Don’t confuse club attire with business attire. If you would
wear it to a club, you probably shouldn’t wear it in a business
environment. Also, most attire worn on television is not
appropriate for business environments. Don’t be deluded.
Pants / skirts:
Women can wear casual pants or skirts. Neither should be tight.
Fabrics should be crisp; colors should generally be solid; navy,
black, gray, brown and khaki are always safe bets. For the most
business-like appearance, pants should be creased and tailored;
neither extreme of tight or flowing. If you are pursuing a
conservative industry and are in doubt, observe well-dressed women
in your industry on the job, at career fairs, at information
sessions, etc.
Skirt length and slits:
Your skirt should come at least to your knees while you are
standing. While you are seated, your thighs should be covered. If
your skirt comes to just below the knee, a slit to just above the
knee might be acceptable. A very long skirt should not be slit to
above the knee. Generally slits in the center back of a skirt to
facilitate walking a stair climbing are acceptable. Slits to
facilitate a view of your legs are not appropriate for business
purposes. Slips should not be visible.
Shirt / sweaters:
In addition to tailored shirts or blouses, tailored knit
sweaters and sweater sets are appropriate business casual choices
for women. Cotton, silk, and blends are appropriate. Velvets and
shimmery fabrics suitable for parties are not appropriate. Fit
should not be tight. Cleavage is not appropriate to business and
job search occasions.
Jewelry / accessories:
Wear a conservative watch. Jewelry and scarf styles come and go.
Keep your choices simple and leaning toward conservative. Avoid
extremes of style and color. If your industry is creative, you may
have more flexibility than someone pursuing a conservative
industry.
Cosmetics:
Keep makeup conservative and natural looking. A little is
usually better than none for a polished look. Nails should be clean
and well groomed. Avoid extremes of nail length and polish color,
especially in conservative industries.
Shoes:
Should be leather or fabric / microfiber. Appropriate colors are
black, navy and brown (to coordinate with your other attire and
accessories); white and pastels are not appropriate. For the most
conservative look, toes should be covered. Sandals which are
neither extremely dressy or extremely casual might be appropriate.
Thin straps and high heels are not appropriate. Chunky heels and
platforms are not appropriate. Make certain you can walk
comfortably in your shoes; hobbling around a job fair in shoes that
are pinching your feet does not convey a professional image.
Hose:
Not essential for business casual, but are recommended if your
skirt is knee length (rather than calf length) and in more formal
environments such as hotels.
Purse / bag:
If you carry a purse, keep it small and simple, or carry a small
briefcase or business-like tote bag in place of a purse. A
structured bag tends to look more professional that something soft
or floppy. Purse/bag color should coordinate with your shoes. A
briefcase is certainly not necessary for most business casual
events. Leather, microfiber and fine wovens are appropriate. Canvas
and straw are not appropriate.