MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION

DRESS TO IMPRESS 

The Secrets of Proper Attire 


Learn the Employer’s Dress Style

Looking the part can help you make a good first impression.

 

  • Research the culture of the employer. 
  • A more conservative employer (accounting, finance, law, etc.) will require more conservative dress. A more creative employer (retail, advertising, etc.) might offer more flexibility.
  • Look at the brochures, website, and employees of the organization to guide your dress. What style of clothes is being worn by the people who work there?
  • Trust your instincts when selecting interview attire. If you have to ask “Can I wear this?” then the answer should always be “No”. Err on the conservative side when in doubt about what to wear.
  • Avoid extremes. Low-cut blouses, sky high stilettos, and miniskirts are inappropriate.
  • Purchase a quality suit. One good suit is better than several inexpensive suits.
  • Always try on your attire outfit prior to the interview day. Don’t forget to look at the back of your outfit to ensure you have a polished look coming and going.

The Importance of Proper Attire

Even though we would like to think that our skills and abilities get us the job, appearance does count. First impressions are made within five minutes of meeting someone and help shape all future impressions, so it is important to dress professionally.

 

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed 457 employers who recruit new college graduates, and an overwhelming 92 percent believe candidate’s overall appearance influences their opinion about that candidate!

 

When meeting potential employers, dress appropriately. It can b helpful to remember to always dress for the job you want.

Business Attire

Business attire suggests formal, conservative dress style. It is expected when interviewing with an employer, unless stated otherwise. Attention to detail, impeccable grooming, and a well-fitting suit are vital to make lasting good impression. 

Business Casual Attire

Business Casual is an oxymoron! Dress code policies have been changing for the last decade. Dressing more casually is meant to make a life easier, but confusion over appropriate attire has caused many employers to adopt some type of business casual standard. Whether it is casual Fridays, shirts with the organization’s logo, or a guide for acceptable dress, the casual dress code is becoming more defined.


Men’s Interview Attire

The Suit

  • Choose a neutral suit in charcoal, navy or gray.
  • The pant leg should touch the front of the shoe and fall just above the heel in the back.
  • Pants can be cuffed or uncuffed.
  • The fabric of the suit should be gabardine or wool. Blended material is acceptable, but avoid cotton blends as they wrinkle.
  • The suit jacket should be buttoned while standing unbuttoned to sit. Do not button the bottom button of a two – or three – button suit.
  • Avoid suits with double-breasted jackets.

Socks, Shoe, and Belt

  • Wing tips or lace-up conservative shoes are most appropriate. Loafers should be used for business casual.
  • Choose black, brown, or cordovan shoes. Shoe color should match your suit or be slightly darker.
  • Shoes should be in good condition and polished.
  • Socks should match the color of your suit and cover your calves.
  • Belts should be in good condition and match the color of your shoes.

Grooming

  • Facial hair should be neatly trimmed (mustache, sideburns); beards are not recommended for an interview.
  • Hair should be neat and conservative, not touching the collar of your shirt.
  • Heavy cologne should be avoided.
  • Nails should be clean and manicured.

Accessories

  • Men should limit accessories/jewelry to three pieces  (watch, ring, handkerchief, lapel pins, cuff links, and tie hacks)
  • A dress watch should be worn – avoid athletic styles.

The Dress Shirt

  • Choose shirts in white, ecru, or light blue
  • Have your shirt professionally laundered.
  • Always wear a long-sleeved shirt.Pointed collars give a more professional image than button-down collars, yet both are acceptable.
  • Avoid shirts with insignias
  • Your shirt sleeves should extend beyond jacket sleeves by 1/2 an inch.
  • Always wear a crew-neck undershirt as they give the appearance of a finished look.

The Tie

  • Choose shirts in white, ecru, or light blue
  • Have your shirt professionally laundered.
  • Always wear a long-sleeved shirt.Pointed collars give a more professional image than button-down collars, yet both are acceptable.
  • Avoid shirts with insignias
  • Your shirt sleeves should extend beyond jacket sleeves by 1/2 an inch.
  • Always wear a crew-neck undershirt as they give the appearance of a finished look.

Women’s Interview Attire

The Suit

  • Choose a classic suit, avoiding trendy styles.
  • For a conservative organization, a skirt suit is still considered the most appropriate interview attire. a pantsuit, while acceptable of some organizations, is still considered less formal.
  • Hemlines should be knee length or longer.
  • Choose wool, gabardine, or rayon.
  • You  are not limited to a ark-colored suit, but remember the rule – if you have to ask yourself “Can I?” then don’t.
  • Make sure the suit flatters your figure and fits well, not too tight or too loose.
  • Jacket sleeves should fall 1/2 an inch below your wrist.

Shoes

  • Wear pumps or sling backs. Avoid sandals or shoes with open toes or ankle straps.
  • Shoes should be of good quality.
  • Shoe color should match your suit or be slightly darker.
  • Heels should be 1-2 inches.

The Blouse

  • Blouses should be current, but neither low-cut nor revealing.
  • Do not wear a camisole or sheer blouse.

Accessories

  • Jewelry should be minimal and conservative.
  • Wear only five accessories. Earrings count as two and a watch is the third, allowing for two additional accessories.

Makeup and Grooming 

  • Makeup should be natural and conservative
  • Nails should be clean and manicure.
  • Hair should be clean and neat.
  • Perfume should be applied very lightly, if at all. You want the interviewer to remember you, not your scent.

The Tie

  • Choose shirts in white, ecru, or light blue
  • Have your shirt professionally laundered.
  • Always wear a long-sleeved shirt.Pointed collars give a more professional image than button-down collars, yet both are acceptable.
  • Avoid shirts with insignias
  • Your shirt sleeves should extend beyond jacket sleeves by 1/2 an inch.
  • Always wear a crew-neck undershirt as they give the appearance of a finished look.

Business Casual

Men

  • A sports coat creates a pulled-together look and eliminates the need for a tie. Pair with khakis or dark slacks.
  • Traditional dress slacks (khakis, Dockers, corduroys, wool and linen) are appropriate with or without blazer. Be sure to press them beforehand.
  • Casual, button-down oxford shirts are great alternative to dress shirts with or without a tie. Choose basic white, chambray, or pinstripe.
  • Oxfords and loafers in brown and black are a good match for khakis and corduroys.

Women

  • Pantsuits are a wise choice for a business casual event (e.g. information session, facility tour).
  • A classic sheath paired with a cardigan or a blazer in the same fabric and color is a good choice
  • Crisp cotton shirts in white, chambray and chartreuse paired with dress pants, khakis or a skirt make a casual outfit.
  • Jewelry, scarves, and other accessories will add polish to any outfit, but keep in mind that less is more.
  • Shoes should still be well-made and close-toed. Flats are appropriate.