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What Not to Wear: Dressing at Holiday Receptions

What Not to Wear: Dressing at Holiday Receptions

So, you have set up an informational interview over winter break or have gotten an invite to a holiday reception or other networking event. Great! But now you are wondering "what should I wear to a holiday reception or for a networking meeting?"

If you are meeting an alumni or another contact in his or her office, wear a suit. Remember this is a business meeting. If you are invited to a holiday reception and the invitation doesn't specify dress, remember this is a business reception, not a holiday cocktail party so wear a suit. No cocktail dresses or tuxedos! Just wear your best suit, hose if you are a woman, a tie if you are a man, shine your shoes, and impress the employers with your personality!

Ok, you get it - wear a suit. But what if the person you are meeting or the event details say "feel free to wear business casual?" Keep in mind that "business casual" can vary from employer to employer and sometimes even person to person. Wearing khakis, a button down, and a sport coat may be "business casual" for one employer while cords and a sweater may be "business casual" for another. As such, trying to dress "business casual" can be difficult for potential candidates and visitors to the employer. Your best bet - you guessed it - wear a suit!

Just because someone says you can dress "business casual" doesn't mean you have to. You are better off wearing a suit the first time you meet with an employer or contact or attend a networking event and being able to gauge what might be appropriate "business causal" for next time. No employer, contact, or alumni is going to look poorly upon you for feeling that they were important enough to wear a suit for!

If you have questions regarding what is appropriate dress for different events in the legal community please feel free to stop by the Career & Professional Development Center to chat with our counselors!

* Thanks to our friends at Case for this posting.