When the Field Education department saw marketing director Tracey Bradnan featured in The Plain Dealer’s Fashion Flash last Sunday, they knew they wanted to ask her for style tips for students – especially as many are embarking on field interviews, field
placements, and job interviews after graduation. Here are 5 tips from Tracey:
No sweatpants. Or yoga pants. Or pajama pants. I like being comfy, too, but these are far too casual for interviews, job settings, or even places you know you might be able to network for job (which sometimes even means class). If you’re wondering if something is “too dressy,” it isn’t – you’d rather be overdressed at work than underdressed. You must reflect the professional you are and the leader you want to become.
Modesty matters. For many people, our dressier clothes are the same ones we wear out on the weekend. However, those items may not always be appropriate for professional settings, so be sure to either modify those outfits (like a blouse under a lower-cut shift dress) or set them aside for the weekend and invest in a few items for work. A mid to low heel is also typically a good choice for professional attire.
Go thrifty. Literally: Go to thrift stores. One of my favorites is Avalon Exchange on Coventry Road. I love JCrew and have found some great JCrew pieces there for under $10. The sale racks at Target are also great resources for men’s and women’s clothes – even blazers and separates that can be styled into suits.
Show your personality. I get so much fashion inspiration from all of you! You can definitely incorporate many of those items – vivid prints or unique jewelry – into what you wear to work, especially when they are paired with more professional clothing. For some of you, showing your personality means bright hair colors, piercings, and tattoos. In some workplaces, they are welcome, but less so in others, and that’s where you may have to adjust for your career goals. I’ll never forget when my hairdresser dyed my hair blue a few years ago. It looked so fun, but I was going to a meeting the next day attended by CWRU President Barbara Snyder and that wasn’t the image I wanted to project to her. Back to blonde I went.
Dress the part. As I told The Plain Dealer, when I know I’m going to have a tough or demanding day, I wear one of my favorite outfits – something I really love that makes me happy and confident. Looking accomplished helps me feel accomplished.