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Career Development Center University of Illinois Springfield

Dress for Success

Whenever you meet for a business meeting, ten impressions of you are made within the first ten seconds of that meeting. It is in your best interest to make certain that those ten first impressions are good ones. Dressing professionally will greatly help you make good first impressions.

Business Professional
The more traditional business image

MEN
WOMEN
Shirt
• Cotton & button down
• White, off white, pale, and blue colors are preferred
Suit (Jacket & Pants)
• Open-collar jacket shirt/suit jacket
• Dark colors—blue, black, brown, & gray—preferred
Socks & Shoes
• Dress shoes coordinate with suit
• Heels intact
• Socks should coordinate with shoes & suit
• Long enough to not expose skin while sitting
Accessories (Tie, Jewelry, etc.)
• Traditional silk tie that coordinates with attire
• Wear minimal jewelry, such as a watch and wedding ring
• Wear light or no cologne
Shirt or Blouse
• Comfortably fitting cotton or silk blouse in a neutral color
Suit (Jacket & Pants/Skirt)
• Traditional colors of blue, black, gray, and brown
• Skirts should be of appropriate length
Stockings & Shoes
• Shoes in solid colors—black, brown, burgundy, or navy—that match the outfit
• Closed toe are standard
• Stockings should be the same color as the suit
Accessories (Jewelry, Perfume, etc.)
• Earrings should either be small studs or avoided altogether
• Wear one watch or bracelet
• Wearing less perfume is best

Business Casual
Professional dress that looks relaxed yet neat and pulled together

MEN
WOMEN
Shirt
• Button down
• Must have sleeves & collars
Suit (Pants & Jacket)
• Khaki slacks acceptable
• Business suit, blazer, sports coat
Socks & Shoes
• Shoes matter, leather preferred
• Loafers acceptable
Accessories (Tie, Jewelry, etc.)
• No earrings or body piercing
• Tip of tie should reach below belt-buckle
Shirt or Blouse
• Certain blouses made to be worn out are permitted
• Button-down shirts
• Tuck in shirts
Suit (Pants & Jacket)
• Khaki slacks acceptable
• Bus. suit, blazer, skirt, pants, dress
Stockings & Shoes
• Loafers acceptable
• Shoes matter, leather preferred
Accessories (Jewelry, Perfume, etc.)
• Earrings should either be small studs or avoided altogether

What Not To Wear

 

Women

  • No tight fitting or mini-skirts
  • No blouse that is tight-fitting, wrinkled, or distracting because of loud colors
  • Do not wear a sleeveless blouse
  • Do not wear open-toe shoes, high boots, or stiletto heels
  • No printed stockings
  • Avoid large hoop and dangling earrings
  • Do not wear more than one pair of earrings and two finger rings
  • No non-traditional jewelry, such as nose rings, eyebrow rings, and multiple earrings

Men

  • No shirts that have bright colors, French cuffs, or monograms
  • No ties with loud colors or patterns
  • Avoid boots
  • No non-traditional jewelry, such as nose rings, eyebrow rings, and multiple earrings

Other Tips

  • The quality of a suit can impress any potential employer
  • Dress as professionally as possible when hired, and then learn about the dress code
  • If uncertain about an office dress code, wear traditional business attire
  • When wearing casual business attire, dress in a classic but understated look
  • Clothing should always be clean, pressed, wrinkle free, and without holes or frayed areas
  • Hairstyle should project a professional appearance: clean, neatly trimmed, and well-groomed
  • When in doubt, leave it out

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