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Dress for Success

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  --- Author unknown

Dress for Success plays a vital role in empowering college students to navigate the professional world with confidence and competence. As the saying goes, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have." In today’s competitive job market, where first impressions matter, understanding the importance of dressing for success is crucial for college students. Here, we explore why dressing professionally matters and how it can significantly impact your academic and future career endeavors.  

General Dress for Success Guidelines  

When it comes to dressing for success, understanding the three main categories of attire – Business Professional, Business Casual, and Smart Casual – can guide you in making appropriate wardrobe choices.  While there are no rigid rules, the following guidelines can help you achieve a professional and polished look:  

Prioritize comfort and confidence:   

  • Your comfort and confidence are key. If an outfit makes you feel uncomfortable, even if it receives compliments and fits well, it may not be the right choice for you.  

  • Dress in a way that aligns with your personal style while still adhering to professional standards.    

Focus on quality, cut, and fit:

  • Choose clothing items that are well-made and of good quality. This communicates a sense of professionalism and attention to detail.  

  • Ensure that your attire fits properly. Avoid suits that are too big or too small, as ill-fitting clothing can give the impression of carelessness.  

  • Professional alterations can be worth the investment to achieve a better fit and enhance your overall appearance.  

Maintain a polished appearance

  • Regardless of dress code, business professional, business casual, or smart casual, there are some common considerations to keep in mind.  

  • Avoid wearing dirty or wrinkled clothes, as they can create an unkempt look.  

  • Ensure your shoes are clean and well-maintained, without scuffs, or visible wear.   

  • Pay attention to your grooming, including neat and well-manicured nails.   

Avoid inappropriate attire

  • Certain items of clothing are generally considered unsuitable for a professional environment:  

  • Athletic clothing, including sweatpants, gym shorts, and tank tops.  

  • Sneakers hiking boots, flip-flops, and athletic sandals  

  • Skirts, shorts or tops that are excessively short or tight.  

  • Keep these clothing items reserved for more casual or recreational settings.  

Remember, these guidelines are intended to help you present yourself professionally and make a positive impression. Adapting to the specific dress code and expectations of your workplace or professional setting is essential.  By dressing appropriately and maintaining a polished appearance, you can contribute to your overall professional image and increase your chances of success in the workplace.  

In need of business professional or casual clothes? Consider visiting the Career Closet! The Career Closet provides students with business professional and business casual clothes for interviews, career fairs, formal events or any career-related function, both on and off campus. Visit the Career Closet Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (no appointment necessary) at Baker Center 417.