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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

Dress For Success

Do you know what to wear to your upcoming interview or professional event?

Consider The Following:
"That first impression in an interview counts so much, and you don't want to be out of the race before the interview even begins. That [first impression] happens in less than 30 seconds and is based entirely upon your attire." (Sherry Maysonave, Forbes.com, 2009)

"Dressing conservatively is always the safest route, but you should also try and do a little investigating of your prospective employer so that what you wear to the interview makes you look as though you fit in with the organization." (Randall Hansen, Quintcareers.com)

"The rule of thumb is that you dress one or two levels higher than the job that you're going for. Young, freshly minted grads often make the mistake these days of going too casual, perhaps confusing what once was with what now is." (Kate Wendleton, Monster.com)

"You want the interviewer listening to what you are saying, not critiquing what you're wearing." (CareerBuilder.com)

Understanding Culture
So....do you really need to wear a black suit, carry a leather portfolio or hide your piercings? There is no absolute answer to this question; you will need to consider where it is you are interviewing and, in some cases, for which position you are interviewing. Some organizations such as banks, federal agencies and consulting firms are very traditional and require conservative attire. Organizations in other fields, such as the arts, entertainment, environmentalism and nonprofit management may be less traditional, however this does not necessarily mean that as an interviewee you can dress casually. If you are unaware of the culture of the organization, unsure of how to dress or concerned about making a good first-impression, it's best to err on the side of caution and dress professionally for any interview - even if you are the best dressed person in the building.

Follow our general guidelines and you'll be dressed for success in any interview.

Career & Internship Fair Attire
Please note that you will not be allowed entrance at the career & internship fair without the proper attire. Jeans, shorts, flip flops, running shoes/sneakers are prohibited. You must be dressed professionally or at a minimum, business casual. If you are attending a career fair at the School of Business, please refer to their attire guide for dress requirements. 

Types of Business Attire
Do you find the different types of attire confusing? And do you wonder where you should wear what?

Here is a general overview.

  • Business Formal: banquets, special ceremonies and events; conservative yet elegant

  • Business Professional: interviews and most formal business events; items match in style, fabric, and color

  • Business Casual: information sessions and less formal occasions; jackets are optional, skirts ok

  • Baseline Casual: co-curricular/extracurricular activities; tops with skirt or slacks; casual yet modest

WOMEN'S ATTIRE

Business Professional

Jackets, Pants, Skirts & Suits

  • Fabrics: wool, wool blends and polyester blends.

  • Colors: black, navy blue, charcoal grey and dark brown.

  • Guidelines: should fit well (alter if needed); stripped patters are acceptable; should have dark-colored or matching buttons.

Blouses & Shirts

  • Fabrics: silk, silk blends, cotton blends and polyester blends.

  • Colors: cream, white, ivory and light blue.

  • Guidelines: shirts should have long sleeves; cuffs on sleeves are best; well-defined or high collars are best.

Footwear

  • Fabrics: leather and leather imitation.

  • Colors: black, dark brown and dark grey.

  • Guidelines: match color/color family of suit; should be comfortable; 2.5-inch heels or shorter; should be cleaned and polished.

Business Casual

Jackets, Pants, Skirts & Suits

  • Fabrics: linen, silk/silk blends, cotton blends and polyester blends.

  • Colors: solid colors, light colors are acceptable.

  • Guidelines: should fit well (alter if needed); light-colored buttons acceptable; tweed or other subtle designs are acceptable.

Blouses & Shirts

  • Fabrics: cotton, silk/silk blends and knits.

  • Colors: any solid color.

  • Guidelines: shirts should have long sleeves; cuffs on sleeves are best; well-defined or high collars are best; colors should complement suit pieces.

Footwear

  • Fabrics: leather and leather imitation.

  • Colors: black, brown, grey and tan.

  • Guidelines: lighter, matching colors acceptable; should be comfortable; 2.5-inch heels or shorter; should be cleaned and polished.

MEN'S ATTIRE

Business Professional

Suits

  • Fabrics: wool and light-weight wool blends.

  • Colors: black, navy blue, grey and dark brown.

  • Guidelines: jacket and trouser color and fabric should match; two and three-button suits are acceptable; button color should match fabric; avoid jackets with vents; should fit well (alter if needed).

Shirts

  • Fabrics: cotton, cotton blends and polyester blends.

  • Colors: white and light blue.

  • Guidelines: must be collared; color should be sharp, not faded; should be button-down; avoid polyester.

Footwear

  • Fabrics: leather and leather imitation.

  • Colors: black and dark brown.

  • Guidelines: clean and polished; should match color of suit; slip on and lace-up acceptable; no loud buckles or patterns.

Business Casual

Jackets & Trousers

  • Fabrics: wool, silk blends, linen blends and cotton blends.

  • Colors: black, grey, tan and Earth tones.

  • Guidelines: top-bottom colors may differ; soft collars acceptable; buttons may be light colors.

Shirts, Sweaters & Polos

  • Fabrics: silk, wool knits and cotton blends.

  • Colors: black, dark shades, ivory and pastels (spring and summer).

  • Guidelines: shirts and polos should be collared; shirts should be button-down; shirts should have long sleeves; short sleeves are ok for sweater and polo.


Footwear


  • Fabrics: leather and leather imitation.

  • Colors: black and brown.

  • Guidelines: clean and polished; slip on and lace-up acceptable; comfort is key.

GROOMING & ACCESSORIES

Men
Hair:
neatly shaven/cut, no braids

Nails
: well-trimmed, neat

Cologne
: none or very light/natural

Earrings
: none

Ties
: patterns are ok, no animations

Socks
: light-weight, match to pants

Women
Hair
: conservatively styled

Nails
: well-trimmed, neutral polish

Makeup
: neutral colors

Earrings
: studs (gold, silver, stone, etc)

Perfume
: none, or very light/natural

Hosiery
: skin tone, no fishnet/patterns

Both
Rings: limit to one per hand

Watch
: gold/silver, leather band ok

Briefcase
: dark, leather preferred

Portfolio
: dark, leather preferred

Belt
: simple buckle, limit to one-inch, must match shoes

THINGS TO AVOID

  • Loud colors (clothes/shoes, jewelry, make-up, hair)
  • Casual wear (jeans, t-shirts, tank tops)
  • Floral, plaid or other "busy" designs
  • Shorts, capri pants, and short skirts
  • Mismatched clothing (fabrics, colors, patterns)
  • Wrinkled, untucked, pilled or linty clothing
  • Tattered, faded, stained or dirty clothing
  • Revealing fabrics
  • Plastic or crafty jewelry, including earrings
  • Excessive jewelry
  • Cleavage, chest hair
  • Strong odors (perfumes, colognes, smoke, garlic)
  • Visible body art (tattoos, bodmod)
  • Open-toed footwear and athletic shoes

LACS RESOURCES

  • Henderson, V. & Henshaw, P. "Image Matters for Men," Great Britain: Hamlyn.
  • Molley, J.T. "New Dress for Success," New York: Warner Book, Inc.
  • Molley, J.T. "New Women's Dress for Succes," New York: Business Plus.
  • Pease, Allen & Barbara. "The Definitive Book of Body Language," New York: Bantam Books.
  • Scumaci, D. "Designed for Success," Florida: Excel Books.

RELEVANT ARTICLES
The Wall Street Journal, "Excel At The Job: First-Year Analyst Dress Code"

QUESTIONS?
Make an appointment with a career coach to discuss any questions that you may have about what to wear...and what not to wear: 512-471-7900.


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