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Dress for Success

          First impressions are the key to many successes: a college interview, a job interview, or simply meeting someone for the first time. Sometimes it can be difficult to shake the after effects of first impressions so, everyone’s goal is to make a stellar first impression. One of the keys to first impressions is, of course, appearance. Having a professional appearance is the first step to mastering any first impression.

           When dressing for success, the first thing to remember is that there are two options: Business Casual, and Business Formal. The two are very similar, but have their differences. These differences also exist between men and women. Differentiating when each should be used is simple. While traveling, Business Casual is acceptable, but for a personal interview of any type, Business Professional is best. In the work place, typically Business Professional is going to be expected, especially in most office careers.

          Men’s Business Casual. Business Casual for men consists of professional slacks (the most common are khaki or grey), with a long-sleeve button up shirt. The shirt should be buttoned just below the top button, and if an undershirt is worn, it should not be a v-neck shirt. The outfit should be completed with nice dress shoes – usually black, but brown is also acceptable if it matches the rest of the outfit!

          Women’s Business Casual. Business Casual for women is very similar to Business Casual for men. Women should also wear nice slacks or a skirt with a long-sleeve button up shirt. The shirt should again be buttoned just below the top button. For foot attire, a woman would wear either flats or heels that are low: a two-inch heel or lower. Knee-length nylons are appropriate to wear.

           Men’s Business Professional. Slacks with a matching blazer are appropriate. These are most commonly black, but any dark color is acceptable. A long-sleeve button-up shirt should be worn underneath the blazer with a tie that matches the shirt. The tie should not be “loud” or “busy”. Black or brown dress shoes can again be worn with Business Professional attire. A tip to keep in mind: when standing, the blazer should be buttoned, but while sitting, the blazer should be unbuttoned. Hair should be combed back out of the face.

          Women’s Business Professional. A knee length straight skirt with a matching blazer in a dark color, most commonly black, is acceptable. The woman should wear nylons with her skirt. Under the blazer she would wear a long-sleeve button up shirt buttoned to the top button. Footwear would be the same as women’s Business Casual footwear. Her hair should look cared for in terms of being well brushed and styled. It should be worn out of her face. Jewelry is acceptable as long as it is small and not easily noticed. A key word for women to keep in mind is “modesty”. When dressing in either Business Casual or Business Professional, modesty is always expected. To be modest one would not wear anything low-cut, or excessively tight fitting.

           With these tips in mind you are ready to go out and tackle the world of business. Creating good first, and second, impressions will be a breeze! Just keep in mind that all clothing should be wrinkle, stain, and lint free! When you know how to dress properly, confidence will radiate from you, and everyone acts and performs to the best of their potential when they are confident!