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Business formal attire is conservative not creative

Business formal attire should be worn during a formal interview for a job or professional school. While business formal is almost exclusively "suit and tie", there are different ways to make the more conservative look your own.

What is most important to remember is to represent your true self—your culture, your personality, your comfort—but in a polished way. This shows respect to the organization and the people you are meeting, and shows your care for yourself.

Formal Business Attire Icons

Suits and Dresses

A suit or tailored dress is the most professional attire.  Choosing a conservative, classic style is usually a good rule because it is versatile (appropriate in an interview and in many professional settings) and a good investment.  Choose a fabric that can carry you through several seasons, such as lightweight wool crepe or wool gabardine.

Of course, your chosen career path will influence what you wear.  Many career fields, such as law, finance, or accounting, tend to be conservative, a fact reflected in the way people in these fields dress.  Other fields, such as fashion design or art, allow greater creative expression.  Some professions, such as sales, marketing, and education, bridge the gap between the creative and the traditional fields.  In these fields you can update and add some flair to a classic, traditional style.

Color and Pattern

Build your professional wardrobe around a neutral color like navy, charcoal gray, black, off-white, camel (beige, khaki, or taupe), or olive.  The best patterns for professional suits are solid, houndstooth, tweed, and plaid.

Shirts should be traditional cotton or cotton-blend shirts with long sleeves and straight or button collars, they should be well-pressed and the collar should be loose enough to fit one finger between the neck and collar.

Blouses should have no lace or glitter and should be a current style, but not too trendy.

Shoes and Hose

Styles should be on the conservative side. Neatness is important, so make sure that your shoes are clean and polished. Comfort is essential, Do not buy shoes that hurt. Shoes should be as dark

Your shoes should match the color of your belt for a coordinated look.

Hose should be neutral or match your shoes.


Accessories such as handbags, belts, and scarves should be coordinated with your outfit.

When choosing a handbag, pick one versatile enough to coordinate with many outfits.  Go with the most prominent neutral color in your wardrobe.


Stay away from dangling earrings, multiple rings, and noisy bracelets.  Jewelry that moves too much or makes noise is distracting.  In choosing jewelry, choose gold, silver, or pearls.  Choose button or small hoop earrings in proportion to your size.  Pendants or brooches can add sparkle to a blazer lapel or collarless jacket.

Personal Grooming

Select a hairstyle appropriate for your hair type, face, life-style, profession, and personality.  Your hair should be clean, neat, and controlled. Long hair should be pulled away from the face for the most professional look.  The condition of your hair is also important.  Take care of your hair.  Dry, brittle, or bleached-out hair communicates poor personal hygiene.

Facial hair should be groomed it daily.

Nails should be short and well groomed.  Choose a neutral shade or clear nail polish.

When applying makeup, aim for a natural look that enhances your appearance.