By Sarah Adell

For Men:

We can all relate to that day of your job interview when you are standing in front of your closet contemplating what to wear. Every employer in every occupation is different, but I think you can never go wrong with the standard business casual look. Business casual, for those of you freshmen that may be unsure, is just the industry’s way of saying, “Dress nice!”

For guys, it is a lot easier because there are fewer options. Basically from here on out, collared shirts will become a staple in your wardrobe. Try to pass on the white crew neck underneath. Your employer might think you’re ready to hit up the gym. Match them up with a pair of slacks, or if you’re feeling a little more laid back, khakis will do the trick. I would highly suggest you wear a belt if your pants are a little on the baggy side. Steer clear of the jean route because some employers, unless stated otherwise, may find it unacceptable in an interview. You can never be too overdressed!

Male cardigans are super popular right now. Cardigans are so comfortable and look perfect with a fitted dress shirt. Invest in a comfortable pair of dress shoes. Unless you are applying at a sporting goods store, DO NOT show up to your interview in a pair of Air Jordans.

If the company you are interested in is a little more old school, feel free to throw on a blazer or maybe add a tie. Although it does show a lot of character, now may not be the best time to bust out a funky pattern, like hot dogs or cheetah print. Stick to plain colors and simple patterns. The men’s department at TJ Maxx has designer ties for super cheap!

If you are afraid that you are going to be under-dressed, by all means wear a suit. If you don’t have one, that’s totally fine too. They will understand that you are a poor college kid that can’t afford cufflinks.

Tada! Look at how dapper his outfit is!

For Women:

Here’s where it gets tricky. There is no set business casual go-to because trends are constantly changing. You do not have to wear an all-black head-to-toe outfit that doesn’t show off your form; just do not wear what you would wear out to the bars. Also with women, there are tons of added risks! If you are showing too much skin, your outfit is probably not appropriate. Along those lines, if it’s sheer, it is also probably not the most appropriate.

I am just going to provide you some tips on what to avoid at all costs.

  • Shorts- Just don’t. (Stick to dressy capris or pants!)
  • Leggings- Again, just don’t. (Once again, dressy capris or pants!)
  • Short/Tight Skirts- Instead, try a knee-length skirt. If you wear it to Kam’s, you should put it back on the hanger. If it has a high slit, put it back on the hanger. You should be able to bend over to pick something up without any undergarments showing.
  • Midriff/Cleavage: The person interviewing you is your mom or dad’s age. Just ask yourself, “Would my parents approve?”
  • Low-Cut Tops: Even with a cami to cover cleavage? NO! Camis are not that reliable and they seem to slide down on women with bigger chests. Just to be safe: the higher the neckline, the better.
  • Nails: Make sure that they are groomed if they are long. Nails with dirt under them might come of to your future employer as sloppy.
  • Sandals: Pass. You do not need to be closed-toe for business casual, but you should not have a separator between your toes!
  • *On that note, please also do not wear shoes that you cannot walk in!

You can still look sexy being modest!


Good luck on your interviews and remember to iron your clothes!


Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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