Dressing for a job, an interview, an internship, a networking event, etc. is a source of anxiety for everyone at some point in their career; even more so for young adults just entering the workforce. Each company and event is different, so it can be nerve-racking not knowing what the proper dress code is, what you can and can’t wear, etc. You want to make the best impression, of course, and your clothes say a lot about you and who you are.
There are 3 main types of “business dress” that are important to understand before we get into dressing for specific events. These are probably terms you’ve heard before, but after reading this, you should have a good understanding of what clothes work for what dress code. The three types of dress codes are: Professional Dress, Business Casual and Campus Casual.
1. Professional Dress
This is the most conservative type of business wear. It’s what you’ll be expected to wear in the office if you work in accounting, finance, or other conservative industries (or if you just have a very conservative boss). For women, this means a business skirt or pants suit, or dress and jacket. For men, professional dress means a business suit or a blazer, dress pants and a tie.
2. Business Casual
This is a more relaxed version of “Professional Dress” but it does not mean you’re actually going to be “casual“. This is likely going to be your office dress code if you work in a semi-conservative workplace, but some interviews and events may also call for business casual. Basically, business casual is a shirt with a collar and/or a sweater, khakis or dress pants and nice shoes for women. Women can also sometimes wear a moderate length dress or skirt. For men, business casual is a polo shirt or shirt with a collar and/or sweater, khakis or dress pants and dress shoes. No tie is required.
3. Campus Casual
Campus casual is what you probably will not be wearing to work. This is the technical term for what you’re probably wearing every day – jeans, tee shirts and sneakers. You may be asked to wear campus casual to some very informal on-campus interviews and career days, and some casual networking events. In general, you probably want to stay away from this in the workplace and err towards more conservative items.
The idea is to adapt how you look to the environment where you are working or where you want to work, to your job position or to the one you dream about, so you make your attire and the messages that it communicate to work for you. Be prepared to start this new chapter in your life and always look appropriately for each occasion.
Let’s meet soon again, shall we? Meantime remember that your Personal Image is a non-verbal communication tool, use it!