If business casual: khakis or dark dress pants; a button-down shirt; sport coat or blazer; tie optional.

If business formal: dark suit, dress shirt and dress shoes; silk tie; sheath dress; pencil skirt. Think Kerry Washington on “Scandal,” or any of the esteemed actors on USA Network’s “Suits.”


Sneakers, not even nice ones: They will make you stand out in a bad way.

Jeans: Business attire is not the same as tech company work attire.

Clothing that distracts. Our fashion critic Vanessa Friedman says that “clothes should not be the focus of attention,” which means “they should not be what colleagues or friends remember after a meeting.”

Anything that makes you wonder, “Is this a bad idea?” If you’re thinking it before you leave the house, your thoughts will only get louder throughout the day.

When Business Attire is Appropriate

  • Most workplaces and related events
  • Networking mixers
  • Job interviews
  • Conferences