Dress for Success(ful Interviews and Client Meetings)
Otterbein's Center for Career Planning offers these tips for dressing professionally. You could use these tips for a client meeting, an interview, and/or the job.
Select a skirted suit, pantsuit or a conservatively tailored dress that draws the eye to your face.
For a more business casual look, then select a solid color skirt or slacks with a matching blouse or sweater, or a solid color dress.
Skirts are traditionally knee-length but those slightly shorter or longer are also acceptable.
Select blouses or sweaters that provide visual interest, but avoid transparent fabrics, tight fit, low necklines, revealing waistlines or details that detract from your face as a focal point. Typically, arms are covered at least to the biceps and often to the wrist.
If you are going to wear pantyhose to an interview, then you should wear a plain-style, nonpatterned hosiery and select colors that flatter your coloring. For traditional industries, wear a neutral color. For other industries, you may choose to wear hose that coordinate with your skirt. Carry an extra pair in case of runs.
Other choices include a coordinated outfit, tailored jacket, or sweater set.
Wear hard-soled shoes with closed toes and closed heels.
Open-toed shoes are associated with social agendas and should be avoided in a work setting.
Wear flat shoes or low pumps in colors that avoid making your feet a focal point. Be sure that they are clean and polished.
Avoid shoes that hinder walking fast, which lowers credibility.
A 2" to 3" heal is considered more professional dress while flats tend to lean more to business casual.
Grooming and Hygiene
Use natural-looking makeup and clear nail polish to keep the focus on the interview.
Perfume should never be strong. A fragrance can cause an allergic reaction or offend the interviewer. When in doubt, do not wear perfume.
Add accessories to express your personality and accentuate your best features. A scarf or necklace is an effective way to focus on your face. Keep it simple!
Do not carry a purse with a briefcase. Choose one or the other.
Avoid dangling earrings
Wear no more than one ring per hand and only one dress watch.
Wear a matching suit in navy, black or gray (pinstripe or solid) or wear a navy blazer and gray dress slacks. They serve as a visual background that draws the eye to the face.
Khaki pants and a long sleeve collared shirt or sweater provide a more business casual look. Golf shirts or polo shirts are acceptable in very casual settings.
Wear white or a light blue dress shirt that contrasts with the jacket and/or tie. Typically, arms should be covered to the wrist. Exposing arms by rolling up your sleeves is interpreted as less powerful and is less formal.
A full-length coat can be worn over your suit;. Avoid casual coats.
Socks should be calf-length or above the calf. Choose natural-fiber blends that allow a flow of air and do not hold in perspiration and heat. Choose colors such as dark blue, black or gray.
A (silk or silk-like) tie should coordinate with the jacket and pants but choose one that strongly contrasts with the color of your shirt; selecting subtle or simple patterns enhances credibility.
Select lace-up or slip-on dress shoes. The color should be dark or blend with pants.
Wear conservative, clean, and polished shoes.
Grooming and Hygiene
A short hair cut and no facial hair is usually expected, especially in more conservative industries.
Cologne should never be strong. A fragrance can cause an allergic reaction or offend the interviewer. When in doubt, do not wear cologne
A briefcase is part of the visual effect; consider a simple portfolio as an effective substitute, and try to select a color that supports your visual effect.
Minimize jewelry. Avoid necklaces and earrings for the interview. Wear no more than one ring per hand and a dress watch.
Select a leather belt that visually blends or matches your shoes.