You know that your jeans and t-shirts aren’t going to cut it in the work place, but perhaps you don’t know if a 3-piece suit is the way to go. You’ve heard of casual Fridays, but aren’t sure what that means either! So what do you do?
First of all, think situationally. Interviews should always be business attire; it’s best to wear business attire to career fairs, although business casual could be acceptable if you’re seeking an internship. Networking events depend on the venue, your purpose for attending, and those who you are hoping to meet. Basically, it always depends!
Take the guess work out of it by setting a few rules:
- Wear business attire in any situation in which you hope to make a good impression on potential employers/clients/colleagues/etc.
- Don’t assume that “Business Casual” is in any way casual. Instead, think of it as “Business Smart.” Take a look at the CareerSpots Video – Business Casual – for more information on this distinction.
- When in doubt, opt for conservative business wear.
- You don’t have to spend a fortune to find business attire that fits well and looks professional; shop around and find key items that will mix and match to create several looks.
It’s better to be overdressed on your first ‘Casual Friday’ so you can scope out what is considered acceptable prior to implementing your own wardrobe creativity. Keep in mind, your boss has the final stamp of approval. Dress for the job you want, not to impress your colleagues with your fashion sense. Also remember that your internship or field experiences may allow a more laid back style; the expectation is still business attire when you prepare for your full-time job search.
When in doubt, ask professionals in the field or talk to faculty or Career Services’ staff members. Take a look at the image below from the 2013 Job Choices Digital Magazine (accessible on our Resources for Students page) for additional tips: