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Professional Dress for Women

Business Professional Dress for Women

A woman in business professional attire

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

Shoes and Hose
Shoes should be closed-toe pumps, with heels ranging from one to two inches.  Styles should be on the conservative side.  Neatness is important, so make sure that your shoes are clean and polished.  Remember, comfort is essential.  Do not buy shoes that hurt.  Shoes should be as dark as or darker than your hemline.  Hose should be neutral or match your shoes.

Such accessories 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.  Be careful not to overdo your accessories.

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.

Select a hairstyle appropriate for your hair type, face, life-style, profession, and personality.  Your hair should be clean, neat, and controlled.  A short style is always professional.  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.

A neat appearance is important.  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 and does not overwhelm.