Business Professional Dress Do’s and Don’ts

At some point in our lives, we must dress up for a formal event or job interview. Our appearance is one of the first details others notice about us. Therefore, it is important that your appearance makes a great impression. To ensure success, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you prepare for your next interview or event.

Do shower and groom.

Masking the smell of last night’s workout with perfume or cologne will do more harm than good. Make sure you thoroughly wash your body and hair prior to getting ready. If you are a woman and wearing a skirt, be sure to shave your legs. If you have facial hair, trim and maintain a clean style. When styling your hair, make sure it is a clean and professional look that will not distract those approaching you.

Do cover piercings and/or tattoos.

In a professional setting, people want to meet you, not the lion tattoo you have going down your neck. If you have any visible tattoos showing while wearing your professional attire, either find a clothing option that covers the tattoo better, or cover the tattoo with a makeup concealer that matches your skin tone. As for piercings, any facial, tongue, or other untraditional piercings should be removed. While a traditional ear lobe piercing is acceptable, gauges, rods and any other distracting piercing should be removed.

Do have clean hands and nails.

When you shake someone’s hand, you want to have a clean shake and not leave the other person wondering why that handshake was sticky. Properly wash your hands and try to avoid sticky situations, such as spilled coffee. Make sure to have clean and well-kept nails. If you are getting a manicure, choose an appropriate polish and nail length that will not draw attention to your hands.

Don’t forget dental hygiene.

When attending your event or interview, you will be talking quite frequently. Make sure to brush and floss to ensure clean teeth. To take your clean breath one step further, use a mouthwash or mouth spray. Avoid gum and mints during your event or interview because the chewing can be distracting. You may want to also invest in a teeth whitening solution, or visit your dentist for a thorough cleaning.

Don’t dress poorly.

Even if the job or event seems simple, it is always best to come well-dressed. This means wearing attire with no wrinkles, stains, snags, tears, etc. You also want to avoid wearing casual clothing such as jeans, T-shirts, tennis shoes, sweatpants and other everyday items. Jewelry should be tasteful and not distracting. Aside from clean clothing, it is also important to wear clean and well-kept footwear such as dress shoes, heels or flats.


Nicole Tobias is a freshman public relations major at Waynesburg University. She is the High School Initiative Presentation Coordinator and Local Events Chair for the Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter, and serves as the Public Relations Director and an Account Specialist for Red Brick Communications. She is also a student ambassador for the university’s Office of Admissions.

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