I recently had to learn the ins and outs of how to dress business professional for an interview. My daughters both had interviews that called for business professional attire, so I shopped until I dropped for weeks trying to get the appropriate outfits. I learned lots of savvy tips along the way that I am sharing today for those of you who might need them one day:-)
Business professional attire is highly conservative, understated, and expensive (although you can find deals if you have lots of time to shop sales). It is also not likely what most girls want to wear or will feel comfortable in, as it is out of the range of normal teenage style. It is hard to spend so much money on clothing they won’t want to wear again; however, it is an investment and can be pulled out any time it is needed.
Both of my girls ended up wearing basically what is shown in the photo at left~a conservative suit with pencil skirt, blazer, and pumps. They both wore button up silky blouses (one white and one light blue), but a tank as shown in the photo is also great. They both wore simple pearl stud earrings and single strand pearl necklaces.
Here are some tips that I gathered when shopping for my girls. This advice came from sales associates, our college admissions counselor, and a professional interview coach who helped our girls prepare for every aspect of an interview.
Rules of Thumb for Business Professional Attire
Start with a conservative suit—a jacket with pants or a skirt—in black, dark grey or navy.
It is fine to mix black and navy (one of my girls wore a navy skirt with black jacket).
Go with basic black leather (not patent) pumps~closed toe, 3″ or lower. (The perfect pump is pictured below.)
Accessories should be simple. Pearls are classic and always work (see image of choker below).
A small conservative clutch or briefcase is fine, but not both.
Avoid perfume or heavy fragrance.
Neutral nail polish is best.
Wear nude pantyhose; bare legs are never appropriate.
Best Places to Shop for Business Professional Attire
nordstrom.com– easy, free shipping & returns, and all items come in regular and petite
Ann Taylor-no sales on suits at Ann Taylor, but separates can be found on sale at Ann Taylor Loft
Banana Republic-online has large selection, and returns can be taken to local Banana Republic
Express (best place to find conservative with a modern twist)
Belk and Macy’s-more for the older set, but sales can be found on some styles
I hope these tips are helpful to any of you who find yourselves shopping for professional attire. There are certainly myriad variations, but we chose the most conservative route. I’d love to hear any tips that you might have, so feel free to share! As alwyas, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!