Appropriate Business Attire

Professional Attire

You've done your homework. You've updated your resume. Now you aren't sure what you should wear to a job fair or an upcoming interview. Here are some guidelines to help you make a great first impression.

What Should I Wear?

First impressions are very important to employers, so the familiar saying, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression" couldn't ring more true. However, that doesn't mean that you should skip an interview or other networking event just because you don't have a suit. Here are a few tips and resources to help you dress appropriately:

 

Note: These are general recommendations. We encourage students to research company policies and guidelines if necessary and consider.

Business Professional Recommendations

This is the style we recommend if you will be participating in an interview or attending a professional networking event (i.e. the Job & Internship Fair, On-Campus Interviews)

  • Choose a conservative 2-piece suit that has matching pieces - the same color and fabric type. Opt for darker colors such as black, blue and gray.
  • If you wear a skirt, keep the length conservative - knee-length is generally acceptable.
  • Pant length: Make sure your socks are not showing when you are standing.
  • Select a conservative shirt in a more neutral color. Avoid busy or bright patterns or sheer (see-through) fabrics. If the shirt is buttoned, button the collar and make sure the shirt cuffs extend past the sleeves on your jacket.
  • Attire should fit well - not too small or too big - and be clean and free of wrinkles, tags, lint. When trying on attire, is it comfortable when you stand, sit and walk?
  • Do not reveal any cleavage, midrift or undergarments (i.e. bra-straps)

Business Casual Recommendations

  • Nice pants, slacks or skirts can be worn with appropriate top or you may wear a conservative dress. (Skirt/dress length is same as noted above.)
  • In this situation, the fabric of the jacket and pants do not need to be the same if you choose to wear a jacket/sport coat.
  • Dress pants or skirts should still be a conservative color (i.e. black, gray, brown)
  • Tops might include a button down shirt, blouse, or sweater.  Blouses or buttom up shirts will be tucked in and wrinkle-free.

Accessories

  • Wear dark or neutral colored shoes that are closed toe and polished.
  • If you choose to wear heels, opt for a pump-style shoe with heels less than 3" in height. A good guidelines for heels - how well do you walk in them? Note that some interviews may include a networking session or site tour.
  • Socks should match your pants.
  • If you wear a skirt or dress, wear a pair of skin-tone pantyhose.
  • If you are wear a belt, have your shoes and belt match.
  • If you wear a tie, keep the pattern and color conservative; no "flashy" designs or colors which draw attention.
  • Wear minimal jewelry.
  • If you have tatoos or body piercings, consider the policies of the company with whom you are intervewing. Does it fit with their culture/standards?
  • Remember - your cell phone is not considered an accessory. Leave it in your vehicle. If you must have it with you during the interview, be sure it is turned off to avoid any distractions.

Grooming

  • Hair is clean away from your face. Facial hair is trimmed/well-groomed.
  • Keep make up minimal and natural looking.
  • Avoid strong perfumes, after shave or cologne.\
  • Clean, trimmed fingernails
  • No gum, candy, cigarettes.

Avoid - Do Not Wear

  • No jeans, shorts, capris, spandex, or yoga pants
  • No flip flops, clogs, open toed shoes

Articles & Resources

By taking a few simple attire tips, you can make certain you make a great first impression!

In Need of New Interview Attire?

Here are two Green Bay community resources that provide professional attire to those in need:

Green Bay Men's Closet
A partnership of the Rotary Club of Green Bay and the Salvation Army
Free work/interview clothing available for men in need.
1125 West Mason Street, Green Bay, 54304
Entrance to the Men's Closet is at 719 Redwood Drive
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 2-5 p.m.

YWCA Women's Closet
YWCA Green Bay-De Pere
230 S. Madison St.
Green Bay, WI 54301
Phone: 920-432-5581
 

The mission of the YWCA Women's Closet is to provide work appropriate clothing for women in need who are seeking employment or who currently have lower paying jobs. The Closet is stocked by donations from YWCA members, business and professional women and other community supporters. The Women's Closet is open Tuesdays from 1-4 pm, Wednesdays from 3-6 pm and Thursdays from 4-7 p.m.

Women ages 18 and older may visit the Closet four (4) times per year at their discretion and are allowed to select a large variety of clothing and other personal items for themselves only. This arrangement assures that all those in need have the opportunity to share in the resources of the Closet. They are required to show a picture ID and sign in each time they visit. If a woman does not have a picture ID she would need to have a referral on a form provided by the community service agency which is referring her to the Women’s Closet.

Career Spots Videos

Below are short videos about appropriate attire for women and men, as well as tips about business casual attire. Click on a video to see the entire Career Spots collection.