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What to Wear

Plan carefully what you wear for job and internship search events because first impressions carry a lot of weight. Do your research to find out what is acceptable for the industry or the individual organizations’s culture and expectations. What you wear is a reflection of you and speaks volumes about how serious you are about the process and how professional you will be on the internship or job.

Business Professional

For interviews and job and internship fairs, dress up a little more than you might be expected to dress on the job. The following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Suits and blazers in solid plain, dark or neutral colors or understated patterns such as pinstripe or shadow plaid
  • Solid color dress shirts with collars
  • Ties coordinated with the shirts in solids, stripes or small patterns
  • Dresses in dark colors, with or without blazers
  • Skirts and dresses at the knee and without slits
  • Sheer hose should be worn with skirts or dresses
  • Calf-length socks in dark colors should match suit pants
  • Neat and clean leather dress shoes or basic dark pumps with medium or low heels
  • Black or Brown 1-inch belts to match shoes and attire
  • Scarves for color accents may be acceptable
  • No stripes, or bright prints or colors
  • No overpowering perfume, aftershave or cologne
  • No frills, ruffles, thin straps, plunging necklines or exposed cleavage
  • No athletic shoes, sandals, flip flops or open-toe shoes

See our Pinterest boards for ideas of appropriate interview and work attire: Dress for Success

Business Casual

Business casual is slightly more casual than traditional business or interview attire. It may be appropriate when conducting an informational interview, attending a casual networking event or when an employer indicates business casual is expected. The following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Nice trousers or dress slacks in tan, gray or dark blue, or nice khaki or chino pants
  • Knee length skirts or dresses in a variety of colors
  • Tights may be acceptable in cooler weather
  • Cotton or silk blend blouses and patterned shirts with collars in a variety of sleeve lengths.
  • Shirts in a range of colors, with or without a tie
  • Polo shirts may be acceptable
  • Nice sweaters
  • Jackets, blazers, sport coats or cardigans may be optional
  • Leather loafers in black or brown, or low heels, nice flats or fashion boots, open-toe shoes may be acceptable in warmer weather
  • Simple accessories
  • Tights may be acceptable in cooler weather
  • No jeans, athletic wear, yoga pants, leggings, or tunics as dresses
  • No fishnet or extremely colorful or large patterned stockings
  • No exposed cleavage
  • No golf or t-shirt
  • No casual footwear such as athletic shoes, deck shoes, sandals with straps between the toes or flip flops

In general, all clothing should be tailored, in good condition, fit true to size, and be wrinkle and lint free. Clean and comfortable shoes are important. Wearing minimal or no jewelry is recommended. Pay careful attention to grooming: teeth brushed, hair neat, fingernails clean, and nails and makeup natural. Piercings and tattoos should align with what you learn about the organizational culture or standards.