Skip to main content
a portrait of Grace

Grace Chiu

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

empty
SFU students smiling at a networking event
Dress appropriately and in clothes that fit well, it will make you more comfortable and confident, and at the same time, it will be a compliment to the person you work for or are about to meet!

Most of us understand our first impressions matter, even if it were only an informal networking event. While we can wear almost anything and everything at home or around our closest friends, it is clearly not sensible and appropriate to do so for that job interview you really wanted to nail or that dream job you wanted to have ever since you were four years old. So how do you dress to impress your prospective or current employers, in a good way, of course?

Even if you know the companies you wish to or will be working for dress casually on the job, it is better to be safe than sorry to dress up for your interview or on your first day to work, unless your interviewer or employer has specifically asked you not to. Because I have never gone to a job interview (except ones for volunteering) or worked in a professional environment before, I decided to do a little research on the net, and here are a few important things about professional attire I found to be useful…

A two-piece matched suit would be the best and safest way to go for both women and men. The suit should also be in solid colours, such as black, gray, or navy. It would also be better to avoid any weave or stripe patterns, though subtle ones may be acceptable. For women, under the suit jacket, a blouse or a good quality knit shell with a colour that coordinates well with the suit’s colour is most appropriate. For men, a long-sleeved shirt, in white or light blue (for example), and a tie that complements the colour of the suit would be necessary.

an SFU student walking on campus dressed in a suit

As for shoes, sticking to the conservative and classic styles would be the way to go. For women, it would mean black or brown (whichever “suits” your suit best) closed-toe heels in height that would be comfortable for walking and would convey a professional appearance. Similarly, for men, it should be leather, ‘lace-up’ or ‘slip-in’ business shoes, with dark colour socks.

two women walking across the street wearing black work shoes
Credit
unsplash.com

Keep jewelry and accessories to the minimal, if you wear a watch, keep it simple and conservative. Nails should be cleaned and well-groomed, and extreme nail polish colours should be avoided. Women should also keep their makeup conservative and just enough to get a polished look. Men should also be well-groomed if facial hair is worn. Your hair should also be kept clean and neat, and lastly, use cologne and perfume sparingly or not at all because you really do not want nauseating or strong odours on you! If you do not have a reason to bring a briefcase or portfolio to an interview or networking event, then don’t, and if it is an on-campus one, leave your school bag in your locker or in the office’s waiting room.

Note that your professional attire only plays a supportive role in your job interview, at your workplace or a networking event; your skills and attitudes are the most important elements! However, that does not mean that you should not take your professional attire seriously! Dress appropriately and in clothes that fit well, it will make you more comfortable and confident, and at the same time, it will be a compliment to the person you work for or are about to meet! Remember, all it takes is a little thinking and planning, and you CAN dress to impress and you CAN dress for success!

  • Grace Chiu Mar 25, 2012
    Like to recommend this item
    visibility  11

About the Author

a portrait of Grace

Grace Chiu

SFU Co-op Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Grace is a 4th year Communications major who enjoys volunteering, writing and mentoring people. She has worked at BCNET and SFU Volunteer Services prior to her fourth and fifth co-op placement with HSBC. She is currently interning at SAP and working part-time at SFU OLC as the Volunteer Recruiting & Project Coordinator. In her spare time, she loves watching drama and movies.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

tower in ottawa
Increasing Your Chances of Working for the Government

With the stability and the opportunities that a government position provides, it’s not surprising that a lot of students are interested with working for the government. The What Can I Do in Government session gave students an opportunity to network with a panel consisting of alumni, current students and managers who are experienced in working for the public sector. Read on for some insights and tips that the panelists provided!

a portrait image of a woman smiling and looking into a distance
Self Discovery

In the changing labour market there are increased opportunities for seeking your own Co-op placement through a Self-Directed Work Search. In this 3 steps blog series by our career advisor Heather Williams, learn about how to successfully conduct self-directed work search from self-discovering to landing an informational interview.

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

SFU students smiling at a networking event
library_books
Blog
Professional Attire Edition
Seeking, Interviews, Networking, Professional Development, Workplace Transition, Job Search, Workplace Wardrobe

T-shirt? Jeans? Flip-flops? Sneakers? Confused about what you should wear for your job interview, work or to a networking event? No fear! Read on “What Not to Wear: Professional Attire Edition” to find out how to dress to impress and for success…

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

an ice hockey game with the view of the rink
From Intern to Web Coordinator

Do you worry about making the transition from a student to a full-time employee? Well stop fretting and read on to find out how SFU alumnus Karen Sum transitioned from a Canucks intern to a full-time Canucks.com website coordinator.

diagrams of a website layout
The Job-Hunting Journey: Portfolios and Soft Skills

Are you a SIAT Co-op student in the seeking process? Read Michelle's article on the job-hunting journey, and how with a strong portfolio and exemplary soft skills, you can excel in your interviews!

Image of the Author
Design Zero to Design Hero

Design – a word that has likely resonated with Communication Co-op students at some point. As the field of communication evolves, so do the skills that employers are looking for. Graphic design is becoming increasingly sought after, but where do you begin if you don’t have any prior knowledge? Ryan has you covered with his tips on how to go from design zero to design hero in your next job search!