What to Wear at a Networking Event: Suiting Up for Recruitment Season
The real point of dressing for success is that you do it to help you become successful. After you’re successful, then maybe you can loosen your collar a bit. But, right now, how you dress for recruitment season this fall can make a huge difference to your entire career. So, let’s discuss what to wear at a networking event.
Still, for men and women, students, graduates and those looking to make a career change, it’s always a challenge to know what to wear. Is the pattern on this suit too strong? Does this blouse go with my jacket? Do my shoes really need to match my belt?
But fear not. For all of you, we’ve put together the following guidelines to help you dress for success during this year’s recruitment season, career networking events and any time.
This is What Men & Women Should Wear at Networking Events
There may be events where you can get away with business casual attire. Many events actually post a dress code online. But, when in doubt, business formal is the way to go.
Considering the importance of what you wear, you should prepare your outfit at least the day before. If anything needs dry cleaning, and everything you wear should be spotless and crisp, get it done at least three days before an event, if not longer.
For Both Women & Men
Everyone should follow these guidelines.
- You don’t need to completely lose your personal tastes in what you wear. These guidelines are for when you are in doubt. If you feel comfortable and appropriate in something, then letting your personality show through can help you make an impression.
- You must be well-groomed. You may not need to get your hair styled, or your nails done. But your hair should be clean and as neat as possible. Facial hair should be trimmed. Fingernails should be clean and neatly manicured. And if your fingernails are polished, there should be no chips in the polish.
- Piercings should be discreet.
- Do not wear athletic clothing or shoes.
A Business Suit – The basic guidelines are matching jacket and pants in solid, conservative colours, like navy blue, grey or black (but be careful with a black suit, it can come off looking a little too formal). If you’re comfortable with it, a navy blazer with lighter grey pants is an option.
A White Shirt – You can wear lighter colours, including blue and pink, but, again, this is for when you’re in doubt. No one will ever fault you for wearing a crisp, clean white shirt. Be careful with collar styles, it’s best to avoid button-down collars, which can look informal, and pin collars (similar to those worn by hockey broadcaster Don Cherry) which can look too formal.
Tie – Finally, here’s where you can use a bit of your creativity and personality. The idea is to not draw too much attention to yourself or your tie. Its pattern and colours should help your overall look be somewhat out of the ordinary, but not out of balance.
Shoes and Belt – Yes, they should match. Shoes should be formal loafers or wingtips, in good condition and shined. Your belt should be discreet and the buckle should be sized proportionally to the belt.
A Business Suit – The guidelines are similar to those for the men. But women get more leeway on suit colours and patterns, with the only warning being to avoid anything that’s too bright or busy.
Blouse – Again, building on the men’s guidelines, women can opt for a wider variety of colours and patterns, as long as they complement the colour of the suit. The fit should ensure that there are no gaps between the buttons and the neckline should be no lower than the bottom of your collar bone.
Pants or Skirt – The ladies have so much choice! You can wear either pants or a skirt as long as the fit is appropriate for a professional business situation. If you go with the skirt, it should be no shorter than the top of your knees. Check that the length remains discreet even after you walk around a bit and while sitting, especially if there’s a split in the back.
Shoes – Classic, medium height heels with a tapered toe in colours to complement your suit.
Good luck! If you want to improve your chances even more, get your dress shirts, blouses and business suits dry cleaned and pressed by the clothing care professionals here at Parker’s Dry Cleaners. We know how to make you look your best.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article with our very best laundry tips.