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Biz wardrobe? Don’t sweat it

Plan ahead and give your outfit a test drive before the big interview day.

If you’re like me and you’ve lived through a summer in an office with no air conditioning, chances are your professional wardrobe contains a few pieces that might be considered almost risqué. While keeping cool is a must, what you wear at the office speaks volumes about your professional persona.

Corporate dress code is one of the job seeker’s biggest mysteries. Unless you spy on the company’s employees well in advance, “business casual” code for a summer interview is almost always a gamble. You could be overdressed, underdressed, wearing too many layers, or not enough.

Sweating it out in an interview probably won’t help you feel comfortable enough to focus on the conversation, which could ultimately cost you the job. Likewise, if you already have a 9-5, feeling sticky and uncomfortable all day won’t do much for your productivity.

You don’t have to be afraid to show a little leg, but the office is no place for miniskirts and gym shorts.
Button up and pass on the low-cut tops. Never wear anything that makes you look less than professional.

Of course, if you work at a small company, the dress code may be a little more relaxed. (If there’s one at all.) That still doesn’t mean you should bare a lot of skin, or walk around looking like you just left the frat house.

No matter how well you know your boss and colleagues, your working relationship is still professional in a company environment.

The best thing to do is nail down a few core business casual pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different — yet always professional — outfits. Take the time to shop and find outfits that make you feel comfortable, no matter the temperature.

If you’re heading in for an interview, you can always err on the side of caution and wear layers, which can be adjusted as necessary when you get to the office. Better yet, plan ahead and give your outfit a test drive before the big day. It’s one less detail to worry about so you can put your attention where it matters most.

Julie Tyios is the marketing manager and chief matchmaker at, a career destination for young professionals. Contact her at


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