As the 2013 class of college graduates enters the work force in a few months, an important lesson is to be learned for those looking for a job - appearance matters.
If you’re a recent grad and are lucky enough to score a job interview, dressing the part is just as vital as researching your potential employer and knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses.
While we live at the beach and are used to a more casual atmosphere, when it comes to the work world, business attire or business casual attire (at a minimum) are the key looks to emulate, especially when headed to an interview or seeking to speak with a potential employer.
Not sure what business or business casual attire looks like? No problem. We’re breaking it down for you and giving you wardrobe ideas to make dressing for an interview or first job an easy task.
Men - Time to Suit Up
If you’re headed into the business world, then dress to impress. The easiest way to ace a business attire look is with a classic suit and tie.
While initially the cost might make you apprehensive, the investment is well worth it. One suit and a few dress shirt and necktie combinations can not only properly dress you for work, but for an impressive first date, wedding, or any other important special occasion as well.
Opt for a suit in a classic color such as black or charcoal initially, with a fitted cut and style for optimal wear, such as the Geoffrey Beene Modern Fit Black Stripe Suit Separate Jacket ($200, Belk) and Geoffrey Beene Modern Fit Black Stripe Suit Separate Trouser ($80, Belk). This suit features a three button design, notched lapels, and flap pockets which give it a fashionable look, perfect for an interview and making a strong first impression in the boardroom.
Pair the suit with black dress shoes, briefcase, and a classic shirt and necktie combination, such as the Van Heusen Wrinkle-Free Lux Sateen Dress Shirt in Ivory ($45, Belk) and Van Heusen Shaded Stripe Tie in Red ($40, Belk) for a fail-proof confident look.
Or, for a more relaxed look, opt for a blue dress shirt paired with a tie in a fun pattern, say the Van Heusen Tie with Subtle Grid Design in Bermuda ($40, Belk). Its geometric design is eye-catching without being too flashy.
If you’re headed for an interview somewhere you know is much more casual in its dress code, adorn yourself in business casual attire at the minimum to make the most of a first impression - it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
For a classic look, select dress pants in a classic hue - we like the Saddlebred Flat Front Microfiber Pant in Taupe ($62, Belk); and pair them with the Saddlebred Navy Striped Slim Fit Dress Shirt ($50, Belk). A smart pair of khakis and a crisp dress shirt will look appropriate while not appearing too formal.
To finish the look, add a brown leather belt, dress shoes, and the Saddlebred Brown Plaid Sport Coat ($225, Belk). The sport coat has a classic look thanks to its two button enclosure, and, when you’re not at work, will look sharp when paired with a polo shirt and jeans.
Ladies - Ensemble a Professional Style
For ladies looking to make an impression in the business world, investing in a classic cut pant or skirt suit is the best way to approach the business attire look.
A suit in a neutral color - charcoal or black - will give you optimal style when headed to meet a potential employer. Try on the Calvin Klein Lined Jacket in Black ($125, Belk) and Calvin Klein Classic Fit Pants in Black ($79, Belk). Pair the suit with simple black heels, a crisp white oxford, or for a more relaxed look, opt for the Calvin Klein Solid Cowlneck Camisole in Atlantis ($39, Belk). The deep royal hue of this blue tank will pop underneath the black jacket.
Or, try the Kasper Suit Separates Melange Sheath Dress in Grey ($79, Belk) and Coordinating Jacket in Grey ($119, Belk) for easy professional style. The A-line of the shift dress is perfectly complimented by the two button jacket and shade of light grey. Pair it with an elegant red leather handbag, heels and simple jewelry to make a well-dressed first impression.
If you want a more business casual look, opt instead for dress pants, paired with a chic blouse or sweater, blazer and kitten heels.
Try on the Spense Pleat Woven Blouse in Lipstick Red ($58, Belk). The button down V-neck design of the blouse bursts with color thanks to its vibrant red hue and layered fabric that embellishes the neckline and sleeves. Pair it with the Sharagano Career Pant in Black ($58, Belk). The straight leg style, sheen of the fabric, and detailed stitching of these pants will look chic with the blouse and black kitten heels. Top it off with the Kasper Tweed Piped Flyaway Jacket in Black and White ($139, Belk) for optimal career starting style.