Professional Dress

There’s nothing more frustrating to me than someone walking into a professional setting not dressed professionally. Understandably, not everyone knows what is and what is not acceptable for dress. Below are some basic guidelines I found helpful, and a friend of mine found these images that sum it up nicely, for business professional AND business casual (men and women).

Note: Click the links to be taken to the images.

Women’s Business Professional
Women’s Business Casual
Men’s Business Professional
Men’s Business Casual

Additional Tips For Men

  • Invest in tie clips/bars and cuff links. Tie clips do wonders for your look. Plus if you happen to be walking around outside your tie won’t be flying all over the place. Cuff links add a bit of class, but aren’t as necessary.
  •  Don’t get too flashy with interviews or until you know the company atmosphere! Don’t go in there wearing bright colors unless 1) company culture encourages it, or 2) you can pull it off. NOTE: FEW MEN CAN PULL IT OFF INITIALLY. So until you know for sure, play it safe.
  • LEARN TO TIE A TIE! And at bare minimum you should be tying a half-windsor. Go full windsor when you need to impress. Simply put, if the top of your tie isn’t flat, you’ve tied it wrong and you don’t look as good as you could and should.
  • Your tie should reach the middle of your belt buckle (unless you’re being a hipster). That’s how you know it’s the right length.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of your socks matching your shoes and not being too outlandish. The little things matter. Same with belt color/style.
  • Business casual is either a jacket and no tie, or a tie and no jacket. In most instances simply wearing a collared shirt is not considered business casual. (as always, there are exceptions, I work in an office that shuns ties and jackets).

Additional Tips For Women

  • Wear pantyhose. Always.
  • Heels shouldn’t be too high, but not too low either. Go simple, don’t get too flashy.
  • Don’t show cleavage in an interview. I understand you may be very attractive. But your interviewer may think negatively of you for it. Don’t risk it.

Sorry I don’t have much more advice for women. Obviously the above are guidelines, not rules. There are exceptions to all of these. But until you absolutely know for sure that anything else is acceptable for a specific instance or company, this should be your guidelines.


About Jason Willis
Jason graduated from the University of Central Florida in the fall of 2011 with a B.S.B.A. in Finance. He currently works at The Newport Group as an Investment Analyst on the Asset & Liability Management Team working with Non Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans. In his spare time he continues to give back to AKPsi by assisting with the CFAC and NX Chapter at UCF. He also currently operates his own blog entitled Professional Hedging, and is also preparing to acquire his Series 7 and 66 Certifications.

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