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How You Dress Depends on What Type of Job You Want

How You Dress Depends on What Type of Job You Want

The Commercial Appeal

December 03, 2009

Dec. 3—Debbie Jacobson, 56, remembers the ’70s when she and other IBM marketing representatives wore black or blue three-piece suits every day.

The dress code relaxed somewhat during the 18 years she worked there, but the Germantown mother of three grown children, who is again seeking full-time employment, isn’t sure exactly what the business world expects now.

What should she wear to interviews for the sales, public relations or marketing position she seeks?

Interview clothes must be geared toward both the company culture and the targeted job, said Monica Hudson, a local freelance stylist, consultant and owner of Style Wise Solutions.

For this article, we asked Hudson to dress Jacobson in two interview outfits: one for a conservative job, the other for a more creative one. Additionally, she styled a casual outfit for doing errands around town, since a job seeker never knows when or where she’ll meet a job contact.

Corporate employees might be surprised to know what attire can work for an applicant who wants to be a writer, an art director or a designer in advertising.

“I’ve never seen a suit on the creative side (of the business),” said Michael Thompson, chairman of Thompson and Co. (of which Thompson and Berry Public Relations is a division). A male applicant wearing jeans, a nice shirt, a jacket and a ponytail would look appropriate, he said, as long as his overall appearance was neat, clean and well-kept.

A woman seeking a creative job would be smart to dress with an eye to fashion, he said, showing that she is in tune with the times. However, women at Thompson more often go into account services where they deal directly with clients. They must dress “like they’re in the business world,” he said. But, even there, a jacket, pants and high-heeled sandals would be sufficient.