MCS Professional Attire Guide

Whether you are preparing to attend a career fair, employer networking event, or interview, it is good to present yourself in a way that shows your professionalism. See below some things to keep in mind:

  1. Match Organization/Industry Culture: Different industries have different standards of dress, so it is good to try to note that before attending an event. For example, many employees at tech startups will wear t-shirts, adopting a more casual dressing style, but in corporate finance, they may have business formal expectations, where your colleagues might be in suits. Before attending a networking session, career fair or interview, note the industry standard. Generally, for our career fairs and employer networking events, we recommend business casual. For interviews, unless instructed otherwise by the employer, we recommend business formal, which can mean a suit or dress/set with a jacket.
  2. Default to Business Casual: Business casual is the default attire for career fairs and networking events. This includes button down/collared shirts, polished sweaters, khakis and dress slacks and a tailored dress or skirt. Avoid sneakers and informal sandals like flip flops.
  3. Keep it Clean: It is recommended not to wear clothing with offensive language or images. Also, pay attention to your grooming—comb your hair, iron shirts and blouses.
  4. Express Yourself: Wear your favorite color, and your power heels! Feel free to put your unique stamp on your look. Maintain authenticity, but be mindful of the expectations of the industry and organization you are meeting. For example, the fashion industry, might expect a whole different level of style!
  5. Be Comfortable but Skip the PJs: If you are in pain from the shoes you are wearing, or sweating because you wore a wool jacket, this is going to affect your mood and could negatively impact your interactions. For career fairs, there is usually a lot of standing and walking, so keep this in mind when selecting your footwear. While “comfort is king,” you do want to avoid your comfy PJ’s and croc slippers for these types of events.

Please note this guide was crafted based on our collective experience with various employers, but we encourage all students to express themselves in a way that is authentic for them. It is always recommended to take note of a organization’s culture and assess your fit within that organization.

Various individuals in business casual attire. Top Left in blazer and pants, top left in casual jacket and slacks, middle in patterned vest and colorful pants, middle right in a blazer and skirt with boots, bottom left a blazer and patterned skirt, middle bottom a light colored sweater with khakis and sandals, bottom left, button down shirt and pants with no socks.

Other Resources:

If you are having trouble accessing professional attire, check out the Crimson Career Closet. Any Harvard College student can rent clothing in the selection at no cost for a duration of up to 2 weeks.