Dressing for work and school are two different things. Campus life is demanding, and sometimes getting to class is the biggest achievement during crunch time. However, benefits arise when taking the extra effort to dress a little nicer in everyday life.
BYU students sign an Honor Code and agree to particular dress and grooming standards. The outlined standards for both men and women are broken down addressing facial hair, sleeves on shirts and unnatural hair styles.
Students have an immediate advantage with these standards in place. However, if they are meeting the appropriate guidelines, does it matter if they wear the iconic sweatpants and UGGs to class?
Bill Brady, the career adviser for accounting students, teaches all MBA students about how to dress for their potential interviews. He said one of the first things they advise students is to know the dress standards of the business they are trying to work for. A student trying to get a job with the Boy Scouts of America might not dress the same as a student interviewing with Goldman Sachs.
“When in doubt, though, always dress up. It’s better to show up overdressed, than underdressed,” Brady said.
Kimberly Bals, a student employee for the Marriot School’s external relations, notices the difference when she makes an effort to dress up.
“It makes a big difference of how I feel that day,” she said. “At work I can feel a difference in the days when I wear jeans and a t-shirt versus wearing dress pants and a nice blouse.”
It is important to understand what falls into the categories of casual, business casual and business.
Helen Hancey, a fashion design teacher at Salt Lake Community College and a BYU alumni, shared five articles of clothing all men and women should have to build their professional wardrobe.
“Things that are passed off as ‘cheats’ are jeans; even jeans that are made of a twill fabric are still jeans,” Hancey said.
Men and women should have a timeless black piece that can be dressed up or down, a basic white shirt/blouse and a pea coat.
Additionally, women need a cashmere cardigan and extra skirt. Men need an additional dress pant that goes with a sports coat.