Craft Your Image

Your first impression is the most important.  The clothes that you wear communicate volumes about you as a person and potential employee.  Will an employer view you as sloppy and lazy, or sharp and professional?  Understanding how to present yourself is the first step in developing a successful career.  Clothing is key because it is one of the simplest methods to convey professionalism and cleanliness.

Business Casual

Business Casual is the average day-to-day attire of an office or professional place of employment.  It consists of nice pants (no jeans), skirts, dress shirts and shoes, and conservative makeup/hair/jewelry.  Clean hygiene is a must, but one must avoid strong perfumes and scents.

For Women
  • Hair is clean and pulled away from the face. No extravagant styles or colors are used.
  • Jewelry and makeup are kept to a minimum (including piercings); the focus is on the person.
  • A dressy shirt/blazer is worn. The shirt is conservative, does not expose cleavage, and does not have distracting patterns, logos, or offensive language.
  • Dress pants/a skirt are worn.  This includes black, khaki, or formal pants.  If a skirt is worn, it should not be higher than two inches above the knee when sitting. They are not too tight, nor too loose, but fit just right.
  • Dress shoes are worn.  These include heels, flats, loafers, or Oxfords.
For Men
  • Hair should be clean and well-groomed.  This includes hairstyles and facial hair.
  • No piercings or excessive jewelry is displayed.  Presentation is conservative and modest.
  • A dress shirt/blazer/vest/Polo shirt is worn.  A tie is optional.  Shirts must be neat, tucked into pants, and conservative.  No logos, distracting patterns, or offensive logos are shown.
  • Pants are worn with a belt.  Sagging is strictly prohibited.
  • Dress pants are worn.  This includes black, khaki, or other neutral colored pants.
  • Dress shoes are worn.  These should be clean and fully cover the feet.

Business Formal

Business Formal is used for professional meetings, important interviews, and events where it is necessary to make a strong impression.  This type of attire utilizes many of the same rules of Business Casual, but incorporates extra steps to create an edge.

For Women and Men
  • Hair should be clean and well-groomed.  All hair should be pulled away from the face.
  • Suits are the standard.  If a suit is not available, then a dress shirt with a blazer (and tie, for men) is appropriate.
  • Jewelry should be kept to a minimum.  Cover visible tattoos and remove extra piercings.
  • Ensure that clothing is clean and neat.  Avoid clothing that is too tight or loose and aim for clothes that fit your body type well.
  • Aim for conservative over trendy.
  • Women may opt for pantyhose.
  • Wear dress shoes.  Oxfords, loafers, flats, and heels are appropriate.
  • If you must carry something, carry a simple briefcase or purse with neutral colors. 

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid casual clothing that is worn around friends or at home.  These include, but are not limited to: sweatpants, pajamas, ripped jeans, casual/revealing clothes, worn-out clothes, dirty/holey clothing, flip-flops, slippers, and robes.
  • Avoid athletic attire.  These include, but are not limited to: leggings, workout shirts, muscle shirts, sneakers, and shorts.
  • Avoid club attire.  These include, but are not limited to: tight dresses/clothes, see-through clothing, tank tops, extremely high heels, gaudy jewelry, and miniskirts.
  • Avoid flashy, non-conservative attire.  These include, but are not limited to: extravagant makeup, animal prints, shiny or flashy clothes, large and distracting hair clips, and clothing designed to elicit a response.