Professional Attire

How to dress for the job you want

Whether you're going to a Career Expo, an interview, or networking, you'll want to make a good impression. How you dress can either help or hurt you. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Top tip: If you aren't sure what type of dress an event calls for, choose a business professional look.

Professional Attire by Category

  • Wear a conservative, dark-colored jacket with matching long pants or a knee-length skirt.
  • Choose an ironed, light-colored, professional button-down shirt or blouse for under your jacket.
  • If you choose to wear a tie, the pattern should be restrained and end at mid-belt.
  • Shoe choices: Polished loafers or closed-toe/low heel pumps.
  • Wear calf-length socks to match your suit or neutral pantyhose.
  • Match the color of your leather belt to the color of your shoes.
  • Hide any visible tattoos and/or remove visible piercings.
  • Keep jewelry neat and minimal.
  • Style your hair away from your face. It should be neatly cut and styled, including facial hair.
  • Wear natural-looking makeup - lip color/nail polish should not be too trendy or bright.
  • Trim and clean your nails.
  • Avoid perfume or cologne.
  • Bring a padfolio, briefcase, or business bag.

Business casual is less formal than a business suit but more formal than the clothes you'd wear to hang out with friends. A lot of times, employers have their own rules for business casual.

Here are some general ideas for business casual dress. If you're ever in doubt, keep in mind that it's always better to be overdressed for an event than underdressed.

  • Along with long pants/knee-length skirts, cropped or khaki pants are acceptable.
  • Sweaters, cardigans, and sports coats also work.
  • Try loafers and flats, but leave the sneakers, flip-flops, sandals and athletic shoes home.
  • Keep hair and makeup simple and natural.
  • Wear black or khaki pants, neatly pressed, and a pressed long-sleeved button-down shirt.
  • You don't need to wear a tie, but you can if you'd like.
  • Avoid low necklines, spaghetti straps, and clothes that show the midsection.

Still need help choosing the perfect outfit? We can help! We offer clothing advice and a variety of gently-used, event-ready clothing through our Career Closet.

It's located on the second floor of the Ringhaver Student Center, in the Career Development Center. Choose from a range of gently-used business clothes like suits, dresses, skirts, pants, shirts, blouses, cardigans, jackets, and ties.

How it works:

  • You can choose one outfit a semester. It's yours to keep.
  • Start by making an appointment with the Career Development Center.
  • You can browse, try on clothes, and get advice from our staff.
  • All items are meant to be kept (no returns please!)
  • We don't have shoes, so you'll have to shop on your own for those.
  • The Career Closet is only for currently enrolled students.

Career Closet policies: 

  • We’re not responsible for the condition or availability of clothes since we receive 100% of our stock from donations.
  • The clothes have not been washed or dry-cleaned beforehand. 
  • Clothes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • We can’t hold or reserve clothes for students.
  • The Career Closet keeps the same operating hours as the Career Development Center.


Contact Us 

To make your Career Closet appointment, contact us at or call 904-819-6286.