Never wonder what you’ll have to wear again …
Welcome to Smith! You’re on your way to making the most of your business education. As a Smith student, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to visit companies, listen to high-profile speakers, and network with a variety of alums and business professionals.
One of the keys to success in the world of business is knowing how to dress appropriately. Employers are always looking to make sure prospective interns and employees will be able to present themselves—as well as the company—to clients.
Use this guide to help you figure out what’s appropriate to wear to Smith events. For most events the Undergraduate Program hosts, the dress code will be listed under the RSVP.
Download: Smith Business Etiquette Tips.
TIPS FOR DRESSING ON A BUDGET
- Purchase clothing with multi-use potential (having options such as wearing a skirt or pant with jacket or vest multiplies possible combinations).
- Invest in impressive, classic, well-made separates that can be combined for a 'professional' or 'casual Friday' look.
- Begin by selecting your best ‘neutral’ as a foundation for a professional wardrobe. Colors like black, dark gray, and navy are versatile, but light gray, stone, steel blue, and camel are fashionable options. Your best neutral is dependent on personal coloring and style as well as what you want your clothing to say about your personal brand.
- Use shirts/blouses/sweaters to create variety of visual effects.
- Select classic ties and jewelry that reflect your brand.
- Invest in high-quality fabrics that drape and travel well, such as lightweight stretch wool or a blend of cotton and rayon. Make your look is tailored, not skin-tight.
Business formal attire is required at many Smith events and for on-campus interviewing; be sure to consult the dress code in the RSVP.
General guidelines for business formal:
- Select apparel, fragrances, jewelry, hairstyle, etc. that do not detract from your professional image.
- Carefully inspect new clothes for tags, and all clothes for dangling threads, etc. (as with interview attire).
- Apparel should be clean and neatly pressed.
- Apparel should fit well and remain in place while sitting and/or walking.
- Less is more. Keep your look simple and successful!
- A nice button-down, collared shirt with an appropriate tie, good quality trousers, and a jacket that matches the trousers.
- Belts are required, and the color of the belt should match the color of the shoes.
- Socks should be worn, and can be more of a statement piece; however, sock selection should create a cohesive look.
- Business suits (a matched skirt and jacket) and, in most workplaces, pantsuits (matched pants and jacket).Closed-toe shoes (no sandals), and blouses.
- Women have the option of wearing a sheath dress with a jacket. Ideally the items will match, but if not, should still be a cohesive look.
- Also, remember to wear shoes that you are comfortable walking long-distances or standing in for long periods of time. Don't wear heels if you can't stand up straight or find yourself in pain.
Business casual attire is usually appropriate for events such as an etiquette dinner or attending a special speaker.
General guidelines for business casual:
- Business casual is crisp, neat, and should look appropriate. It should not look like cocktail or party or picnic attire.
- Athletic shoes and flip-flops are inappropriate.
- Everything should be clean, and ironed if necessary.
- No jeans. Khakis and a sport coat are acceptable.
- Button-up, collared shirt for more formal business casual events; polo shirts are acceptable for more casual events. Regardless, your shirt should be tucked into your trousers.
- Boat-shoes and nice loafters are suitable options.
- Dresses are appropriate; however, they should be of a modest (no more than 3" above the knee) length and straps wider than 1". Rompers are not appropriate. Print is acceptable, just be aware of how it reflects your brand and the purpose of the event.
- No jeans; khakis or chinos are acceptable. Full-length and capri length are appropriate; pants/shorts above the knee are inappropriate.
- Leggings are not appropriate.
- Tailored blouses, sweaters, and jackets are an acceptable option. Once again, should be tailored but not skin-tight.
You might wear this on a site visit, when a special speaker comes to class, or possibly alumni networking. This look is casual, but remember this look should still reflect your brand as a professional.
General guidelines for presentable casual:
- Jeans and khakis are appropriate, as long as they do not have any holes or other large, visible stains. Make sure your pants sit on your waist, and are not sagging or too tight.
- Tops can include t-shirts and sweatshirts, but once again, make sure there are no holes or visible stains. Shirts should not be tight and form-fitting to the body.
- Wear comfortable sneakers, sandals, dress boots or loafers; flip-flops and fabric boots are inappropriate.