Dress to Impress

First impressions can be lasting impressions. With a new job or internship on the horizon, and as you attend career fairs and networking events, it's important to put some thought into what you wear. Your attire should convey credibility and competence. Dressing appropriately for an event signals to the employer that you care about making a good first impression and that you understand the industry.

No matter what the employer wears for the event, the appropriate attire for you as a student is professional. Remember, YOU are the one being evaluated!


Men and Women:

  • Business professional attire means a suit!
  • The suit should be navy, dark gray, or black. Pinstripes are acceptable.
  • The shirt or blouse should be cleaned and unwrinkled.
  • Shoes should be in good shape and polished. Dress shoes only.


  • Ties should be conservative and not flashy.
  • Socks should cover the calf when seated and be a dark color to match your suit.


  • Make sure skirts are at least knee length.
  • Women should always wear hosiery and closed-toed shoes with heels.
  • Extremely high fashion heels should be avoided.
  • Tight shirts or ones that reveal cleavage should also be avoided.
  • Excessive, clunky, dangly or nonconservative jewelry should be avoided.



  • Button-down shirts and dark- or khaki-colored dress pants are recommended.
  • Solid-colored v-neck or crew-neck sweaters are appropriate in cooler weather.
  • Avoid shirts with loud prints.
  • Sport coats and blazers can be worn.
  • Belts and shoes should match and be polished and professional-looking.
  • Socks should be understated, dark in color and high enough to cover the leg when seated. 
  • Jewelry should be kept at minimal.
  • Briefcase or portfolio recommended.


  • Business skirts should be worn with matching blouses in solid colors or conservative prints.
  • Professional slacks are also appropriate and can be coupled with a blazer.
  • Jewelry should be minimal - a simple silver or gold necklace. Larger casual jewelry can be worn as long as it is still conservative and does not overpower the appearance.
  • Choose basic conservative pumps. Flats or low heels are also appropriate (closed toe and heel). 
  • No strappy sandals and extremely high heels.
  • Shoes should have no scuffs or tears and should be polished to look in excellent condition.
  • Use a briefcase or portfolio rather than a purse.

General Grooming Tips:

  • Hair: Clean and neatly styled, no wet hair, no over the top colors or hairstyles, Men - if you are interviewing in more conservative industries you may need to go for a shorter haircut, Men - trim chest hair (no hair visible at the neckline!).
  • Details: Don’t forget to remove tags, suit tacking stitches, loose threads, lint etc. The stitched tag label on the outside of men’s suits should be removed.
  • Nails: Clean, trimmed, neatly manicured, Women - no extreme colors or length.
  • Cosmetics: Makeup should be conservative, aim for a natural, polished look.
  • Perfume/Cologne: Use very little or not at all, clothes should be odor free (no smoke smell!).
  • Facial Hair: Clean shaven or trimmed very short and neat.
  • Tattoos: Cover all tattoos if possible.
  • Piercings: Remove all facial and body piercings, Women - one earring per ear, Men - No earrings.
  • Excessive, clunky, dangly or nonconservative jewelry should be avoided.

Check out the Career Center Pinterest Board for more ideas.