The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

77° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dressing for the job

    Amy Johnson

    Amy Johnson/The Daily Wildcat

    Today marks the first day of UA Career Services’ two-day career fair, which aims to provide students with information about obtaining permanent positions and preparing for internships. Following a few simple steps could help you avoid wearing something too informal to an interview that calls for a suit, or vice versa.

    Research your intended position

    Certain jobs require specific attention to detail. Before applying, understand the position you are interested in. Positions that require large amounts of trust, money or tradition, such as law or banking, typically call for a more conventional mentality with solid colors, neutral tones and clean silhouettes.

    If you fall into the category of journalism, design or roles with liberal arts experience, don’t be afraid to mix and match textures that are in the same color family. Applying for a retail position means wearing something identifiable from that specific store. But unless the job calls for knowledge of cutting edge fashion, stay away from bold colors or distracting prints.

    For men, try to own at least one suit that is perfectly tailored to your body, as it will make a strong difference in your perceived professionalism. For females, keep your heels lower than four inches when interviewing for a position in a corporate setting; you don’t want to be stumbling around in stilettos while your interviewer gives you a tour.

    Know what to avoid

    You only have one chance to make a solid first impression to your employer, so be mindful of what could instantly turn them off. According to the Professional Dress for Interviews section of the Career Services website, avoid any article of clothing that may not be deemed conservative. Professional, clean-cut suits should be a given.

    “Wear minimal jewelry. Try to limit yourself to a watch if possible,” said Susan Miller-Pinhey, marketing and special events manager at Career Services.

    Understand that all employers, no matter the setting, will look down on an outfit that seems ostentatious or distasteful.

    “If you’re going in for an interview, what you want to avoid is bold colors,” said Derrick Roberts, an electrical engineering junior and operations manager at Men’s Wearhouse. “I wouldn’t wear super bright colors, or I wouldn’t wear an olive-colored suit because that’s a very old-fashioned suit and you don’t want to go old-fashioned or odd.”

    Mix it up

    Some jobs might have you go through a three-part interview: A one-on-one interview, a group interview, and “on the floor” interviews which will determine how you fit in and function within the environment.

    Depending on the position that you’re applying for, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need to access a variety of outfits.

    “A lot of times we’ll have two looks set up,” Roberts said. “So you have your charcoal-colored suit with your white and red tie, which is a very standard look that’s very conservative, very appealing to the eyes.

    “And then when you walk in for your second interview, you’ve got your blue shirt and gold tie which is much more striking but still very professional and it shows a difference in your wardrobe, but also shows you know how to dress yourself in a multitude of ways.”

    More to Discover
    Activate Search