Men's Business Attire Tips to Know for Jobs Interviews

By Tyler Nicol on July 2, 2018

When interviewing for internships or jobs, proper attire is always important. Knowing how to dress in a business setting is something that everyone should be aware of. Employer expectations may differ depending on the job or industry you are in, however, there are some general rules and tips you should know.

photo via unsplash

General Rule: Formal is Better

As a general rule, it is better to dress formally than informal because your outfit is usually the first thing someone notices when they first meet you. Forbes reports that “appearance affects hiring decisions and plays a major role.” Your first impression on a hiring manager has a greater effect on whether or not you get the job than most people realize.

You may be entering a part-time summer job or your first career in a start-up position and you are not sure how to dress for the occasion. Sometimes it can be difficult because you cannot simply ask an employer how you should dress. If you are unsure about the proper attire for a specific interview or for your first day on the job, dress as formal as possible.

It is best to wear a suit jacket with a shirt and tie. You could wear a full suit combination, or pair your outfit with some tan khakis or chino pants. Khakis and chinos are slightly less formal, but give more of a modern businessman look. The pants are more of your preference; factor in the styles you like best, what you feel is most comfortable, and your budget.

After dressing properly for an interview and getting the job, there should be less stress on thinking about what to wear to work. As you begin getting familiar with your new company, you’ll start to get a sense of the culture in the office and you will see how others dress for work. A lot of companies allow employees to dress casually, more so than in the past. It ultimately depends on your company, position, and specific job function.

photo via pexels

Buying and Maintaining a Suit

No matter what field you are planning on going into, you should have at least one full suit combination when entering the workforce. You are more than likely not going to need it regularly, but it is necessary to have. If your position doesn’t require you to wear a suit, there may be a time when you need one for a work conference or a meeting with executives.

If you are buying your first suit, make sure to get both the jacket and pants together from the same designer. If you try to buy a jacket and pair of pants of the same color from different makers, they will have some small differences. A suit should be the exact same pattern and style. It may seem unnoticeable to combine different jackets and pants at first, but someone who knows men’s attire can spot the difference. It is not as good of a look and can be considered unprofessional.

Make sure your suit is well fitted to your body type. Suits are unlike any other item of clothing, in that they have many variations in size. After you have bought a suit that fits you, it is important to get it adjusted to your body size even more by a tailor. Going to a tailor and personalizing your suit will give you a sharper, more fitted look.

It is also important to maintain your suit by keeping it clean. Suit jackets and dress slacks are made of material that can be affected by a household washer or dryer. You should take your formal attire to a local dry cleaner regularly for a proper cleaning.

Shirt and Jacket Combinations  

When it comes to color combinations and designs of your business attire, it is best to keep it simple. You want to look professional, not flashy. Darker colored jackets, such as black, navy blue, and grey are preferable. They should be paired with light colored dress shirts, including whites and light blues. The simple combination of dark jackets and light shirts is a traditional business casual look that is widely preferred in most fields of work.

photo via pexels

Matching the Rest of the Outfit

Matching and looking presentable is always a concern for business attire. Yet, many people are still unaware of how to properly match parts of an outfit.

Ties should not match your shirt. If you are wearing a shirt that isn’t a solid color or has a pattern, pair it with a solid color tie. If you’re choosing a tie with a pattern, wear it with a solid colored shirt. Remember to keep it simple. Save the flashy shirts and ties for a night out.

Shoes should match the color of your belt. Since the two are separated by your pants, matching these items makes your outfit look well put together. Having a black belt with brown shoes is noticeable and likely would affect the presentation of the whole outfit. You may see a lot of people who do not follow this rule, but remembering to do it will help you in the long run and may impress your boss.

Learning to dress for the job can be difficult at first for everyone. Following these tips should help you feel more confident going into an interview or starting your first day in the office. Above all, “dress to impress” in the business world means keeping your outfit combinations simple and presentable.

“Clothes don’t make a man, but clothes have got many a man a good job.”
—Herbert Harold Vreeland

I am a rising senior at James Madison University majoring in Writing Rhetoric and Technical Communication. I really enjoy music of all kinds, and I like playing basketball and golf with friends.

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