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Loyola University Chicago

Career Development Center

Dress for Success

Professional Attire for Job Seekers

What to Wear

Dressing appropriately can mean different things for different situations. Know the field and organization you are interviewing for to better assess the appropriate attire. Keep in mind that even if employees dress in business casual, you want to impress - professional attire is appropriate for the interview. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed.

What is business attire?

There is some confusion around this as the words business attire, business professional attire, business formal attire, and formal attire are often used interchangeably. The first three mean the same thing. Formal attire is different and means a tuxedo. You will most likely not encounter “formal attire” requests in a job search or interview situation.

Whether the terms business, business professional, or business formal are used, you should be thinking about one thing and one thing only – a suit.

Next to the investment you are making in your education, the investment in at least one suit for interviews, office visits, receptions, etc. is imperative. For both men and women, a suit has two components: 1) pants (for men), pants or skirt (for women); 2) a jacket (both men and women). There are no exceptions to this – without both pieces, you are not wearing a suit, thus not adhering to the dress standard. There are several additional items that are required for business attire; a long sleeved dress shirt (for men), a dress shirt or blouse for women, a tie (for men) and dress shoes (both men and women), belts, etc..

Both Men and Women

What is business casual attire?

Business casual does not mean everything else. There are certain guidelines to business casual that one is expected to adhere to. Just because you see the word business casual, does not mean casual clothes are acceptable. In some corporate environments, business casual means a suit or pants/sport coat without a tie – not jeans and a short-sleeved shirt.
Business casual means clothing that is tailored, well pressed and professional at all times. A good philosophy is to dress to the next level or for the job you want to have.
Business casual attire comes down to three concepts:
  1. Show good professional judgment
  2. Exercise leadership and lead by example
  3. Always adhere to the norms of the company you are visiting, the presenter/speaker, the professional organization, etc.
Examples of appropriate attire for men include pressed and tailored slacks, khakis, and corduroys. Collared shirts – including golf shirts, long-sleeved dress shirts, sweaters worn over a collared shirt, or turtlenecks, particularly when worn with a jacket or sports coat is a polished look for men. Similarly, an appropriate look for women might include pressed and tailored slacks, khakis, corduroys, skirts, and complimentary blouses or sweaters. A jacket, blazer, or outer sweater is always a nice touch and leans the look more to business casual than casual. For both men and women, socks or hosiery of some type are recommended. Dresses, suits, and ties are optional.

On the other hand, examples of clothing NOT consistent with business casual attire would be:

Additional tips for interviewing etiquette and style


Career Development Center · Sullivan Center for Student Services · 6339 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660
Mailing Address: 1032 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660
Phone: 773.508.7716 · E-mail: CareerCenter@luc.edu

Notice of Non-discriminatory Policy