The school year is coming to an end, and if you’re anything like me, you’re working your butt off to land a summer internship. What do you wear to the interview, or even more daunting, what do you wear to work after you get the job?
The correct answer, of course, is professional attire, but have you ever been confused about the different terminology associated with business wear? For example, what is the difference between business professional and business casual? I’m not taking you to etiquette class here, but this is definitely something that needs to be clarified, as we are all young professionals about to enter what’s known as “the real world.”
Business professional, as it sounds, is the more conservative of the two looks. You’re expected to dress nicely when going to work, and if you’re in a field such as accounting, your office will require this type of dress. It’s fairly strict.
For this look, ladies will need to find a nice black skirt and blazer suit, a crisp button-down, opaque or neutral pantyhose and some short black heels for comfort. You can replace your skirt with very creased black dress pants, and accessorize as minimally as possible. A simple pearl necklace will do.
Guys have it a bit easier in this area. A full suit and tie combination works perfectly, with a nice shirt and dress shoes shined to the tee.
This type of office attire leaves more room for creativity and isn’t as stifling as business professional. You will be able to mix and match many different pieces if you buy versatile items.
A knee-length skirt paired with a nice blouse and a cardigan or blazer is perfect for females. You still look professional, but with a higher comfort level. You can also wear dress pants with a printed top. A pair of printed shoes with a solid outfit adds a nice touch of individualism and style as well. Though color can work magic in this area, remember you are still dressing for work.
Guys can wear a pair of khaki pants, a collared shirt — polos or button-downs are both acceptable, with no tie required — and a pair of casual dress shoes. Never wear sneakers. You may also throw a blazer on top of your shirt for a more professional look. Depending on the occasion, you can spruce up your look by wearing a printed bowtie or tie. It will make you feel good in the office, and may even brighten some of your coworkers’ days.
What you wear to work isn’t half as important as what you accomplish while there, but it is still necessary to understand the business style lingo. You don’t want to be that guy who wears a full suit when the occasion is business casual, and I know I wouldn’t like to be that girl. Just because you’re a businessman or woman doesn’t mean you have to wear the same drab suit. Throw a little color into the mix to lighten the mood in the office, and look great doing so.