Professional Dress FAQs

Males

What color suit should males wear?
How do I tie a tie properly?
What are appropriate shoes for males?
What type of tie should I wear?

Females

What color suit should females wear?
What are some things females should avoid?
How high of a heel should females wear?
Should females wear a pants suit or a skirt suit?
Should females wear heels or flats?
Should females wear hosiery?
How should females wear their hair?

Everyone

Where is the best place to purchase a suit?
What is the difference between professional attire and business casual?
Where can I get a padfolio? What is that?
What do I do if I have piercings? (All genders)

RCC Suit Closet

How can I donate a suit to the RCC Clothes Closet?
How do I check out a suit from the RCC Clothes Closet?
Who can check out a suit from the RCC Clothes Closet?
Is there a fee to use the RCC Clothes Closet?
What is available in the RCC Clothes Closet?
Do I need to have the items dry cleaned before returning them?

Males

What color suit should males wear?

Answer: For professional attire including career fair and interviews a navy or gray suit for males is appropriate. The belt, socks and shoes should match (usually black).
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How do I tie a tie properly?

Answer: Learning to tie a tie can be challenging. Give yourself time to practice. Here is a video that can walk you through it.

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What are appropriate shoes for males

Answer: Black, lace-up dress shoes are best. The belt, socks and shoes should match.
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What type of tie should I wear?

Answer: A basic, simple tie is appropriate. Avoid funny ties or anything that can be a distraction to the recruiter/interviewer. The tie should be darker than the dress shirt and just barely reach the waistband.
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Females

What color suit should females wear?

Answer: A solid, dark suit is appropriate for females with a conservative, solid blouse with sleeves.
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What are some things females should avoid?

Answer: Females have more options which can lead to some confusion with respect to professional attire. Here are some things to avoid: skinny pants, bright colors, spiky heels, distracting jewelry, exposed arms/thighs/toes/cleavage, tight clothing, perfume.
The rule of thumb to remember, is not to wear anything that is distracting to the interviewer/recruiter. They should be concentrating on what you are saying and not what you are wearing.
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How high of a heel should females wear?

Answer: For shoes, ladies should wear a black, low-heeled, close-toed dress shoe. Remember you will be walking a lot at career fair so make sure it is a shoe that you are comfortable wearing.
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Should females wear a pants suit or a skirt suit?

Answer: Either a pants suit or a knee-length skirt is appropriate for females. Make sure the fit is appropriate (not too short/long and not too tight/loose).
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Should females wear heels or flats?

Answer: Typically, heels look more professional and can help boost confidence, but professional flats are acceptable.
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Should females wear hosiery?

Answer: Employers tend to be more open in this area than years past. However, we do recommend hosiery if you are wearing a skirt just in case your interviewer is someone who thinks they are necessary.
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How should females wear their hair?

Answer: There are many different hairstyles for ladies. We recommend wearing your hair in a way that is not distracting and that will not hide your face. You don’t want to be distracted by having to swipe your hair out of your eyes and you don’t want the interviewer to be distracted either. You want to be able to maintain eye contact. If you tend to play with your hair when you are nervous, it is best to pin your hair back.
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Everyone

Where is the best place to purchase a suit?

Answer: There are many clothing store options in Houston that provide quality suits for reasonable prices. Allow yourself enough time to find the right suit at a good price. There is the possibility that you will have to get your suit tailored so plan on purchasing your suit in advance to allow time for the alteration process. Here is a list of a few potential retailers in the Houston market.
The Bauer College of Business also partners with Dress for Success Houston (ladies suits) and Career Gear Houston (men’s suits). These two organizations provide suits for jobseekers that have a need for assistance. Visit with your RCC career counselor to discuss the referral process. (link to DFS Houston and Career Gear Web sites). http://dfshouston.org/
http://careergearhouston.org/index.html
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What is the difference between professional attire and business casual?

Answer: Different people define dress differently. This is why it is important to research and understand norms and expectations for the companies and industries that you are interviewing and ultimately working. For purposes of interviewing and networking with employers, always dress business professional unless the company has given you specific instructions on how they expect you to dress.
Business attire is a suit for both males and females. Males should wear a navy or gray suit with a pressed, dress shirt. A simple tie is appropriate. The belt, socks and shoes should match (usually black). Females should wear a solid, dark suit with a conservative, solid blouse with sleeves. Pants or a skirt are acceptable. For shoes, a low heel with a closed toe is appropriate.
Business casual standards will vary based on company culture. Examples of business casual include khaki or cotton pants, skirts (not too short or too tight), sweaters, cardigans, polo shirts, and leather or loafer shoes.
Whether you are dressing business formal or business casual, your attire should be pressed and clean. Don’t have frayed edges or wear clothing that is too revealing or your favorite old tennis shoes.
When in doubt, don’t.
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Where can I get a padfolio? What is that?

Answer: You can purchase a cheap black or leather padfolio from stores such as Target or Staples for under $10. Consider borrowing one from a friend or colleague. Alternatively, you may bring a black plain folder. However, you need a padfolio or folder for the interview in order to take notes, hold extra resumes, and to have your questions for the interviewer written down.
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What do I do if I have piercings? (All genders)

Answer: We suggest removing all piercings, with the exception of the most commonly appropriate two ear piercings, one per ear, typically reserved for females. Males may use their discretion if they have ear piercings, but for more conservative companies, we suggest removing them. For all other visible piercings (i.e. nose, tragus, lip, etc.) consider placing a retainer (an invisible jewelry replacement) for the duration of the interview cycle.
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RCC Suit Closet

How can I donate a suit to the RCC Clothes Closet?

Answer: Contact any career counselor at the Rockwell Career Center to make a donation. You can also contact the Rockwell Career Center front desk at 832-842-6120.
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How do I check out a suit from the RCC Clothes Closet?

Answer: To check out clothing from the RCC Clothes Closet, sign up for an appointment with your career counselor through Gateway or drop in during the scheduled walk-in hours.
RCC Walk-Ins:
Monday: 3:00 – 4:00
Tuesday: 2:30 – 4:30
Wednesday: 11:00 – Noon
Thursday: 11:00 – Noon
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Who can check out a suit from the RCC Clothes Closet?

Answer: Current Bauer College of Business students at the University of Houston are eligible to check out a suit from the RCC Clothes Closet. Bring a copy of your student ID as we will need to make a copy during the check-out process.
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Is there a fee to use the RCC Clothes Closet?

Answer: There is no fee for students to utilize the RCC Clothes Closet.
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What is available in the RCC Clothes Closet?

Answer: The inventory in the RCC Clothes Closet is strictly based on donations. This means the supply can be limited and some sizes may not be available. The Clothes Closet is heavily used during the career fair and OCR season which can further limit items available. For males, suits including pants and jackets are available including some dress shirts and ties. For females, pants suits and suit separates are available (jackets and pants and some skirts). We currently do not have dress shirts in inventory for ladies. Shoes are also not in inventory for males or females.
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Do I need to have the items dry cleaned before returning them?

Answer: The Rockwell Career Center takes all returned items to be dry cleaned so there is no need to get this done before returning the items.
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