  • Open-toe shoes
  • Loose tie
  • Rolled up sleeves
  • popped collar
  • Holey jeans
  • Hands in pockets
  • Lanyards
  • Unprofessional shoes

Tips For Success

  • Suits - best colors are dark blue or navy, solid gray, blue/gray shadow plaid. First choice of material should be 100% wool. 2nd choice is polyester/wool blend. Avoid less than 45% wool. 100% silk ties are the best in solid or small conservative patterns.
  • Conservative skirted suit in navy blue, dark brown or dark gray are best. Skirt length should be at or slightly above the knee.
  • Shirts should be cotton or 65% polyester/35%cotton blend in white or solid colors. White shirts are best. They give the impression the wearer is intelligent, honest, and successful. NEVER wear short sleeves. Blouses should be white or ivory, long sleeve with modest neckline.
  • Shoes match your suit. Clean and polished; heels no higher than 2 1/2 inches. No open-toed, open-heeled shoes.
  • Wear natural looking make-up.
  • No perfume/cologne. Clean bathed appearance.
  • Subtle color nail polish.
  • One pair of earrings, one ring on each hand, one necklace, professional-looking watch, one bracelet (Nothing dangling or distracting).
  • No facial hair and a conservative haircut is preferable.

(Taken from John T. Molloy's New Dress for Success and New Women's Dress for Success)

Job Fair Dress

When attending job fairs, dress should be professional. If you are looking for a job or networking for next year, your appearance may be helpful in securing an interview or may be a strike against you. If you are attending for class credit, please remember that you will be a job seeker in a year or two and the recruiters may remember you. Please, no flip flops, t-shirts, caps and backpacks. Backpacks may be left at the registration table and picked up when you are leaving. Remember... you can only make ONE first impression.