Dress For Success

Source: http://naceweb.org/gg/infographics/dress-for-success.aspx

Below are some examples of appropriate dress styles for Professional and Business Casual.

Men - Professional
Jetavon Christian
Sophomore in Electrical Engineering

Men - Casual
Travis Nation
Junior in Mechanical Engineering

Women - Professional
Katie Gallagher
Senior in Industrial Engineering

Women - Casual
Shelby Hampton
Senior in Agricultural Business

Before you begin shopping, make a list of the items you already have in your closet. Using this list, create a shopping list of what you need and in what colors. Then stick to this list - it will save you time and money.

Dressing Tips for Men


  • Choose a conservative single-breasted, 2-, 3-, or 4-button jacket.
  • Choose dark colors: black, dark gray, charcoal, olive, navy, or glen plaid. Avoid flashy or showy fabrics.
  • A good bet for business casual is a navy blazer with dress pants, dress shirt, and a tie.
  • Have your suit pressed every few weeks to keep it looking nice.
  • Make sure your suit is altered to fit properly - sleeves should break just below your wrist.
  • Shop around for the best value in price and quality, and consider sales and clearances.
  • Some stores to try are Dillard's, Sears, JCPenney, Target, and Walker Bros.


  • Purchase several (7-8) good quality dress shirts (a couple are sufficient for campus interviews).
  • Cotton is the best fabric for shirts - no polyester or polyester-blend.
  • Collars should be stiff but comfortable (too loose looks unprofessional; too tight, you'll feel like you're choking).
  • If buying a shirt with a pointed collar be sure that it has collar stays or can be buttoned down.
  • A price range for quality shirts is $35-60 - remember that you're looking for good quality at a good price.
  • Resist buying brightly colored shirts until your wardrobe has expanded a little more and until you know more about the culture of your workplace.


  • Ties distinguish your individuality and update your fashion statement. They're also flexible and easy to replace.
  • Colors should work back into your suit or work well with your shirt.
  • Should end at belt line - no higher, no lower.
  • Purchase 1 or 2 to start (a couple are sufficient for campus interviewing).


  • One pair basic black or brown.
  • Make sure they are comfortable.
  • Pricing: $90-150 for good quality leather shoes. Again, buy within your price range.
  • Always make sure your shoes are polished and well maintained.

Belts, Suspenders, and Socks

  • Your belt should match your shoes.
  • Socks and suspenders can be matched to your suit, shirt, or tie; a solid color is better - preferably black or navy.
  • If you wear suspenders, don't wear a belt.

Dressing Tips for Women


  • Choose a conservative style jacket in a solid, basic color. Save the trendier styles until you are more settled and familiar with the "culture" of your workplace.


  • Buy the skirt that goes with the jacket, and if possible, also choose a printed skirt that matches the jacket as well.
  • Skirts should not be higher than the knees.


  • If the jacket you purchase has pants to match, that's great. Also consider additional pairs in black, navy, or dark gray.
  • Conservative novelty pattern (small hounds tooth or other tight pattern) is acceptable.


  • Look for ivory, black, navy, and gray blouses or shells to wear under suits.
  • Remember that blouses are an inexpensive way to change the look of an outfit.
  • Don't wear sleeveless blouses and dresses.


  • Stick with flats or medium (2" - 21/2") heels.
  • Black, navy, or neutral colors for shoes.
  • Always look for comfort when purchasing shoes.


  • Scarves are another inexpensive way to change an outfit's look.
  • Limit jewelry to 2 pieces at most.


  • Always wear stockings, and keep lots of extras on hand.


  • Limit pastels to springtime.
  • For business casual, wear a jacket and slacks or a conservative dress.
  • Shop sales and clearances for the best values - some stores to try are Ann Taylor, Casual Corner, Talbot's, Dillard's, Sears, JC Penney.
  • Remember you're looking for comfort, versatility, and value.
  • Look at what upper management is wearing and pattern your wardrobe after those persons. Ask yourself, "What will my boss be wearing?"