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Dress for Success – Women

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, accessories, 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)
  • Suit with a skirt is preferable to a pantsuit
  • Avoid ill-fitting (short, tight, clingy or slit) skirts; skirt should be no higher than one to two inches above the knee when standing
  • White, off-white or neutral colored blouse with a conservative neckline
  • Closed-toe leather pumps with low to medium heels (no higher than two inches); avoid open-toe, strappy high heels, sandals or shoes with decorations
  • Skin-colored hosiery
  • Briefcase or portfolio in place of a handbag or purse; no backpack
  • Conservative nail polish; avoid unusual colors, e.g., blue, green, purple
  • Understated makeup
  • Understated classic accessories
  • Small stud earrings instead of dangling or oversized earrings
  • A wristwatch and no more than one ring
  • Well-groomed hairstyle; avoid unusual styles and colors; long hair pulled back in a neat, simple style
  • Minimal cologne or perfume
  • No visible body piercing, including multiple earrings in one ear
  • No visible body art; cover tattoos with clothing if possible
  • Breath mints; use one before greeting recruiter; no gum!