Dressing for the Job

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By: Itzel Cruz

Business attire or business casual can be such broad terms that they can be difficult to pinpoint. It’s not a full tailored suit but you can’t show up in jeans and a shirt either. Many students have never had a job at this point in their life that required this type of dress. Many are not financially equipped to go out and buy an all new work wardrobe, but it does not have to be expensive nor a daunting experience. A few solid pieces can go a long way. 

Some good essentials to start off with are the following: A crisp white button down, black slacks, and a black blazer. They would not have to be worn all together but would be a great interview outfit when paired. All these pieces individually paired with some items you already own can help to formalize any outfit. 

A crisp white button down that is properly fitted and wrinkle free, paired with a dark wash denim pant can be a great business casual ensemble. Pair with a neutral close toed shoe and you’ll be set for the office. A nice blouse paired with black slacks can be a bit dressier and works well for the office or opt for a black blazer over a white t-shirt and dark denim pants for a more casual look

These items don’t have to be brand new or cost a fortune. A good place to start looking for business attire can be a thrift store. Since these essential items are so common they can be easy to find at your local second hand or thrift stores such as Goodwill. Not only is it inexpensive but it is also better for the environment to shop pre owned items. A few things to note while looking for business attire at a thrift store is to make sure there are no tears or stains in the clothing and to try to find clothes that fit correctly. 

A rule of thumb that clothing items should pass is the sit test, they might look good while you are standing in the mirror but sitting down, some items might bunch in unflattering areas, squeeze you in the wrong places, or buttons might gap on the shirt. For ladies, when trying on skirts or dresses, the sit test is essential for making sure the hem is appropriate for the workplace since it might raise a few inches when sitting. 

Although these are great starter options, these are not the only clothing items that can be deemed business attire. According to the article “What Does Business Casual Attire Mean?” by The Balance Careers, a few more options for women are: khaki, corduroy, twill, or cotton pants or conservative-length skirts, sweaters, twinsets, cardigans, polo/knit shirts and a professional dress. For men: Khaki, gabardine, wool, or cotton pants, neatly pressed. Cotton long-sleeve, button-down shirts, pressed and sweaters. Leather shoes, in black and brown, leather belt, in black and brown and a selection of ties. 

It is always a good idea to read the room when entering a new workplace. Feel out the level of dress of your bosses and new coworkers and follow the general feeling. In general just keep in mind that solid colors are usually preferred over bold and busy patterns, it is generally not appropriate to wear old t-shirts, ripped jeans, ratty sneakers or flip flops. Ladies should keep hemlines at appropriate lengths and avoid too much cleavage or midriff.

Times are certainly changing and with a younger generation starting to lead the workforce. Things might change along the lines of attire for the workplace, but first impressions can make or break and looking the part at your interviews will go a long way.

“Times are certainly changing and with a younger generation starting to lead the workforce. Things might change along the lines of attire for the workplace, but first impressions can make or break and looking the part at your interviews will go a long way.” 

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