What is Professional Attire

By Jacob Kubik. Updated: January 16, 2017
What is Professional Attire

Dressing well in your workplace or for an interview is very important. Even before you're able to open your mouth and say anything about yourself your looks are already very apparent. This is why what you wear and professional attire is so important. Employers will base their first impressions, among other things, on how you're dressed for your interview.

In this article we'll discuss what is professional attire.

Why is Professional Attire Needed?

The obvious reason that professional attire is needed is that it makes you look better. Whether you're on the way to an interview or going to an average day of work, it's always better to look professional than casual. If you were to compare two lawyers side-by-side and one was dressed in a nice clean suit and the other was in a polo and khakis, who would you rather have representing you? Most would answer the lawyer in the suit, and this is because his professional attire gives him a professional and capable look. This is exactly the same for dressing for an interview. You want to impress your interviewer and show them that you are a professional and hard worker.

The Different Kinds of Professional Attire

Businesses all have their own rules on what to wear to work. Unless you are working at a very high end job like at a law firm or a bank, you will most likely not have to wear a suit everyday. You will still be asked to dress professionally though. Two of the most popular types of professional dress are Business Casual and Business Formal. It will just depend on the company and sometimes the particular day.

Business Casual

Business casual is usually somewhere between business formal and what you would wear outside of work, but it varies from company to company, so be sure to check your company's dress code. Your professional attire should always be neat and clean no matter how dressed down it is. This will still give a more professional look than dirty or wrinkled clothes.

For men

Men should expect to wear dress pants or khakis with a button up shirt or a polo shirt tucked in. Clean dress shoes should also be worn with this and a belt that matches your shoes. Depending on your companies policies you may be asked to also wear a tie. Make sure to check if your company allows very vibrant or very "out there" ties before wearing them.

For women

Women should expect to wear either dress pants, khakis, or dress skirt with a nice professional looking shirt. Your shoes should be clean and be of professional make and should match a belt if you wear one. Your outfit should cover your midriff, thighs, cleavage, and your lower back.

What is Professional Attire - Business Casual

Business Formal

Business formal is what you would expect your typical business man or woman to be wearing daily. A nice suit and tie that is clean and free of wrinkles. For jobs that don't usually require business formal, this dress will be used for important meetings, interviews, or when required by your company.

For Men

Men should wear either a dark color suit like black, grey or a dark blue suit. The suit should only be a two piece suit. Your shirt should be free of wrinkles and either white or a light blue color. Your shoes should be clean and match your belt and your suit. You will be required to wear a tie for this type of professional attire and it should be non-distracting and should match the rest of your outfit. Your socks should also match your suit and be of a non-distracting fashion as well. Insure that you are well groomed with hair combed and fingernails cut.

For women

Women should wear a conservative pantsuit or skirted suit with a darker color or dark blue with neutral color hosiery. Under your jacket you should wear a light colored button up shirt that is not too tight and sufficiently covers your neckline. Your shoes should match and be closed toe with a heel no higher than 2 inches. Hair should look nice and professional, and your fingernails should be well groomed and painted a neutral color if painted. Any jewelry that is worn should be minimal and professional in appearance. Keep makeup to a minimum and natural-looking.

What is Professional Attire - Business Formal

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