Dressing for the Interview

Offices fall under four general styles of attire (listed in ascending order of formality):

  1. Casual
  2. Business Casual
  3. Business Formal
  4. Business Conservative

General rule: Whatever the office style is, you should dress one level higher for your interview. So, for example, if the office you want to work for primarily dresses in business casual, then dress business formal for your interview. 

How can I find out what employees at the company usually dress?

  1. Physically visit the organization and observe what employees are wearing (make sure it is not a “dress down” day for them)
  2. Call the hiring manager or human resources department and ask what the dress code is
  3. Ask recruiters at a job fair

*a good rule: it is best to dress more conservatively if you are unsure. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed!


A casual work environment has a dress code not too different from what you would see on campus.  Casual shoes (sneakers, flip flops) and jeans or shorts with a t-shirt is considered acceptable in a casual workplace.  Jewelry and a variety of colors in clothing are also acceptable.

Business Casual

Business casual is a step up from casual.  The expectation for clothing would be slacks/skirts paired with more conservative tops (sweaters, cardigans, polos, button-ups) in subtle colors such as blue, gray, white, or tan with limited patterns.  In a business casual workplace hair should be styled and jewelry should not be flashy.  For men ties are optional.

Business Formal

Business formal dress consists of suits (jacket with matching slacks/skirt) with long-sleeved button-up shirts in subtle colors such as navy, gray, tan, or light blue.  Ties and polished are required for men.  Jewelry should be kept minimal and hair must be out of the face. 

Business Conservative

Business conserative dresss requires a full suit (with tie for men) in conservative colors such as black, navy, or dark gray with close-toed black shoes.  Hair should be kept out of the face and jewelry should be limited to a ring or watch.