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Common Dress Codes: A Guide To Interview Attire For Men and Women

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dress code for men and women

You must possess a rough idea that a dress code is a set of rules on how to dress up. What we wear to an interview or to our offices or even to a college, is often pre-defined or pre-written by an authority. Dress codes for men and women that are followed today have been created out of social perceptions and norms. As an interview candidate, as a college student or even as a professional at an organization, we should abide by the dress code rules. However, how you choose to dress can obviously vary based on your intention, the  purpose of your visit, the circumstances you are in, the place you are presently at and even on the occasion you are about to attend. In this blog, we have outlined common dress code rules and major do’s and don’ts that freshers should follow. These tips will come in handy on your interview day, at your college, and also at your present/future workplace.


Dress Code: What is it anyway?

A dress code is an accepted way of dressing at a professional set up or within a social group. It is generally guided by a set of rules pertaining to appearance and clothing.

Dress Code Definition

The most common definition of a dress code is a set of standards developed by companies so as to guide their employees about appropriate office wear.

Typically a dress codes ranges from formal to business casual to casual. This completely depends on factors like a workplace’s culture, day of the week, amount of customer interfacing in a particular job role etc.

By the above definition, one fact stands true that every office has a dress code each for both men and women.

Dress code for men and women

Common interview dress code for men and women

Dress Code for Men

Dress code for men is subject to rules in some areas. What men are supposed to wear to work or to an interview, is mostly an unspoken consensus. If you follow this implicit dress etiquette as a fresher, you will land a perfect first impression, irrespective of what job it is. In order to help you decide on the right outfit for an office or interview or campus placement drive, we hereby present some thumb rules of dressing that you can follow blindly as a guy:

1. A black tie: the most formal of all dress codes

Surely you have seen this ‘full formal dress code’ before! A simple yet formal of all dress codes is the one where you play safe with a black tie, ironed plain white shirt, ironed black trousers, black leather belt, black socks, and polished black-leather formal shoes.

When you follow this dress code, there is no room left for mistakes. It is mandatory to wear matching shoes, trousers, socks, belt and tie. When you team these with a freshly starched light colored or white shirt, you get all the check marks. The suit is worn with a waistcoat with lapel and a white bow tie.

There can be no question: at white tie events, special attention must be paid to subtleties. In addition to high-quality materials, the perfect fit of the tailcoat is a matter of honour. Instead of a belt, braces are worn. Long, black knee socks prevent flashes of the calves and shiny, freshly polished patent-leather shoes round off the perfect evening wardrobe.

Image result for black tie dress code

Black tie dress code for men

2. Business attire: fully dressed for business meeting

About to head out for your first business meeting? Attending an interview at an MNC? You would be expected to arrive in full formals to these venues. Simply stick to your black tie routine (as discussed in point 1) and add only one extra piece of garment to it – a well fitted waist coat that matches with your blazer and trouser. Then you would be dressed ideally for the interaction.

Image result for black waist coat

Dress code for business: shirt, waist coat, blazer, formal trousers, formal shoes

Fitting: While buying formal clothes for work, please ensure that they fit perfectly and are of good quality. Its only to make you feel more comfortable and radiate confidence. Both these points would be a plus to your appearance.

Color of shirt: Also, when it comes to choosing the color of your shirt, it shouldn’t be unusual. Stick to a classic white or okay around with light blue or light grey as alternatives.

Tie: Try not to experiment with ties as well. Stay away from conspicuous patterns, prints or bright colors and rather play safe with a black or dark colored one.

Other accessories: Use matching leather accessories like shoes, bags and belts, for a premium overall appearance counts!

Dress Code for Women

Understanding the difference between dressy casual, smart casual, semi-casual and business formal is an impossible nightmare. Luckily, we’re here solve this puzzle for you so that it becomes a dressing dream rather than a self-made disaster. Follow our tips on women’s dress codes for formal occasions like interviews, meetings, formal dinners and a regular work day. 

Dress code for women can be broadly categorized into formal, semi-formal and business casual. You can pick any one of them depending on the situation (that could be an interview, a business meeting or a work day lunch). You would Somewhere between formal and casual, depending on the time of the event.

business formal dress code for women and men

Business formal dress code for women and men

1.Business formal dress-code for women

Business formal for women is a strict dress code appropriate for interview, Mondays, first day at work, board meetings,  or even daytime work visits and semi-formal events (like a work lunch or conference). Women need to wear something that can be labeled as their ‘best office wear’. A well tailored dress to a pantsuit with high heels can be called a smart business formal.

Combination: A dress pant or skirt with matching jacket is the safest business formal combination.

Color: The color palette needs to be neutral and has to give off an air of seriousness. A floor-length gown, a knee-length cocktail dress, a black dress with heels, or a dressy suit all fall in this category.

Accessories: This would depend on the color or tone of your dress or pant suit. Colored or white belts are not recommended. You can wear simple and tasteful jewelry. Please avoid chunky or bright accessories.

Shoes: Shoes, flats, and closed-toed shoes in a leather or dress material are appropriate and should be clean and/or polished.

Makeup: Makeup should be used minimally to represent a natural look. Apply a mild body mist and not a strong scent.

2.Semi-formal dress-code for women

This attire is dressier than a business formal. It is not recommended for daytime, and rather should be followed at office events that take place in the evening (after 6:00 p.m.). The semi-formal guidelines actually lean a bit more towards formal wear than casual. It is a basic, relaxed and can be also called a “cocktail” dress.

Combination: Wear a knee-length cocktail dress, an ironed sari or salwar kameez, a black dress, a dressy skirt and top.

Dress code for women: Semi formal wear for office party (Indian wear)

Dress code for women (and men): Semi formal wear at work

3.Business casual dress-code for women

This is a standard dress code for women to follow at office. The term varies from one workplace to another, and generally refers to office-appropriate clothes done-up without being overly formal. The idea is to appear well groomed with very little fashion-forward touches. Simply stick to wearing cropped black trousers, a fun blouse and some light jewelry. You can also wear dress pants, a casual dress, or a skirt with a nice blouse or top. 

Dress code for women (and men): Business casual dress for work

What is smart casual dress code?

It is an ambiguous dress code which encompasses polished and relaxed attire. The perfect look in this category calls for a delicate balance. In order to dress as per this code code, you need to ensure that you appear elegant and also comfortable. Smart casual is not the same as business casual dress code as the former is more fashion forward.

Where to wear: This can be worn at dinners, weddings, and also at work functions.

Dress code for interview

At a job interview, you are supposed to wear a professional business attire. For men, this might mean a well-fitted suit jacket and slim-fit trousers with a shirt and tie or a sweater and button-down waist coat (optional). For women, a shirt or top with dress pants or a statement dress is considered to be appropriate.

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