Business Dressing for Young Adults

Dressing for Success in Interviews

Dressing for a job, an interview, an internship, or a networking event is a source of anxiety for everyone at some point in their career. This is even more true for young adults just entering the workforce.  Each company and event is different, so it can be nerve-wracking not knowing what the proper dress code is. Are you certain that you know what you can and can’t wear?  You want to make the best impression, of course, and your clothes say a lot about you and who you are.

There are 3 main types of “business dress” that are important to understand before we get into dressing for specific events.  These are probably terms you’ve heard before, but after reading this, you should have a good understanding of what clothes work for what dress code.  The three types of dress codes are: Professional Dress, Business Casual and Campus Casual.

1. Professional Dress

This is the most conservative type of business wear.  It’s what you’ll be expected to wear in the office if you work in accounting, finance, or other conservative industries (or if you just have a very conservative boss). For women, this means a business skirt or pants suit, or dress and jacket.  For men, professional dress means a business suit or a blazer, dress pants and a tie. 

2. Business Casual

This is a more relaxed version of “Professional Dress” but it does not mean you’re actually going to be “casual.“  This is likely going to be your office dress code if you work in a semi-conservative workplace, but some interviews and events may also call for business casual.  Basically, business casual is a shirt with a collar and/or a sweater, khakis or dress pants and nice shoes for women.  Women can also sometimes wear a moderate length dress or skirt.  For men, business casual is a polo shirt or shirt with a collar and/or sweater, khakis or dress pants and dress shoes.  No tie is required.

3. Campus Casual

Campus casual is what you probably will not be wearing to work.  This is the technical term for what you’re probably wearing every day – jeans, tee shirts and sneakers.  You may be asked to wear campus casual to some very informal on-campus interviews and career days, and some casual networking events.  In general, you probably want to stay away from this in the workplace and err towards more conservative items.
Ann Reilly has been extensively trained by the Sterling Style Academy, an internationally recognized institute that prepares men and women for success in the image, fashion and style industries.

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