Here is a basic breakdown of what to wear to different business events.

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

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

Student Attire — Business Basics Seminars

See our Pinterest board for attire examples. 

 

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Color —Bright Colors, Loud Prints, Gimmicky Styles, Outdated Fads, Faded Colors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