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Career Fair Fashion

| Monday, September 7, 2015

DressCareerFair_WebEric Richelsen | The Observer

It’s that time of year again, and all of campus is abuzz, nervously preparing for the dreaded career fair. Amidst the confusion, I’m asking the important question: what to wear?

Guys were practically born wearing business professional, and gained experience with every wedding, school dance and graduation they attended. For us ladies it’s not so easy — you don’t want to be spotted at the career fair in your senior prom dress. For many of us, this may be our first experience suiting up and we want to get it just right.

Obviously the number one goal is to look professional. Anyone can rock a simple matching suit, but there’s no harm in a little creativity. There’s nothing like a trendy pair of heels to bump up your business attire. They should definitely be closed-toe, but you don’t have to stick to black. Shoes are a great way to add in some color because they’re not distracting — recruiters don’t tend to stare at your feet during conversation, and subtle tones from nude to navy complement any suit. A word of caution — don’t wear shoes you aren’t comfortable in. The sore-foot grimace is hardly flattering. Pointed-toe flats are just as refined, and are certain to boost your networking stamina.

Believe it or not, there was a time when the black suit was reserved for funerals, but the procession that will be headed to the the Joyce Center on Wednesday is expected to be more mournful than ever. The black suit has become ubiquitous, but you can take advantage of this dismal trend by standing out in a navy or charcoal suit, which is more likely to give you a look that is experienced, professional and less severe. The experienced suit-wearer may even opt for the adventurous beige suit, just be sure to tone down your other colors (e.g. white shirt, no red shirt).

Now, when we talk about “suits,” this term can really be taken loosely. You have the option of choosing pants or a skirt. If you opt for the skirt, pencil-skirts are the standard, but a skirt with a flare near the knee is also professional and flattering. As far as the jacket goes, a suit jacket with full-length sleeves usually requires a shirt with a collar, other blouses tend to get buried. A blazer-type jacket — which often come in three-quarter length sleeves — lends better to various styles of shirt, but still be sure to avoid anything too low cut. Pants are trickier, as they come in a variety of fits. Go for fitted pants with a slight flare for a classic look, or a relaxed style if you want to be more modern. In all matters of career fair fashion, remember that subtlety is key. Keep in mind when choosing jewelry and accessories: you want to speak for yourself, not let your outfit do the talking.

A great option for someone with little experience in business clothing is the donated clothing closet at the Career Center, where you can find the perfect outfit. All the clothes look brand new and — the best part — it’s totally free! So put on something that makes you feel professional, classy and confident and rock that career fair!

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