Dress for Success event provides answers to that elusive question: what is business casual?

When it comes to an interview, the first thing to prepare for is the interviewer’s questions. But what about the outfit?

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, School of Health Professions and Department of Textile and Apparel Management joined ranks to host Dress for Success. The event was to help educate students about the importance of outfit selections for interviews. Students dressed in either business casual or business-professional attire and gathered at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at Stotler Lounge in Memorial Union.

Professionals from Kohl’s, Amy Taul, Don Bass and Lance Rogers, provided students with insight on how much an outfit affects not only interview performance but also how the interviewer perceives the job candidate.

Once students had an overview of the night’s activities, the Kohl’s team divided them into groups based on their outfits: business casual, business professional and unsure.

“It sounds silly to worry about being properly dressed,” Taul said. “Many people think that the interviewer should be focused on how you answer the questions.”

Taul said that the most important concept to remember is to be clean and conservative.

“You can let your future employer know how important this interview is to you based on how you are dressed,” Taul said.

Bass dressed in business casual to provide the male students an example of an acceptable outfit. He wore a blue blazer, button-down shirt, light khakis and made sure that his brown shoes matched his belt.

“You can overdo it; ties can be too much for business casual,” Bass said. “If you are uncomfortable with what you are wearing, this too can be a distraction.”

Bass said that it is best if you have a core outfit to wear. Make sure that the big day is not the first time to wear those clothes. You need to know that you are comfortable with what you are wearing so you are not fidgeting and messing with things like your collar.

“If you are uncomfortable, the interviewer will pick up on that,” Bass said.

Rogers dressed in a business-professional outfit. The outfit featured a black blazer with black slacks, white button-down shirt, red tie and black dress shoes.

“When you are standing in front of potential employers, it’s pass or fail,” Rogers said. “They can get distracted by what you have on.”

Rogers said that when you button a blazer, use the top button; when you sit down, unbutton the top button. That way the blazer does not bunch up when you are seated. For the males, he explained, that the tie should hit right at the belt.

“Having your tie right at your belt allows you to tuck it in when you button your blazer,” Rogers said.

For females, it is important to consider your jewelry and shoes. Big chunky necklaces and dangling earrings can be distracting. Taul said that even though big, dramatic jewelry is popular, you want to make sure what you are wearing is more refined. Also, choosing to wear heels taller than 4 inches might do more harm than good.

“If heels make you feel confident, and you are comfortable, then wear them,” Taul said. “Flats are very much acceptable, though.”

Taul also said that if you wear a dress, make sure your shoulders are covered. Adding a blazer is also a great way to turn a business casual outfit into business professional.

The Kohl’s team said to know the industry you are interviewing with. Identify what colors are acceptable, and if you are not sure, play it safe and stick to navy and black.

If you need additional resources on what makes an outfit business casual or professional, please visit CAFNR Career Services’ website. Also, Truman’s Closet provides business-attire rentals to students free of charge.

Rachel Dotson

About the Author Rachel Dotson

Hello! My name is Rachel Dotson, and I am majoring in science and agricultural journalism, while also obtaining a minor in both animal science and agricultural economics. My roots are stitched to a town that has acquired the reputation of being the “Disneyland of Quilting” other wise known as Hamilton, Missouri. Currently I am interning with the Missouri Pork Association, and am enjoying being a part of providing the pork industry with a voice. Also, this summer I will be serving as the marketing and communications intern with the National Swine Industry. I could not be more excited to be a member of the CAFNR Corner Post staff again this semester!