Here is a basic breakdown of what to wear to different business events. For more specific do's and don'ts, read on in the "Women's Business Attire" and "Men's Business Attire" links at the bottom of the page.

Business Professional — Interviews, Site Visits, Career Fairs, Mock Interviews

Business Casual — Employer Information Sessions, Etiquette Dinners ("Bite This")

Student Attire — Business Basics Seminars, Pinterest

Women's Business Professional Attire Do's

Suit — A conservative skirt or pants suit in black, navy, gray, or brown is best.

Blouse — Neat, pressed, and clean traditional button-down, collared or simple round neckline shirt in conservative and basic colors such as white or light pastel.

Shoes — Clean and presentable dress shoe in an appropriate color matching your suit. Heels are not required but a classic pump is recommended for a professional look.

Hosiery — Choose a basic color in a sheer style that is appropriate with your suit color.

Accessories & Grooming — If carrying a purse, keep it small and in a matching color. Avoid distracting jewelry, make-up and fingernail polish. Be well-groomed and have freshly pressed clothes. Choose a mint over gum.

Women's Business Casual Attire

Pants — Conservative pressed dress pants in a dark color.

Blouse — Well-pressed button-down, collared dress shirt or blouse. Avoid anything revealing and stick to conservative colors.

Shoes — Clean and presentable dress shoe in an appropriate color matching your pants.

Accessories & Grooming — If carrying a purse, keep it small and in a matching color. Avoid distracting jewelry, make-up and fingernail polish. Choose a mint versus gum.

Women's Business Attire Don'ts

Tops —Tops Tank Tops, Cropped Tops, T-shirts with Slogans, Low-cut Necklines

Pants —Jeans, Leggings, Shorts/Short Skirts, Jogging Pants/Workout Clothes

Color —Bright Colors, Loud Prints, Gimmicky Styles, Outdated Fads, Faded Colors

Shoes —Sandals/Flip-flops, Sneakers, Hiking Boots/Uggs, Stiletto Heels

Accessories & Grooming —Strong, Over-Powering Perfume, Bright Colored Make-up/Nail Polish, Holes in Hosiery, Body/Facial Piercings, Visible Tattoos

Men's Business Attire Do's

Suit — Conservative – black, navy, gray – suit is best. Jacket sleeves should extend to the hand. Suit pants should typically match the jacket.

Shirt — Pressed and clean long-sleeved button-down collared shirt in conservative and solid colors; avoid bright colors and patterns.

Tie — A quality tie (often silk) in a conservative color and/or pattern that is properly tied. Avoid wearing flashy/bold patterns that are distracting.

Shoes — Traditional black or brown dress shoes, coordinating with your suit. Wear dress socks in a coordinated color with your suit.

Accessories & Grooming — Have hair controlled and wear minimal cologne. Belts should always be worn and match your shoes. Watches should be conservative. Choose a mint versus gum.

Men’s Business Casual

Pants — Conservative pressed suit pants, Dockers, or khakis are typical.

Shirt — Button-down collared dress or polo shirt; in conservative colors.

Sports Coat & Tie — A tie can be appropriate but not necessary. A sports coat (suit jacket) can be appropriate for business casual. When wearing a two or three button suit jacket or sports coat, button either the top or top two buttons while standing leaving the bottom button undone; all buttons can be undone when seated.

Shoes — Traditional black or brown dress shoes, coordinating with your suit. Wear dress socks in a coordinated color with your suit.

Accessories & Grooming — Have hair controlled and wear minimal cologne. Belts should always be worn and match your shoes. Choose a mint versus gum.

Men's Business Attire Don'ts

Tops —Tank Tops/Muscle Shirts, Untucked Shirts, T-shirts w/ Logos & Slogans, Unpressed Shirts

Pants —Jeans, Sweatpants/Workout Clothes, Shorts, Sloppy & Oversized Pants

Color —Bright Colors, Loud Prints, Faded Colors, Outdated Trends

Shoes —Sandals/Flip-Flops, Athletic Tennis Shoes, Hiking Boots, Work Boots

Accessories & Grooming —Strong, Over-Powering Cologne, Messy, Uncontrolled Hair, Dirty Hands & Fingernails, Body/Facial Piercings, Visible Tattoos

Tips for First Impressions

General Tips

  • Always be well-groomed and keep your clothing well-maintained; when in doubt, always ere on the side of the more conservative and formal.
  • Dark colors compliment your shape and create the appearance of authority.
  • Be conscientious of the fit of your clothing.
  • Keep your shoes polished and in excellent condition.
  • Avoid gum chewing; it is not appropriate in the business arena.
  • Pay attention to the quality and condition of accessories such as pens, purses, etc.
  • Beware of distracting physical habits such as twirling hair, clicking pens, etc.
  • If given a name badge, place it on the right side of your body just below the collar bone.

Body Language

  • Be aware of your posture; good posture displays confidence.
  • When sitting, never slouch. Keep legs and feet still because continuous shifting will be interpreted as boredom or anxiety.
  • Never show the soles of your shoes when sitting, especially when interacting with individuals from other countries.
  • Do not look at your watch.

Handshaking

  • A handshake begins with eye contact; start and finish each interview with a handshake
  • Hands should always meet web to web and palm to palm, not palm to fingers.
  • Grip should be firm but not crushing; hold for about three seconds.
  • Hold your interview portfolio in your left hand in order to free your right hand for the handshake.
Provided by Susan Richardson, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Essentials LLC