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Intern
Joined: 22 Aug 2012
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22 Aug 2012, 22:16
Working from home allows women to attend conference calls in sweats and send emails at 2 a.m. in pajamas. But at some point you will have meetings with clients, investors, donors, or other business professionals.

Competing in small business requires many skills, but knowing how to dress for a business situation can help you seal the deal in face-to-face meetings. In certain industries, how you dress is critical.
Intern
Joined: 20 Aug 2012
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Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 760 Q48 V47
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WE: Consulting (Insurance)
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25 Aug 2012, 19:15
Every few years, when my wardrobe starts looking frayed or my shoes seem a little down-at-the-heels, I schedule a day to go shopping. I find a fit / size / style that is comfortable, and buy one in each color. I try to pick up between two and four pantsuits (usu. DKNY, although Banana Republic also has some nice stuff) and about ten shirts, usually Banana Republic. When I find a comfortable pair of shoes, I buy them out of black and brown in my size. When you've only got 6 - 8 hours at home each day before you have to suit up and ship out, it helps not to have to think in the morning.
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14 Nov 2012, 22:44
Thank you for the information
Intern
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10 Jan 2013, 03:36
great!
Intern
Joined: 27 Jan 2013
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Location: United States
Concentration: General Management
Schools: Yale '15 (M)
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WE: Securities Sales and Trading (Law)
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27 Jan 2013, 01:11
Not to be absurdly contrary, but in my experience (as a corporate attorney in NYC, primarily representing banks), it's perfectly fine and in fact 100% normal and expected for women to wear black suits (thought NOT MEN, ew!), heels over 3" (preferably of the red-soled variety, but whatevs), patent leather (in fact, my fave Cole Haan Nike Air pumps are black patent), and logo bags (the LV Neverfull, which I somewhat reluctantly admit to also owning, is a particular fave and, tbh, quite practical)...
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23 Feb 2013, 02:20
Business attire for women hasn't changed much as a formal shirt with trousers is the basic dress while additional things that may be seen in many companies is a tie or a blazer or even both making it perfectly professional.
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Manager
Joined: 25 May 2012
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Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Marketing
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26 Feb 2013, 13:49
It's interesting to read everyone's opinions and how strongly some people feel about them. I work in banking and have never seen a female wear a suit that wasn't black. Also, I wore patent leather FLATS to my interviews. Granted they were very nice, had some decoration, but I am super tall and have foot problems so had to go with them. Oh and my hair is below my shoulders and I wear it down to interviews, ha!

Anyways, would be curious about the following, especially if there are any current students who see this:

1) How many suits do you think is necessary for b school? I plan to recruit for brand management/marketing. What colors are recommended other than black? As mentioned, I haven't really seen women wear suits that aren't black so I'm curious what other popular colors are.

2) What is the attire for most company presentations? Is it suits, business casual? What do you usually wear to these functions?
Manager
Status: Poor but happy
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Concentration: Marketing, Healthcare
Schools: Chicago Booth - Class of 2015
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10 Apr 2013, 00:53
What are the absolute must haves before you move to start school in Chicago (or any other place with very cold winters?) I read somewhere in the thread about a dress coat. Any other suggestions? I'm moving from India so I'm really clueless
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10 Apr 2013, 08:25
Prudence wrote:
What are the absolute must haves before you move to start school in Chicago (or any other place with very cold winters?) I read somewhere in the thread about a dress coat. Any other suggestions? I'm moving from India so I'm really clueless

Definitely a warm dress coat — especially one that can fit a suit jacket underneath, if necessary. Get one that is mostly (if not 100%) wool...it'll be your warmest option.

However, in my limited time spent in Chicago, it seems to be normal/accepted for business women—and all women—to wear a long puffer coat (like a North Face down jacket), even with business formal attire.

They're good about keeping the sidewalks free of snow in Chicago, but you still might want a good pair (or two) of boots.
Manager
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Schools: Chicago Booth - Class of 2015
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11 Apr 2013, 06:21
pancaketown wrote:
Prudence wrote:
What are the absolute must haves before you move to start school in Chicago (or any other place with very cold winters?) I read somewhere in the thread about a dress coat. Any other suggestions? I'm moving from India so I'm really clueless

Definitely a warm dress coat — especially one that can fit a suit jacket underneath, if necessary. Get one that is mostly (if not 100%) wool...it'll be your warmest option.

However, in my limited time spent in Chicago, it seems to be normal/accepted for business women—and all women—to wear a long puffer coat (like a North Face down jacket), even with business formal attire.

They're good about keeping the sidewalks free of snow in Chicago, but you still might want a good pair (or two) of boots.

Thanks pancaketown. I've got a rough idea of the other kinds of clothes needed for presentations and recruiting dinners. What I don't have down are the clothes for everyday class. I'm guessing casual, but many students seem to dress more conservatively or classy.
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11 Apr 2013, 06:32
1
KUDOS
Prudence wrote:
pancaketown wrote:
Prudence wrote:
What are the absolute must haves before you move to start school in Chicago (or any other place with very cold winters?) I read somewhere in the thread about a dress coat. Any other suggestions? I'm moving from India so I'm really clueless

Definitely a warm dress coat — especially one that can fit a suit jacket underneath, if necessary. Get one that is mostly (if not 100%) wool...it'll be your warmest option.

However, in my limited time spent in Chicago, it seems to be normal/accepted for business women—and all women—to wear a long puffer coat (like a North Face down jacket), even with business formal attire.

They're good about keeping the sidewalks free of snow in Chicago, but you still might want a good pair (or two) of boots.

Thanks pancaketown. I've got a rough idea of the other kinds of clothes needed for presentations and recruiting dinners. What I don't have down are the clothes for everyday class. I'm guessing casual, but many students seem to dress more conservatively or classy.

It might depend on your school. For example, when I visited Tuck, people were more on the formal side of casual. At Darden, they were a bit more casual, but still pretty polished. At Kellogg, it was a mixed bag. Some people dressed up (no doubt for recruiters/company meetings), some were dressy casual, and some were wearing gym clothes.
Intern
Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 28
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management
Schools: Yale '15 (M)
GMAT 1: 760 Q47 V50
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WE: Securities Sales and Trading (Law)
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08 May 2013, 21:00
Dakells... just wanted to agree that I haven't seen a girl wearing NON-black in corporate-law-recruiting... I mean, that said, I think you could do dark gray and get away with it. I once had a Banana suit that was dark gray with pinstripes and I think it worked fine; but yes, most girls do black. To answer your question, you could do black in different "shapes" + dark gray +/- pinstripes +/- full/pencil skirt?

I have long hair and I used to put my hair up all the time for interviews, but now I've given up and wear it down -- even in, like, fabulous bouncy curly styles... Hah! I kinda thing it's fabulous and perfect.

For our recruiting cocktail receptions in law school, people typically did nice dresses -- but NOT suits. I intend to do that in b-school too. I mean, come ON, one can only own so many suits!

Finally, the WSJ recently had a featured article on how flats are the "new" "power" shoes. I'm totally down! I'm medium height (5'6"), but I love flats and have been increasingly comfy with wearing them in recent years... I now think they sorta sent a powerful, confident signal! (See the WSJ article, Carla Bruni's love of flats, etc.)
Manager
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14 May 2013, 13:15
overdressed wrote:
Dakells... just wanted to agree that I haven't seen a girl wearing NON-black in corporate-law-recruiting... I mean, that said, I think you could do dark gray and get away with it. I once had a Banana suit that was dark gray with pinstripes and I think it worked fine; but yes, most girls do black. To answer your question, you could do black in different "shapes" + dark gray +/- pinstripes +/- full/pencil skirt?

I have long hair and I used to put my hair up all the time for interviews, but now I've given up and wear it down -- even in, like, fabulous bouncy curly styles... Hah! I kinda thing it's fabulous and perfect.

For our recruiting cocktail receptions in law school, people typically did nice dresses -- but NOT suits. I intend to do that in b-school too. I mean, come ON, one can only own so many suits!

Finally, the WSJ recently had a featured article on how flats are the "new" "power" shoes. I'm totally down! I'm medium height (5'6"), but I love flats and have been increasingly comfy with wearing them in recent years... I now think they sorta sent a powerful, confident signal! (See the WSJ article, Carla Bruni's love of flats, etc.)

Thanks overdressed! Glad to hear the bit about the flats! If you have fabulous hair, I say flaunt it, it might subconsciously help them remember you!

So for people reading in the future, I just bought a dark grey/charcoal suit and I think it looks awesome. I used to think pants were the way to go, but now I'm thinking the pencil skirt looks more polished. Though pants do negate the tights issue. I'll probably wear both. I was thinking the dress thing as well. I also bought this great blazer from Theory that doesn't have a collar or a button so it's sort of like an open blazer, think it will go great with a suitlike dress.
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30 Jun 2014, 20:37
I always wore dress and skirts in my interview. A simple one will do and wear color white or blue for top. It's good to look at.
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09 Jul 2014, 22:31
Nice post!
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19 Feb 2015, 06:11
Just wanted to add - I bought a theory suit about 4 years ago and it has been my go-to suit ever since so has gotten a good amount of wear. I've had to replace buttons and get a tear in the pant leg mended but the suit itself still fits great, was easily maintained, and the material looks as fresh as the day I bought it. Yes designer suits are more expensive but I have never had a suit that fit me so well and lasted so long. Worth it in my opinion. Once you consider how much you're investing in your career with bschool I think one or two very nice suits for formal business events are a must.

My theory suit could be on the side of sexy as it is very tailor and fitted. But it is professional, simple as in not 'busy' or adorned or patterned, and if I'm being honest I think looking sexy in a suit as long as it's not crass or distracting is a great asset (no pun intended). No cleavage, busy jewelry, short skirts, or heels over 3 inches and you are good to go.
Current Student
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26 Mar 2015, 09:02
2
KUDOS
For school, I'm planning on owning 2 suit sets--one in navy with the jacket/pant/skirt and one in black with the jacket/skirt/dress.

I prefer dresses and skirts because I can get away with flats. Also, by getting a couple of different bottoms in a set to go with one jacket, you can actually get more outfits.

***

Here are some great blog posts with starter business school wardrobe ideas for women:

https://girlmeetsbschool.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/gee-what-to-wear/

http://thatcareergirl.com/tag/career-dressing/
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17 Apr 2015, 04:27
Long shirts have become the most adored and adopted fashion trend in this country where simplicity, elegance and style are considered to be the best characteristics of a good dress. Long shirts for women are now being produced by every designer outlet may it be of a popular and luxurious brand or of a local brand.
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14 Jul 2015, 13:37
In my experience, the fist few days people were always in business casual. We were encouraged to be business casual everyday in case an employer comes to campus or we run into someone "important".

The reality is, it gets kind of annoying to be business casual every day so it really becomes casual w/out going to extremes.

Jeans are fine though. I only really dress up for employer presentations, final presentations or important events.

On another note, I want to share something with you that was extremely useful for me.
I found my internship through pymetrics, a neuroscience game-based career assessment tool that matches you with companies and jobs you are compatible with. The company was founded by two women - HBS and MIT grads

Its FREE, fun and easy.

http://bit.ly/1dYNtaT
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01 May 2016, 20:09
Dakells wrote:
It's interesting to read everyone's opinions and how strongly some people feel about them. I work in banking and have never seen a female wear a suit that wasn't black. Also, I wore patent leather FLATS to my interviews. Granted they were very nice, had some decoration, but I am super tall and have foot problems so had to go with them. Oh and my hair is below my shoulders and I wear it down to interviews, ha!

Anyways, would be curious about the following, especially if there are any current students who see this:

1) How many suits do you think is necessary for b school? I plan to recruit for brand management/marketing. What colors are recommended other than black? As mentioned, I haven't really seen women wear suits that aren't black so I'm curious what other popular colors are.

2) What is the attire for most company presentations? Is it suits, business casual? What do you usually wear to these functions?

1) Two to three suits. Mostly skirts, but one pants suit is good for cold weather. Grey is best and practically a uniform. Navy and black are acceptable. Brown or any other color is never acceptable.
2) We had business casual, which is much dresssier than it sounds. For women, it means a dress with a jacket, a skirt with a cardigan or jacket and shirt, or pants with a matching shirt and jacket. Jackets/blazer are pretty much always on the menu. Stick with mainly neutrals, no loud jewelry

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