Professional Dress

Business Attire

Looking the part helps set the tone for you as a professional. Quality garments wear longer, fit better, and therefore, save money in the long run. Above all, if your clothing projects a professional image, others will respond to you in kind. Here are a few suggestions for maintaining your professional image

Men

  • Do wear your suit jacket when you conduct business outside your office. Your authority travels with you.
  • Do polish and maintain dress shoes.
  • Do keep hair and nails clean and neat.
  • Do wear appropriate jewelry.
  • Do not overpower your appearance with heavy cologne!
  • Do not wear short-sleeved shirts under suit coats. Showing a clean cuff is a must.
  • Do not wear ankle socks or light colored socks with a dark suit.

Women

  • Do wear a suit when you conduct business outside your office. Your authority travels with you.
  • Do wear comfortable shoes and hosiery to complement your outfit.
  • Do wear natural looking makeup.
  • Do wear appropriate jewelry.
  • Do keep hair and nails clean and neat.
  • Do not overpower your appearance with heavy perfume!
  • Do not wear elaborate hairstyles.
  • Do not wear jeans or casual slacks.
  • Do not wear trendy fashions with built-in obsolescence unless a trendy appearance is appropriate for your industry.

 

 

Business Professional

Men

Suits: Look for…

  • Classic fabrics, patterns, and colors which are always in style and easy to accessorize.
  • Contoured jacket collar that fits smoothly around the neck with no space between it and your shirt.
  • Smooth, straight seams with a single row of stitching.

Suit care: Be sure to…

  • Hang suits on wooden or plastic contour hangers. Leave your jacket unbuttoned and be sure to empty pockets.
  • Leave space between hangers so garments will be free of wrinkles.
  • Read and follow the care instructions on your garment.

Shirts: The best ones have…

  • A single row of stitching along shoulder and side seams to prevent puckering.
  • More stitches per inch. A quality shirt will have 15-18 stitches per inch for strength and better appearance.
  • Store ties unknotted to hang out wrinkles.

Outer coats: Keep in mind that…

  • Outer coat sleeve length should cover the suit coat sleeve.
  • You should sit in your outer coat in the store to be certain that it is comfortable.

Shoes:

  • Wear shoes that coordinate with your suit.
  • Keep shoes in good condition and polished.

Women

Suits/dresses: Look for…

  • Classic fabrics, patterns, and colors which are always in style and easy to accessorize.
  • Dresses in solid color or conservative print.
  • Contoured jacket collar that fits smoothly around the neck with no space between it and your shirt.
  • Smooth, straight seams and hems.

Suit care: Be sure to…

  • Hang suits on wooden or plastic contour hangers. Leave your jacket unbuttoned and be sure to empty pockets.
  • Leave space between hangers so garments will be free of wrinkles.
  • Read and follow the care instructions on your garment.

Blouses/shirts:

  • Tailored blouses/shirts, not a lot of frills or ruffles.
  • Solid color or conservative prints to coordinate with suit.

Shoes:

  • Wear low heeled pumps that coordinate with your suit/dress.
  • Keep shoes clean and in good condition

 

Business Casual

  • Khaki pants, neatly pressed, and a pressed long-sleeved, buttoned solid color shirt are safe for both men and women. Polo shirts, unwrinkled, are an appropriate choice if you know the environment will be quite casual, outdoors or in a very hot location. The object it not to stand out for the cutting edge look, but for your good judgment in a business environment.
  • Leather belt and leather shoes are expected (no athletic shoes).
  • You are not expected to be able to afford the same clothing as a CEO. However, do invest in quality that will look appropriate in all positions.
  • Everything should be clean, well-pressed, and not show wear. Even the nicest khakis after 100 washings may not be your best choice for a reception. Carefully inspect new clothes for tags, and all clothes for loose threads, etc. (as with interview attire).
  • A briefcase or portfolio is not usually necessary for most business casual receptions or events.

Men's Business Casual

  • Ties are generally not necessary for business casual, but if you are in doubt, wear a tie. It never hurts to slightly overdress. By dressing nicely, you are paying your host a compliment.
  • Long-sleeved shirts are considered dressier than short-sleeved and are appropriate even in summer. Choosing solid colors or conservative stripes is your safest bet. Polo shirts, (tucked in, of course), are acceptable in more casual situations.
  • Do wear dark socks, mid-calf length so no skin is visible when you sit down.
  • Wear a conservative watch. If you choose to wear other jewelry, be conservative. Removing earrings is always a safe bet.

Women's Business Casual

  • Women can wear casual pants or skirts. For the most business-like appearance, pants should be creased and tailored and skirts should fit appropriately. 
  • Skirt lengths (including slit) often vary from season to season but should fall just above the knee or lower.
  • In addition to tailored shirts, tailored knit sweaters and sweater sets are appropriate business casual choices for women.
  • Wear a conservative watch, simple earrings or necklace. Jewelry and scarf styles come and go. Avoid extremes of style and color.
  • Avoid extremes of nail length and polish color, especially in conservative industries.
  • Shoes should be leather or micro-fiber. Regardless of style, avoid extremes. Make certain you can walk comfortably.
  • Hose are not essential for business casual, but are recommended with shorter skirts and in more formal environments. Trouser socks or knee-high hose are appropriate with slacks.
  • A tailored purse is best and one that hangs on your shoulder is helpful as it frees your hands for shaking hands or holding a beverage. Often, leaving your purse behind is preferable if you are uncertain what to do with it. If you need to carry business cards at an event, try choosing a jacket or slacks that allows you to carry a few small items with you.