With recruiting season just around the corner for all of our readers heading back to college this month, we thought we would help make back-to-school shopping easier for you and describe in detail what “Business Formal” dress codes really entail.
Business formal is actually one of the easiest dress codes to follow because there are really only three options: a pant suit, a skirt suit, or a work dress + blazer combo. However, Skirt the Ceiling has specific styling tips for each option that will take your ensemble to the next level. So, let’s look at them one-by-one.
The Pant Suit
These are classic business formal attire. They are easily paired with a button-down or shell insert and voilà, you’re ready for work.
With pant suits, length is key. When tailoring your suit, make sure you know what type of shoes you’ll be pairing with it. Your pant hem should hit anywhere between your ankle and the middle of the heels you’ll be wearing.
Pant suits look far more put-together when the blazer and trousers match. It is much more obvious than you’d think to tell two different materials or two different “blacks” apart. We suggest investing in at least one full suit combination.
The Skirt Suit
We are particularly partial to the slightly more feminine option for business formal dress codes: the skirt suit. You can show off a nice pair of heels or slip on some tights when the weather starts to cool down. Skirt suits also go well with button-downs, blouses, or shell inserts.
Make sure your skirt isn’t too short or too tight. While it’s fine to pick a skirt that flatters your figure, a skirt that hugs your body too much can send the wrong message.
Lengthwise, your perfect skirt should hit right at or just below the knee. As many skirts often have slits, keep them below mid-thigh.
The Work Dress + Blazer
Work dresses are those made from high-quality material and are generally more conservative styles and solid-colored. For sleeveless work dresses, throw on a blazer to keep the look professional.
If you’re recruiting with more conservative industries—think finance, consulting—darker-colored work dresses are your best option. However for more creative industries, like fashion, design, or tech, sometimes a brighter color or patterned dress can be a way to communicate your personality or sense of style.