Today is day three of first year orientation… and my first day back on campus since May. While planning out my outfit for today’s orientation event (it’s the “Meet the Clubs” fair and, as a club president, I am required to attend), a question dawned on me: when exactly did I figure out how to dress for business school?
Before starting school, I was told (as most first years are) to dress business casual. Before I deep-dive into this post, note that each program has its own unspoken dress code. For my MBA program, that means that Thursdays are casual (aka jeans). And that the moment you accept an internship or full-time job offer, you have the green light to wear workout clothes to class.
What I’m Wearing:
Top: Ann Taylor / Skirt: ASOS / Bag: Cult Gaia (less expensive dupe here)
Shoes: BP. (higher similar heel here) / Earrings: Tuckernuck / Rings: BaubleBar
But back to my original point: how to dress for business school. Like I said above, most programs instruct their students to dress business casual. Obviously, this ranges program to program, season to season, and semester to semester.
Second semester, as it starts cold and ends with everybody [ideally] having offers, is much more casual than first semester. People bundle up in the winter months in jeans and boots and gradually shed the layers to either workout clothes or summer-wear (with sandals) by the beginning of May.
In my MBA program, the fall semester is much dressier. For the fall semester, most students dress in between casual and business casual. The key is to still look “professional” on the off-chance you wander into an information session in between classes.
For men, this typically means slacks and a button down, or, at the very least, dark-wash jeans with a button-down and a blazer. For women, figuring out how to dress for business school can be a bit more difficult.
My MBA wardrobe consists of everything from jeans with a blouse and heels (or boots!) to a form-fitting sheath dress and a blazer. Most days, you’ll find me in a dress or a skirt with some non-sneaker footwear (I’m prone to wearing Jack Rogers in the summer months). If I have an interview, an information session, or something that requires me to dress up a bit more, I’ll wear either a full suit or something like the look above, but with closed-toed heels, a work bag, and a blazer (the bag above is definitely for post-class happy hour time!).
Generally, I recommend dressing professionally when determining how to dress for business school. One can never go wrong with a blazer in tow. My biggest tip? Always keep a blazer and a set of neutral heels in your car or bag – you never know when you’ll need them!