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For interviewing, a good rule of thumb is to dress for the position one step above the one for which you are interviewing. Keep in mind that even in a “business casual” environment, it will be to your benefit to dress in formal business attire to show your respect for the company and the interviewer. While interviewing, take notice of how the employees dress and take your cue from them as to how you will dress once you are hired. Remember that your formal business attire will be modified once you are employed. Colors, ties, etc. will become much more flexible but always dependent on company culture and daily schedules (e.g., going off site to visit a client).

Formal Business Attire = Interview Attire

For additional information on this topic, an excellent resource (which was used for much of this information), is The New Professional Image by Susan Bixler and Nancy Nix-Rice, published by Adams Media Source.

  • Two-piece business suit (navy or gray, single-breasted)
  • Long-sleeved starched oxford cloth shirt in white or light blue
  • Conservative necktie in color and pattern; avoid cartoon characters, less-than-serious graphic and theme ties
  • Over-the-calf dark socks; avoid light colored socks with a dark suit
  • Business-style leather shoes, well-shined; avoid loafers and anything resembling a sports shoe
  • Match shoe and belt color; don’t mix black and brown
  • Briefcase or portfolio; no backpack
  • A wristwatch and ring (at most, one ring per hand)
  • Well-groomed hairstyle; avoid unusual styles and colors
  • Minimal cologne or perfume
  • No visible body piercing or body art; cover tattoos with clothing if possible
  • Breath mints; use one before greeting recruiter; no gum!