Business as Usual.

If you're in college or already a career professional, you know that part of making a good impression while you're interviewing or networking is your physical appearance. Conveying your professionalism through your clothes is pretty essential to how a potential employer or recruiter might remember you after your first meeting.

Tonight I have a networking event I'm attending for one of the clubs I'm in and the dress code is business casual. I've had to distinguish between business casual and business professional since my freshman year of college so I've become fairly good at determining what is casual and what is professional. 

 

Can you tell I'm feelin' myself? Cause I think it's fairly obvious.

Business Professional:

Business Casual:

  1. Full skirtsuit/pantsuit with a blouse
  2. Dress with a suit jacket
  3. Plain neutral flats/heels
  4. Minimal accessories & makeup
  1. Dress pants with a blouse
  2. Dress skirt with a blouse
  3. A dress
  4. Plain neutral flats/heels
  5. Minimal accessories & makeup

Rules to remember:

  1. Tailored clothes will always look better. Mine aren't professionally tailored but I always make an effort to look for things that fit me well.
  2. If you choose to wear a blouse, make sure that it is at least two/three fingers in width. A business event is not the time to wear a spaghetti strap shirt. The same goes for a dress.
  3. If you choose to wear a dress, make sure it is about knee-length and not too tight. The same goes for a skirt. 
  4. When choosing shoes, stick to neutral colors (though if you want to add a pop of color, I would say it's fine if you can keep the entire look sophisticated). I prefer black flats and heels. Also, if you choose to wear heels, make sure they're not more than two or three inches tall. I love my four-and-a-half inch heels as much as the next person but they're not appropriate for a business event. Make sure that whatever shoes you choose, that they're close-toed.
  5. Make-up and accessories should be kept to a minimum. Again, stick with neutral colors for make-up. I would say a red lipstick can still be appropriate for a business event but neons or less traditional lipstick colors should be reserved for parties and the like. I stick to pearls for my business outfits because I think they look very sophisticated. If you want to wear hoops, I definitely suggest something small and if you have a watch, I think that always polishes off an outfit well. 
  6. I like to have something to hold my resumé in and I also like to stand out a bit so I found a super cute gold envelope for that purpose. It's sleek and chic, two of my favorite things. 

I hope this post was at least somewhat helpful. I know sometimes worrying about appearance is the last thing you want to do when you have to sell yourself to a recruiter or business professional so hopefully I took some of the worrying off of your shoulders with this one. 

As always, make good choices,

M.K.