Dressing for Success!

At the Career and Graduate School Expo this past Friday, we were impressed with those of you who truly dressed for success! We realize though that it can be confusing when trying to determine appropriate attire when interacting with potential employers.

It only takes 30 seconds to make a first impression so you want to be sure that you are conveying a professional image not only for an interview, but in the workplace as well. Here are the levels of attire, defined:

Suits! For men, a suit in a neutral color such as black, navy or dark gray works well. Be sure to wear a long sleeve button down shirt with tie to match (leave the bow tie at home). Oxford-style shoes are a nice addition to a suit.

For women, a suit in a neutral color is also a best bet. Women can wear skirted or pants-suits, but for a skirted-suit, the skirt should come to the knee. Supplement with a coordinated blouse and low-heeled shoes.

For the most part, you’ll want to dress professional for interviews and career fairs.

Example of professional men’s attire

Example of professional women’s attire








Business Casual:
This type of dress lies somewhere between professional and casual. Many work environments are business casual.  You can also dress in this manner for internship interviews and networking events.

For men: Khaki or cotton pants (pressed of course), long-sleeve button-down shirts, polo shirts or knit shirts with a color, sweater, leather shoes and belt. Tie is optional.

For women: Khaki, twill or cotton pants or skirts (skirts still need to be knee-length) with sweaters, twinsets, cardigans or polo/knit shirts.

Example of business casual men’s attire

Example of business casual women’s attire








For both men and women, this typically means jeans (no holes or rips) and a sweater, polo or button down shirt. No sweatshirts, t-shirts, flip-flops or most of all…pajama pants! Some companies offer “casual Fridays” where you can dress in this style, however, it is not appropriate for an interview or career fair.

Example of casual men’s attire

Example of casual women’s attire








If you have successfully passed the interview stage and have been offered the job – congratulations! Always check with your employer on what to wear in your new work environment.

Dina Wulinsky

Dina Wulinsky is the Career Development Advisor at UNH where she helps undecided students explore career options. She also provides assistance with resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and searches related to obtaining an internship, job or the graduate school application process.



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  1. Thanks for the wonderful article. Wow, I never heard of the Oxford Style Shoes. I learned something new. Now others will go for Harvard style shoes. Lol