Work attire seems to be more than just suits and ties, but it’s important to remember to always look professional. | File photo/Mustang News

Madi Salvati

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Briefcases swing, colored ties fly back over shoulders, mini stilettos click against the pavement — business casual seems to have overtaken half of the student population with neutral beiges, chestnuts and ties with golf balls on them.

None of this seems to be out of the ordinary. At least not for those on their way to the career fair. Pencil skirts and pantyhose unite!

Looking the part for a career fair or an interview can be easier said than done. There’s a certain art to looking business casual and still looking like yourself.

According to Career Services and Student Affairs Events Coordinator Soukita Thipsouvanh, the classic two-piece suit for women is always a safe bet.

“I know it’s superficial, but employers take you more seriously when you look the part,” Thipsouvanh said.

Don’t worry if you just cringed at the thought of wearing a two-piece suit.

“A button-up with a blazer and pencil skirt should work as well,” Thipsouvanh said. “Maybe even some little pumps.”

Work attire seems to be more than just suits and ties, but it’s important to remember to always look professional.

But if you’re worried about looking like your mom threw together your outfit, take inventory of the business casual pieces you’ve had lying around in your closet since middle school.

So men, that means discard the pirate shirt with the ruffles your dad handed down to you freshman year of high school. You are not George Costanza, and just because it’s white and has buttons on it does not mean it’s professional attire.

I know that dark purple blazer with the sparkly buttons is lucky and got you through debate team, but a simple, neutral-colored blazer or cardigan never hurt anyone.

If this is at all overwhelming to you, fear not. The company or person you interview with could determine what you wear.

“It’s based on the company culture,” Thipsouvanh said. “If you go somewhere like Apple and you’re dressed business casual, you won’t fit in as well.”

That is, if you get the interview.

According to Kelsey Peyton, a secretary at Straight Down, a clothing store in San Luis Obispo, it’s a big deal what you wear at a career fair.

“In sense of the career fair, it’s a big deal because you don’t have that much time to make a first impression on an employer,” Peyton said. “The first impression you make on an employer at a career fair could determine whether or not you get an interview with that company.”

First impressions are everything, so be sure your button-ups are ironed, your pants are tailored and your pencils skirts are below the knee.

“Just avoid that night club attire,” Thipsouvanh said.

To help you avoid the night club attire, Career Services even has a webpage, “Professional Attire: Dressing for Interviews and the Workplace,” dedicated to helping students dress business casual and formal. According to their webpage, 93 percent of executives believe that an employee’s style of dress at work influences his or her chances for promotion. 

So no matter how much the thought of a two-piece suit scares you, it could be a saving grace when it comes to first impressions and living in grown-up world.

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