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Proper Attire

When going on an interview or to an information session, keep in mind that first impressions are lasting impressions, and part of that consists of how you physically present yourself.  Therefore, it is very important to put your best-dressed foot forward and wear the occasion-appropriate attire.

For interviews, the rule of thumb is to wear a suit. But what about your hair and jewelry? Should you shave? Good questions. Below are some tips about how best to present yourself.


  • Business suit—more conservative to wear a skirt, but pant suits are fine.
  • Dark colors—navy, black, brown, grey, hunter green, dark burgundy
  • Knee length skirts—do not wear short, tight, clingy or with a high slit
  • White, off-white or neutral-colored blouse with a conservative neckline
  • Hosiery is required with skirts at all times- skin color or darker
  • Polished, closed toe shoes—heels no higher than two inches
  • Neatly styled hair
  • Simple jewelry and accessories
  • Conservative make-up and nail polish—avoid unusual colors (e.g. blue, green)
  • No cologne or perfume—small interview rooms, some people may have fragrance allergies
  • One set of simple earrings, no other visible body piercing or tattoos


  • General rule: solid color suit and shirt and a patterned tie.
  • Business suit—navy to dark grey
  • Trousers—long enough to cover your socks, have a slight break over shoes
  • Well-pressed long sleeved oxford cloth shirt
  • Ties—conservative pattern (solids, stripes, small patterns and should reach your belt line)
  • Polished shoes in black, cordovan, brown.
  • Socks should match your suit and not allow any skin to show when you cross your legs. No white socks!
  • Leather belt that matches your shoes
  • Refrain from buttoning the bottom button of your jacket
  • Well-groomed hair and facial hair
  • No cologne or perfume—small interview rooms, some people may have fragrance allergies
  • No visible body piercings or tattoos
  • Pens go inside your jacket pocket, not in your shirt pocket.

There will be occasions in which business casual attire is appropriate. For example, many companies hold information sessions prior to interviews and business casual dress is usually the norm for these events. But what is business casual?

There are many opinions regarding what type of clothing falls into the category of business casual. Some companies consider khaki pants and short-sleeved polo shirts as business casual. Other organizations require trousers or skirts and long-sleeved shirts/blouses when they refer to business casual. Although there is a wide range of definitions for business casual, there are also some general rules that apply:

  • Jeans, tennis shoes, tight or short skirts, T-shirts/tank tops and sweatshirts are NEVER considered business casual.
  • Grooming standards should not be affected by the term business casual. Your appearance should always be neat. This means pressed clothing, polished shoes, and conservative accessories.


  • Ties are not expected
  • Sport coats are appropriate
  • Solid colored pant–trousers, khakis, corduroys, wool flannel, linen slacks
  • Button-down oxford shirt–basic white, chambray, pinstripe
  • Matching shoes and belt
  • Polished shoe–Oxfords, loafers


  • Business skirt or pants
  • Sweaters or cardigan twin sets
  • Crisp button-down shirts
  • Solid colored pants–trousers, khakis, wool flannel, linen slacks
  • Blazer or vest
  • Sheath style dresses
  • Neutral hosiery
  • Belt, scarves, and accessories add polished touch

Remember: Business casual is defined by the geographic region, industry, and sometimes even individual companies. When in doubt, dress conservatively and lean more toward business than casual.